We Need Each Other

August 28, 2008

Democrats and Republicans need each other.

I will write a reflection later today about last night. It was a night of great political importance and full of political intrigue. It was also a night that was very important to me personally. I needed to be faced, up close and personal, with the consequences of American foreign policy and the human price that is paid in war. Having never served in the military, there are dimensions to the human experience of which I am not acquainted and I have not sought out.

I was searching for ideas at the DNC. Last night my search was rewarded. I was overwhelmed with ideas. They were not the ideas for which I was looking, but precisely the ideas I needed to confront. Like every good idea, it requires deep reflection, and the process has begun. More on that in a future post.

Leaving aside the personal questions raised by the war. I realized yesterday that Republicans and Democrats need each other. Covering a political convention is like sitting through 4 straight evenings of the most intense 6-hour rock concert imaginable. When I am at home I can channel surf and take in the snippets that interest me. The convention is designed to reach channel surfers. It is not designed to reach the people in the hall. God did not make us to sit and listen to, what is in essence, 24 hours of 60-second sound bites. It is a wonder more spontaneous human combustion doesn’t happen at conventions. Whether you like the message or the messenger or not, there is only so many times you can hear the word ‘change’ without having a panic attack. (I am sure the word ‘experience’ will do that to me next week.)

So this morning, I went to Republican press conference and heard Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty speak for 10 minutes without using the word ‘change’ once. The press conference had the effect of centering me. Balance was restored to my political self. That he was ‘Minnesota nice’ was just a bonus.

Now I am ready for tonight. I am looking forward to going to Mile High Stadium to witness a speech of historic importance. I am ready for 6 more hours of sound bites. I am willing to be embraced by change for another 6 hours.

What I have learned in Denver is that when I go to St. Paul I will need to find some Democrats to hang with. I need to stay centered.

We need Democrats and Republicans and they need each other.


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