Democratic National Convention Opens

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Today marks the first day of the deceptive quadrennial infomercial that formally introduces and markets a presidential candidate to disillusioned Americans as a must-have product and miracle elixir for all of our public policy ills.  The man good Democrats are hoping and praying becomes the 44th President of the United States is by all accounts an enigma and a man difficult to define despite the clarity of the prose in his bestselling and revealing autobiographical narrative. 

Wrestling with the meaning of Obama’s story and reconciling it with his path to power is what I’ve spent the better part of two-years doing unsuccessfully.  It will be fascinating to watch it come together as Michelle Obama and Ted Kennedy mount the podium in the Pepsi Center tonight.

Democrats are excited to hear from the extended Obama clan and the speechifying will culminate in an address by Michelle Obama.  Her task tonight is twofold. First, she must reassure White America that her husband is a common man just like them and that he is uncommonly prepared to lead the free world. Second, she must debunk all of the right-wing messaging that seeks to paint the couple as angry, dangerous, subversive and un-American.  

If sistah Michelle does her job tonight, she will humanize Obama enough for people to confront the racism behind some Hillarycrats irrational resistance. Presentation is key.   I look forward to seeing a stylish, svelte, and coiffured sistah present her husband and children to the world with aplomb.   Her peroration extolling the virtues of family, Mom and apple pie is sure to be a convention classic. 

Unfortunately, what Democrats are really selling is the same old wine of assimilationist neo-liberalism in the new bottle of Barack Obama.  I’ve been attempting to read the fine print of the new black politics and it’s a morally bankrupt creed that seeks cross-over appeal and social acceptance in exchange for a place at the ruling class table of capitalist patriarchy. 

On the eve of the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s I have a Dream speech, this is not a progressive triumph—its an elaborate charade.  Dr. King wrote:

The majority of Negro political leaders do not ascend to prominence on the shoulders of mass support. Although genuinely popular leaders are now emerging, most are selected by white leadership, elevated to position, supplied with resources, and inevitably subjected to white control. The mass of Negroes nurtures a healthy suspicion toward these manufactured leaders.”

With $9,262,732 million raised from the securities and investment industry and over $21,746,468 raised from the most powerful lawyers and law firms in the country alone, we ain’t gonna get much change we can believe in without organizing some kind of progressive social movement that forces change out of a recalcitrant Washington power structure.

Lastly, God willing, we will be treated to the valedictory address from an ailing icon, Ted Kennedy.   Senator Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate, has been fighting the good fight for the entirety of his 46 years on Capitol Hill.  His battle is over but ours is just beginning.  In the words of my favorite scripture in Jeremiah “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”   Jeremiah Wright is spot on.  Obama may become our president, but we will still need to fight for progressive change.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy addresses the convention:

 

Michelle Obama Bio Video:

Mrs. Michelle Obama addresses the convention

 

35 thoughts on “Democratic National Convention Opens

  1. TripLBee

    “Unfortunately, what Democrats are really selling is the same old wine of assimilationist neo-liberalism in the new bottle of Barack Obama. I’ve been attempting to read the fine print of the new black politics and it’s a morally bankrupt creed that seeks cross-over appeal and social acceptance in exchange for a place at the ruling class table of capitalist patriarchy. ”

    Skep,

    My goodness…Obama is bicultural. That is a far cry from being “assimilationist.” He’s spent 10 weeks working in the corporate world—a summer internship that he made the most of by meeting his beautiful wife.

    As always your words are eloquent and witty, but they read more as a peroration against American politics in general. It seems that the frontrunner must always be a corporate hack in your view of the presidential world. Obama—compared to any modern presidential candidate—has done a remarkable job of raising funds from regular people through a well organized “netroots” strategy. More so than other candidates, he has distanced himself from lobbyists. I don’t know what you expect this man to do, short of throwing away any chance of winning this election.

  2. TripLBee,

    You should know that you have a special place in this Skeptical Brotha’s heart, but we’re you not on the planet when Barack Obama sold out the constitution on the FISA/Telecom company immunity bill?

    What about warrantless wiretapping is change we can believe in? We have to vote for him because there is no alternative but please don’t sound so mindless.

