I turned on the TV this evening to
watch the news, which I have a bad habit of doing sometimes. It turned
out the Democrats were having their National Convention live, and all
the news I was going to get was their story. Jimmy Carter was saying
that all but one member of his immediate family now supports Barak
Obama. He expects the guy to do well in a lot of the deep south, but
maybe not so well in Virginia. If I'd been thinking then like I'm
thinking now, I'd have taken his picture. He wasn't on the floor
addressing the convention but in Jim Leher's studio talking to the guy
and a panel of color commentators providing historic analysis. After a
while it occurred to me that maybe they were filling the air until the
next big deal worth broadcasting.
That turned out to be
Caroline Kennedy, JFK's only surviving child. She said some inspiring
words about how great Edward M Kennedy, the Senator from Massachusetts
is. There were lots of roars of approval.
Then they played a tape of Kennedy
endorsing Obama and saying he is going to carry the baton on the health
care issue. There was lots of footage of Kennedy sailing a big sailboat
with lots of help from family members, but I didn't get a good shot of
Listening to the TV got old out I went
into the kitchen and looked at the tomatoes there. The purplish one
with light spots was grown in a friends yard and give me by her son,
right after he picked it. The red ones came from my upstairs neighbors
community garden plot. The yellow one I got at the farmers market a
week ago. I'll be eating the rest of it with supper.
Thinking about tomatoes, I went outside
and looked at the ones still growing on the vine there. This is the
first cluster to really feature an edibly ripe fruit almost the size of
a baseball this year. I've been watching over this vine, watering and
fertilizing it since March or April. I've tied up its branches when
they threated to flop over. I've urged it to grow faster, and now there
is ripe fruit. The only problem is I've other tomatoes to eat before I
want to pick it. I'm hoping nobody beats me to it....
I mention this all because they are more real and three dimensional
than the posturing of the Democrats on my TV. After all they don't know
me from any other face in the sea of Americans that go to the events
they prance across the stage in front of. That would be if I went to
one of their rallys, which I probably wouldn't do, except as a
protester outside the hall. As a practical matter, the change in my own
pocket now is likely to have a more immediate impact on my life than
those politicians on TV, but not one that will be as immediately
rewarding as that of those tomatoes. That's one reason I'm a green
activist. The Green Party is as real to me as those tomatoes, and a lot
Then Jim Leach, the former Republican
Senator from Iowa gave a speech saying that the most dangerous thing
America can do is continue to slide along under the kind of leadership
the Republican Party is giving us right now. He characterized them as
"male and pale". In my mind I also heard "stale". He urged everybody to
help put Obama in the White House.
He was followed by this Missouri
Senator, who also thinks Obama has a great *American Story*(TM).
Then they played a brief movie about
the life of Michelle Obama. She grew up in Chicago, and feels deeply
connected to the people there.
That was followed by a live speech by her brother, who is an Oregon
University Basketball Coach "Go Beavers!" was one of his lines. He gave
a complimentary analysis of Barak Obama as a basketball player, saying
the guy will take advantage of whatever openings he can find, and he
makes everybody on his team a better player.
Then Michelle Obama came on to explain
that the American Dream is a deeply motivating force in her life, and
also the life of the community she considers herself part of. I nodded
my head many times listening to her.
Then they had a live TV hookup with
Barak Obama. He had been listening to the speech in the home of some
voters in Kansas City. His kids waved to him and they exchanged
complimentary words. Electrically speaking, he wasn't any more
connected to them than I was, in the sense that we were probably
watching about the same live feed.
It could be that the information signal I was getting had a (three
hour?) tape delay because I'm on the west coast in California. Those KC
voters on the other hand, were on the same page he was, in that shaking
hands with someone discharges any potential difference between the two
people involved, electrically speaking. It's hard for me to think he
didn't shake hands with them.