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Political Conventions & Life in Four-Year Increments

I’m really excited about tuning into the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this week and next. 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 part of history, even if merely watching the goings on from the comfort of my well-worn 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 vitally interested or merely due to the fact we only had one or two TV stations available for viewing. Nothing else was on. We watched the conventions for hours, or so it seemed to me. 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 broadcasted. 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.

I try to remember where I was and what I was doing.

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 passed away from breast cancer. I was still in quite a melancholy mood.

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

I had no idea what was in store for me in about two years time down the road. Perhaps 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 yes, even yay Sarah Palin for making it onto the tickets!

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 firmly 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?






8 thoughts to “Political Conventions & Life in Four-Year Increments”

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. Nancy,

    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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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

    1. 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.

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