To Live is to Fly and the Democratic National Convention

“Living’s mostly wasting time/and I waste my share of mine”

– Cowboy Junkies

When I was a kid, my family watched the political conventions together. My dad and mom had seven kids and the older crew would usually be allowed to sit up together through the nomination process and even the late night acceptance speeches – because when the conventions were less scripted, the nominee sometimes got started late but we just had to see ’em.

Even after I grew up, I’d try to get back home for the Democratic Convention and so remember watching Jesse Jackson’s speeches in the ’80’s with my parents. “God’s not finished with me yet,” still rings in my ears.

Now, of course, the whole event is quite contrived and neat.

Nevertheless, I watched much of the DNC this year and despite my 15-year-old son and Ron Paul supporter’s rebukes – “Liberal propaganda!” – I enjoyed a lot of it like the old days.

I was moved, according to script I suppose, a number of times – the mom with her child that wouldn’t get the heart treatment she needed if ObamaCare is repealed, the Iraq veteran with prosthetic limbs and an indomitable spirit, and even some of the professionals like Gov. Deval Patrick challenging the Dems to grow a backbone.

I especially relished ol’ Bill and Barak.

Clinton’s rhetorical style is so smooth – Cowboy Junky-esque but much more positive – bringing the listener in and then in such a friendly manner explaining how it really was and is.

And President Obama now seemed to me to be a tragic hero – so gifted at raising hope in a time with such incredible constraints.

I don’t fault him for the sluggish “recovery.” It was my amateur view that we should crank back and live within our means rather than spend trillions to stimulate the economy. This strategy doesn’t seem to have worked in the countries that tried it though, and given the great mess, the US economy is doing pretty well.

Biden’s bit about refusing to “downsize the American dream” was rather silly. It’s hard to see any other course from here, imv, so I suggest we redirect the American dream to living fully with less material wealth. Is a person really happier who lives in a 10,000 square foot house than one who lives in 2,000 or 1,200 or 800?

As the song says,

“Everything is not enough
nothing is too much to bear
where you been is good and gone
all you keep’s the getting there”

Here’s the last paragraph of Obama’s speech:

“America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder— but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer— but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on earth.”

Now Obama included the bit about providence and specialness that I’m not feeling … and he also challenged us to grow a back bone with the really fresh truth (and don’t we know it?) that the road from here is harder and longer.

We don’t hear that much.

Given the simple truth that to live is to fly, rather than wasting all of this precious life, how can we live together in peace and harmony?

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