A nation divided is no nation at all

Joshua Lynch, Staff Writer

Years ago, prior to the advent of the 24-hour news cycle, the speeches at a political convention were natural. The speaker knew what the audience wanted to hear and the political bashing was like fuel to the flame for the crowd; be it Democrat or Republican. Rallying the base of either party is no chore when they all share core beliefs.

Times have changed. Cell phones, blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, live television and a public eager for the next controversial sound-byte have all rendered the political convention a risky endeavor. The problem is that elections are won by independents, not by republicans or democrats.

This year’s Republican National Convention was one big turn-off for many independent voters. Instead of offering Americans a contrasting plan for our nation’s future, Republicans used several days of media coverage to brag about themselves and slam President Obama every chance they got.

In case you missed this year’s convention, here were the highlights:  Ann Romney proclaimed “I love you, women.” (Perhaps, Mrs. Romney is simply unaware of her party’s voting record on women’s rights issues.) Marco Rubio hinted that Obama is a bad golfer. Clint Eastwood had a dialogue with an empty chair he seemed to believe was President Obama. Paul Ryan insisted that he is the man that will protect Medicare for this and future generations. Former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, spoke about education being a civil rights issue of our modern times. She stressed that America must be the world’s greatest power because if we are not, then some other power with conflicting values could come along and take our place. She also stated that the Republican Party is one for all people, from all different backgrounds.

Absent from nearly every speech, Willard Mitt Romney gave a speech accepting the Republican nomination. What he believes today will no doubt be different by the time you are reading this, so I will refrain from quoting any of his ideas. Romney reminds me of a boss, a preacher, a CEO, a banker or a lawyer. Oh wait – he actually is all of those things.

Political conventions seem to be events of the past, as they are clearly polarized bonanzas where only those who agree with everything said are welcome. In a world where everything everyone ever says is a news headline, do we really need conventions anymore?