Before you begin to read this post, I’d like to warn you that it’s highly personal – mostly based on my own reactions to PBS’s screening of the Democratic National Convention this week. Being an actor with a strong interest in politics, I tend to gage my opinions and analyses on emotional reflections of politicians, parties, speeches, etc.
I recently came across this article on Politico – and smiled as I read through it, recalling the same feelings I experienced during Bill’s speech. Perhaps the strongest of these Bill-Clinton-inspired emotions was an overwhelming feeling of trust. I grew up with Bill in office, and despite his personal scandal (which, of course, I didn’t quite grasp as a seven year-old), I still consider him to be one of the most honest political figures in Washington.
To me, one of the most memorable lines from Clinton’s speech was “I’d like to nominate a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama,”. Again – I smiled, laughed – and this time, I even got a little misty.
The ‘mistiness’ was reminiscent of the night before – I’ll admit that I teared up quite a few times during Michelle Obama’s powerful, inspirational, and incredibly delivered speech. What can I say? I’m a sucker for strong, brilliant women.
Now that I’ve thoroughly embarrassed myself with accounts of my emotional reactions to various speeches, I’ll move on.
I avidly watched the convention from beginning to end, and was deeply moved by several speakers – namely, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and Lilly Ledbetter. Do you notice a prominent name missing from this list?
In 2006, I attended a rally in Washington to raise awareness for the crisis in Darfur – and that was where I first saw Barack Obama speak in person. I was mesmerized – so mesmerized that I couldn’t even pay attention to the next speaker (George Clooney). I followed him through his political career, and showed video clips of his speeches to anyone who would pay attention. I remained mesmerized throughout his 2008 campaign, and cried with happiness when he took the stage with Michelle, Sasha, and Malia upon winning the presidency on Election Night.
On Thursday night, Obama accepted his nomination, and gave a speech that was meant to be the grande finale of the convention.
Of course, the pundits were split [essentially down party lines] regarding Obama’s speech, as reported by The Huffington Post here.
Maddow called it a ‘big, big speech’. I felt more like it was a big, big letdown. There seemed to be a permeating air of defeated defensiveness during the entirety of his speech. Granted, he’s had an incredibly difficult presidency, and I don’t think anyone expected him to bring the same energy that he had in 2008. Even knowing this, I found his DNC speech to be weak in comparison to those of his 2008 campaign, as well as those of his wife, his Vice-President, his Vice-President’s wife, and his Secretary of State’s husband. His content, as always, was solid and powerful – however, his signature delivery was [at best] at half-mast. If this is what he’s putting forth for the grand culmination of the base-rallying, independent-vote-wheedling, three-day crazy-hat meeting we know as the Democratic National Convention, I have to say that I’m thoroughly concerned for the success of the rest of his campaign.
Is there any way we can get Michelle and Bill on the ticket instead? Obama Clinton ’12!
– Emily Pelz