  3. TPL,

    Thank you, darlin’. I don’t have anything to lose over here and I ain’t got no corporate sponsors trying to muzzle me. I’s a free Negro and truth means more to me than “success,” whatever that really is.

  4. Skep…

    Over the last several weeks I have found myself coming closer to your position on Obama. Perhaps I was there all along, but was lying to myself.

    I am glad you have stuck to your guns. Because much of what you were saying months ago… has now materialized…

    It pains me, because I want to support this man so bad. But I can’t. (see my posts on Mirror On America this week). Obama’s likely foreign policy bothers the Hell out of me.

    Anyway…. Keep up the good work!!!

  5. SB,

    Teddy just finished. I’m in tears.

    I still luv ya. Ya gotta be truthful as you see it, and I don’t want you any other way, SB. That’s the reason I was shocked when I first read you, and that’s why I’m still reading. I love your voice. Even when I disagree, I love your voice.

  6. rikyrah,

    I had control of my emotions today. I don’t know why since I cry at the drop of a hat–especially at movies. The Lion of the Senate has spoken and passed the torch again. It was brief, heartfelt and memorable. My eyes watered throughout.

  7. AI,

    Don’t get me wrong, bruh. As angry as I am sometimes with brotha Barack, I am still a supporter because there is no alternative. None. Barack’s watered down centrism is all the power structure will allow. I’ll take it, but I won’t accept it. Only a progressive social movement will force the changes we really need and desire.

  8. Skep,

    His FISA vote and his comments on the Supreme Court’s death penalty decision were the low points of his campaign. I’m not so taken by Obama that I find him without fault. I just don’t think that on a relative or an absolute scale, that he can accurately be described as a corporate shill. And I think that calling him assimilationist misses the point of his biography. That’s all I’m trying to say bro.

  9. zeitgeist9000

    Wow. Michelle Obama speaking and at the same time two black tennis players battling at the US Open.

    New century!

  10. SB,

    I’m a Jr. fan. I like him. I really like his wife.

    As for Michelle Obama, I couldn’t stop the tears once they put the camera on her mother. I thought about Mama. I thought about my aunts. I thought about my grandmother. I told you some time ago that, in the end, I thought my vote for Obama was for Mama and my great-niece. That hasn’t changed. I can’t help it. I love Michelle. Always have. Always will.

  11. SB,

    I did think that the Dark Sith was going to check for ligthening, since he actually said something positive about a Black woman. I know I was waiting for it.

  12. rikyrah,

    The speech was excellent and she looked absolutely fabulous. The girls were priceless and the Bio video had my eyes watering. Mrs. Robinson looked nervous but happy.

  13. Angie,

    Hey, girl. Howdy. Hope all is well. I wouldn’t have though of green for Michelle. I would have chosen white or red. Dark sistah’s look so good in red, but she looked fabulous. I also would have chosen a suit instead of a dress, but she looked sooooo good. Her makeup was flawless. Gorgeous.

  14. SB,

    I’m no stylist, but I think the dress was more ‘ comfortable’. Less formal than a suit. I would have chosen purple for her, but I think I understand the simplicity and humbleness of the choice.

    About Mrs. Robinson. I told you, I lost it when they panned to her.

  15. Angie

    Hey Skep! Yes, i know that I’m supposed to be taking a break from the news, blogs, and so on… But I totoally forgot about the convention. I think I’ve been brought back into the news and conversations here at this blog because of the recent deaths and this convention. But that’s cool. I missed y’all anyway. **smile**

    Thanks for hipping me to how Michelle looked. As I was listening to her speech, I wondered about whether or not she had on a dress or a suit, how her make-up looked, and how her hair was done. You answered all of my questions… Thanks!

    A friend of mine that’s a member of DST told me that Michelle was recently given a honorary membership into AKA. I know this might be a stretch, but do you think that’s why she had on green?

    and yes, I’m a fan of red or purple on a sista with dark skin. When I was a young girl, I loved to see my mother in those colors.

  16. SB,

    Did you see Juan Williams?

