Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Democrats, day 3

To an extent this was the day of ordinary people battered by circumstances. There were victims of gun violence, headlined by Gabby Giffords. There were small businesspeople trying to make it through the virus shutdown. Most daringly, there were families being torn apart by deportation of their undocumented immigrant members. Although one article calls this the most gut-wrenching part of the evening, there are those who don't think adult undocumented immigrants deserve any sympathy at all, no matter what their circumstances, so I call this feature daring.

The chair declared Kamala Harris nominated for VP by default, because there were no other nominees. I'd wondered how they were going to handle that. Go through the whole roll call again? Surely Rhode Island wasn't going to cook up another plate of calamari.

After that, the nominee's speech was a well-crafted piece focused on the upbringing she owes to her mother, with a relative minimum of biting DT. More biting had come from Barack Obama earlier - normally ex-presidents aren't that hard on their immediate successors, but as Obama said, these aren't normal times - but he framed his speech largely aspirationally. This, I think, is necessary: if you're going to criticize the US for not meeting ideal standards, it's necessary, if one is to avoid complete cynicism, to observe that the Constitution points to those standards and provides a road for us to get closer there.

Plenty of other good speeches by great women of the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren ("There's nothing I love better than a good plan. And Joe Biden has lots of good plans"), and, sigh, Hillary Clinton, looking much older than she did four years ago, but not as much older as she'd look if she were President, that's for sure.

The meager applause and cheering after Harris's speech worked a little better than the nomination one last night.

The music was pretty good. I could have lived without Billie Eilish, whom as I wrote once before just makes me want to re-listen to Tori Amos instead, but it wasn't terrible. I liked the guy who sang "Stand by Me" bilingually. The jazz song at the end was quite good: the singer kept the foundations of the song and built ornaments on top instead of tearing the whole thing apart as jazz singers usually do; and I really liked the piano accompaniment. The introduction of Kamala Harris by her sister, niece, and stepdaughter was backed by what sounded incongruously like the love theme from Inception, and if you remember that movie you'll know why it'd be incongruous.

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