I find few things in life more useless than political conventions. They are nothing more than glorified pep rallies where drunk coeds have been replaced with liquored up, suit-wearing, elephant and donkey lovers.
Every four years it is the same song and dance: A bunch of like-thinking people gather in a place to glad-hand, back-slap and cheer every word from the person they support in the upcoming election. It is like one huge propaganda-spreading missive.
The Media will report on speeches using the words “rousing,” “heartfelt,” “emotional” or “electric” regarding people who most likely didn’t even write the speech they are so passionately giving. They will talk about a wife’s support of their spouse as if they could possibly get up and speak and say anything otherwise. The partisan attendees will interrupt each pause by the speaker with applause. They will guffaw and chuckle at each slam on the opponent. They will cheer wildly at any glimpse of their candidate, and they will start dancing around like fools when music is cued.
If this kind of behavior happened at a rock concert, the participants would be called hippies, hooligans, druggies and the like. Put on a tie and a stupid red, white and blue hat and I guess everything is just fine.
Just like almost anything else in politics, a convention serves mainly for posturing. It is a way for the parties to get their messages across to the public before the election. It is a way for primary losers to shake hands, congratulate the candidate and appear to be a unified force. It is a way to say “We are #1” even if most of the time it is less about convincing the public and more about trying to convince themselves. Everything is meticulously planned at a convention so that at the end of the week, the candidate comes out in the best possible light.
Ironically, while it attempts to capture all that is good about politics, at the end of the day, it captures all that is bad. Nothing is spontaneous or real in politics, it is all a carefully crafted message or image, much like the well-shellacked hair of John Edwards.
It is about greed. Taking money from donors and taxpayers to throw a ridiculous week-long gala. It is about mudslinging. Using the podium to slam the opponent’s policies and character.
It is about manipulating poll numbers.
I don’t hate much in life, because it can be an ugly emotion, but I truly do hate political and religious rhetoric. The way I look at it, my hate is a lot less destructive than those two phony things. If you don’t believe me then ask yourself, if Obama was the Republican candidate and Romney the Democratic one, would there still be a convention with the same dynamics as now?
You bet your ass and elephant there would be.