    Angie,

    She looked beautiful, and she was coordinated perfectly with the girls. Sasha had on a deep purple sheath dress decorated with a simple white flower in the upper left. Malia had on a dress – black velvet at the top, with a bow, sleaveless, and aquamarine at the bottom. it flowed. both girls had on flats. of course their hair was ‘ did’ in curls. Malia’s all down, while Sasha’s was clipped up with faux diamond barretts.

  17. Angie

    Thanks Rikyrah. That’s the kind of description that a sista appreciates.
    I’m so glad that the girls were looking beautiful.

    I heard that Williams was all shook up over Michelle’s speech. I’m getting ready to watch this clip you have posted here, and then I’m going to take my crazy self to bed.

    Peace,
    A

  18. Angie

    I watched the clip. Unbelievable…
    He made me want to cry. **grin**
    I feel him 150%.
    I’m just shocked that he said it. I’m even more shocked where/what outlet he used to say it.
    Unbelievable…

    I’m sure Williams will certainly get some flack from his friends for this.

    I’m really gone to bed now.

    A

  19. Chesapeake

    Michelle Obama was outstanding.

    Recall the old fake “family values” theme of the republican party … I think the last hour and a half of last night provided us with a clear, real, genuine portrait of true family values.

    Mrs. Obama knows her husband unconditionally loves and values her and she unconditionally respects him. Her biography, presence, poise, and presentation confirm that she and her husband are one.

    The setting was still somewhat superficial, but having watched her last night, you can see the Obamas in each other. I can only imagine the oneness I’d see if I knew them.

    Hopefully, more voters got a good image of what the Obama family will look like in and about the White House. I did, and it is a great image!

  20. My wife and I watched Michelle’s speech last night. On the one hand we were amazed that a black family from the Southside of Chicago (my place of birth) were the featured speakers at the Democratic National Convention. Such a thing was unimaginable not so long ago. On the other hand, we were also hoping that our sons will find it odd that during their childhood, a respectable black family felt the need to explain themselves as normal, wholesome Americans.

    We were extremely impressed with Michelle however. What an absolutely regal woman she is.

  21. akech

    The allotment of “Two Whole Prime Days” to Bill and Hillary Clinton, the couple who spent eight whole years in White House with the unquestionable support from the Black Community, is absolutely unfair to Mr. Obama as the Democratic Party nominee. This is an ultimate grandstanding done to sabotage this particular nomination.

    Hillary, Bill and their supporters demand they must be respected and they are hell bent on derailing this nomination in order to achieve that! It has always been about them. Folks must both vote them into power and toe some line around them.

    Can someone explain what sort of respect these people want and why this convention must be the venue to accomplish that?

    The Republicans are busy using materials handed to them by Hillary, yet two “bloody” days of the convention time must be spent respecting Bill and Hillary. Mr. Obama will get at most one hour of the convention’s time.

    Why is this okay??? The Republicans have allotted the first day of their convention to the sitting president Bush and his vice president Cheney, sending them home immediately.

    Bill, Hillary and their so called supporters act as if they own Democratic Party and everyone else in it. They are the ALPHA DOGS and every elected official, including voters they represent, must toe their line. This is very sad indeed!

  22. Lance

    TripLBee,

    “I don’t know what you expect this man to do, short of throwing away any chance of winning this election.”

    SkepBro is quite taken with the role of angry outsider. It is an emotionally appealing position that I have embraced at times, though not with the cynical, ideological fervor exhibited by our host. He must maintain his ideological purity at all costs or his air of moral superiority will evaporate. SkepBro seems to have missed the point that politics is the art of reaching consensus on issues without compromising ones integrity.

    Puritanical, identity-based Marxist screeds don’t fit well with real world politics. It is little wonder that SkepBro was quickly disillusioned by Obama.

  23. TripLBee

    Lance,

    I think that the importance of this election trumps discussions about the balance between politics and ideology. I simply cannot imagine how damaging it will be to our country to have another four years of budget-busting warfare and far right wing judicial appointments. I think that SkepBro must understand this. He is obviously a man of passion and intelligence. I have to imagine that he will cast his vote for Obama on Nov. 4.

