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Political Conventions & Life in Four-Year Increments

I’m excited about tuning into the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. I always watch them both. I enjoy the speeches, the cheering, the energy, the excitement and the sense of renewed hope for positive change to possibly benefit all Americans.

I’m sounding a bit too optimistic you might be saying, and this is probably true.

Still, I savor the feeling that I’m witnessing history, even if merely watching the goings-on from the comfort of my blue leather chair in my family room.

Real change seems almost impossible these days as the two major political parties are too often gridlocked, seemingly forgetting about the art of compromise and working together for the common good.

Still, once again I’m hopeful…

Another reason I look forward to these political shenanigans is because every four years while I’m watching and listening, I do some reflecting.

I remember when I was growing up, my family always tuned in to watch the conventions. I’m not sure if this was because we were super interested or merely due to the fact we only had one or two TV stations. Nothing else was on. We watched the conventions for hours, or so it seemed. We cared not only about what the politicians were saying, we also cared about what Walter Cronkite had to say about things. His opinion mattered, or maybe it was his calm and sensible delivery or maybe it was both.

In contrast, this year the three “old-timer networks” are featuring limited convention coverage with only the major components of it being broadcast. They now leave the more in depth, or at least the lengthier, coverage and analysis up to the too-many-to-count cable channels.

I will listen carefully to the various “experts,” but somehow their opinions don’t seem quite as “weighty” as Walter’s.

During the conventions, I like to look back and remember what I was doing during the last go-around and the go-around before that and so on.

It’s a chance to think about your life in four-year increments.

Four years ago, the conventions were taking place shortly after my mother had died from metastatic breast cancer. I was still in quite a melancholy mood. 

And, of course, my own cancer was not yet on my radar. 

I had no idea what was in store for me roughly two years down the road. Maybe it was better that way.

During the conventions this time around, I’ll be watching and reflecting about how the world of politics has and hasn’t changed over the years.

I’ll remember the conventions from my youth when there was fear and worry about issues probably not that much different from those we face today.

I’ll vaguely remember when Hubert Humphrey took center stage as both a presidential and later as a vice-presidential candidate, creating lots of extra buzz in my then home state of Minnesota

I’ll remember the times I was watching while on family vacations and the times I watched while simultaneously preparing lesson plans for the start of another school year.

I’ll remember the especially historic DNC convention of 1984 when finally, there was a woman standing next to Walter Mondale who was not his wife but his running mate. Back then, I didn’t realize it was still going to be quite some time before a woman was running for the top job.

Yay, Geraldine Ferraro, and okay, even yay, Sarah Palin, for making it onto the tickets.

Political conventions & life in four-year increments

This year I’ll be wondering AGAIN why it’s taking so long to get a woman into that all-important top job.

(I happen to believe part of the gridlock solution is to get more women into political office at all levels).

I’ll be remembering my mom too and that time four years ago.

And of course, I’ll be reflecting about life before the great divide – you know, before the big ‘C.’

I’ll be watching, remembering and yes, feeling hopeful about the future.

Because the future is always about hope.

It has to be.

Will you be watching the television coverage of the conventions?

Is there a convention that stood out for you?

How much longer do you think it will be until a woman becomes President of the United States?

Political conventions & life in four-year increments


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Tuesday 25th of August 2020

Nancy my dear friend we are of similar minds on this matter although I cannot bring myself to watch the shenanigans this year. The devastation of the past four years has brought our country to its knees on the verge of death. It’s similar to finding out I had metastatic cancer. I would wake up and say to Craig - it’s a bad dream right? That didn’t really happen. Hillary is president and all is well. No he’d say, more annoyed as weeks went by and things unraveled and lies flew by and an appointment of another unbelievably inexperienced person was announced. As our lockdown became real and now as the conventions have the energy of the state of the union addresses. Just talking heads. I wish Kamala had the feeling that Geraldine did so many years ago but it’s a stolen victory by way of a disease that may or may not also steal the election from her. I’m afraid to watch, honestly. I’m afraid the illegal use of defunding the postal service may set up a victory that will mean the end of democracy as we know it. And we are teetering on that precipice now. Well I guess you know where my political leanings sway towards. Sorry for the rant. Your post is very thought provoking as usual. Much love


Friday 28th of August 2020

Ilene, I did not watch any of the RNC this year either. Just could not do it. Hoping things go our way come November for a lot of reasons. Thank you for reading and commenting. xx

Jan Baird Hasak

Friday 31st of August 2012

Now you've got me going about the woman candidates, Nancy. I don't know how long it will take this country to see that women exude compassion as well as exert competent leadership. I wish Elizabeth Edwards had run for President. I feel so much like her right now; all I need now are the mets. No! I can't go there.

I do enjoy these four-year reminders of where we've come and where we're going. Thanks for this great post. xox


Saturday 1st of September 2012

Jan, Sometimes I do wonder how long it's going to take to get that first woman President. I think Elizabeth Edwards would have been an interesting candidate too. She certainly would have been a better choice than her husband as it turns out. Thanks for adding your thoughts. Hope you have some fond memories to reflect upon.

Beth L. Gainer

Wednesday 29th of August 2012


This is a great post. What a difference four years makes....

I probably will tune into some of it, but I tend to have ADD when it comes to these events. But I agree that the excitement and cheering are infectious. I am also grateful women have the right to vote, something we fought so hard for. A woman president? I think it will happen during our lifetimes, but it's so hard to know.


Thursday 30th of August 2012

Beth, Yes, looking at how my life has evolved with every election cycle adds to the fun, at least for me. Well, maybe it's not as much fun this time around, but... I'm waiting patiently for the day a woman makes it into the White House as President. That'll be a historic day. Thanks for reading and commenting, Beth.

Karen Ford

Wednesday 29th of August 2012

Nancy, this is not about the conventions, but it is about women and their strength through miserable times. Thought you might enjoy reading it:


Thursday 30th of August 2012

Karen, Thanks for sharing the link!

Julie Goodale

Wednesday 29th of August 2012

Nice post, Nancy. I had many of those same thoughts running through my head yesterday. I was thinking in particular about 4 years ago, visiting my old college roommate during the Dem's convention. We sat with her kids watching. We talked about the historical significance. We told her young daughter stories of our college days when we went to a rally on campus & got to hear Gerry Ferraro speak. How exciting it was to see someone who looked like us - for once, not some old white guy. Although I am so often disappointed, I still get excited every election day. The anger & blame will inevitably follow, but for that day, it's a day filled with so much hope for the future.


Thursday 30th of August 2012

Julie, Your comment about Geraldine Ferraro looking like us and not some old white guy made me laugh! How funny and how true, too, really. Maybe some day we'll get a woman into the top job. And yes, I love that sense of hope that comes on election day too. Thanks so much for commenting.

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