  24. Michael

    I watched her speech. They certainly did a good job on the “bitter” makeover and softening her disdain of America. The campaign has certainly listened to the nation. Nice speech writing by the staff! Its amazing that they want to “introduce” Barrack to the nation….again! So what exactly what he has been doing for the past 19 months of media packaging? Still not biting. I just can’t wager the future of my country on this guy when most of the constituency doesn’t even know much about him. And I don’t want that smarmy Biden anywhere near the White House. I can’t in good conscience vote for McCain, but are people really paying attention to this Obama stuff? its really creepy…the media swoon, the glassy-eyed supporters that fall for the vacuous speeches, no specifics, ultra left agenda that is even more left that Pelosi! I’m confused, are we that desparate for a black face that we’ve suspended all reason? Or is it the “making history” angle? Not sure. Obama will no doubt be elected….I’m just amazed that we’ll actually do it! This could really hurt the DNC in the decades to come. But agree..we certainly can’t continue the current path. Sheesh..this is a bad time.

  25. Michael,

    Obama has written two books, has been the subject of thousands of articles, and has been a constant presence on TV for almost four years. If you don’t know much about him at this point, is that his fault or your own?

  26. Michael

    TripLBee……it is Obama’s fault. It’s his fault that he can’t completely answer questions. That he chooses to appear only in friendly news shows that are devoid of any real probing questions. And as for the books……tomes of vacuous platitudes don’t count for me. The issues that will face him are much more difficult than simply reading a teleprompter and talking about his family. It’s clear to me, that Obama is counting on the emotional vote, not the intellectual vote…one look at his tax policy will keep everyone up at night…Yikes! Trip…have you reviewed that? You should.

  27. Michelle was magnificent, as always.

    Question to some white folks out there: what MORE do you want these two to do to reassure you that they aren’t going to sell your babies to the terrorists?

    Also, please tell me why you cling so tightly to negative black stereotypes, and when confronted with the ultimate antithesis to them, as you are with the Obama family, you STILL aren’t happy? What more do you want??

  28. Angie

    Michael: What is it about Obama’s tax policy that is capable of keeping us up all night?
    Let’s start there.

  29. Michael,

    Obama has been the most examined person in America over the past two years. If you don’t feel that you have a sense for him that is your fault. If you are faulting him because you do not understand his policy positions then you are applying a double standard to him, since the press has always been uninterested in how politicians actually plan to govern.

    As for Obama’s tax policy, just a few days ago I read an analysis of his individual income tax policy as compared to McCain’s. McCain’s is the policy that would have me tossing and turning at night since it continues the massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the upper class, that Reagan commenced and Bush enshrined. But the fact of the matter is that we are electing a president, not a dictator. So the most ambitious of both McCain and Obama’s proposals are merely aspirational and have little chance of actually becoming law.

  30. Change

    Michelle Obama spoke like a republican. I heard they gave her an attitude make over. EVen some interviewed delagtes said she is now less Jacque and more Jackie O. I could not believe my ears.

    Michelle did not speak about her Princeton or Harvard education. All they did is make her out to be a mother, wife, sister and cheerleader. I am sure feminist will be disappointed. I guess AMericans were not ready to hear about her ivy league education or career achievements.

    Perhaps they should let her be herself. But after her HArsh statements about the country, they had to soften her up. Nevertheless, it was a good speech.

  31. Chesapeake

    Just watched Kucinich … WOW!

    Michael, the tax policy is a huge step in the right direction – give the folks who can least afford to pay taxes the break. True, that’s not very intellectual: It’s just common sense. It’s also sane to reverse tax policies of the past 25 years that were destined to fail, and have failed.

    The intellectual voter knows that governing takes just a bit more intellect than our current president has … not much … not much.

  32. Wilma

    @ Ernesto:

    As a white woman I can offer you this perspective. From the moment I read more about Michelle Obama I really wanted her to become the next First Lady based on the fact that I recognize so much of my own life and values in her. The Obamas to me are the first potential presidential couple to have so much in common with the average people. They probably know the price of bread and milk. They had student loans that took them a long time to get rid off. They try to balance a career, a family and a marriage in a way that I recognize from my own life and the people around me. She shouldn’t have had to give this speech. All the things she said were known. As Dana Stevens wrote in Slate: ‘If you don’t like Michelle Obama after this speech, do you like any flavor of ice cream besides vanilla?’

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