Perhaps the Boomers Have Grown Up – The Convention

A brief personal take on the Republican Convention.

I’m uncomfortable with sentimentality and had papers to grade, so I let it run in the background – but, the melody began to command notice; slowly the harmony became familiar. The melody was old and lovely. It interweaves family, friends, faith – the tribal, the communal, the sacred. Proportions vary as all join the vocational, the work we love because it is purposeful. That wasn’t just Romney nor Ryan – it was Martinez and Rubio, Rice and Christie, speaker after speaker.

Romney is a bit straight arrow, a bit 50’s – 21st century businessman that he also clearly is, finger on the pulse of today’s market and today’s technology. The convention was young and vibrant and alive – an optimistic Republican depth. But history can be our friend; we return to what works, gives us felicity, encourages in us the productive self we can be. We return to the primacy of the “negative” rights some denigrate, noting the impossibility (and undesirability) of a government guarantee for “positive” ones.

Obama thinks we need balconies and cupolas – remodeling that sturdy, simple, federalist house into an encrusted and European wanna-be. He spent the nation’s energy and money on tawdry decorations – banners and cheap paint jobs that peeled almost as they were painted, hot air captured in balloons that burst, entangled in trees; much of the work simply dissipated, leaving the house mortgaged and its cracks widening. He didn’t seem to know our tradition – the servantless house; self-reliance.

Our responsibility moves in enlarging circles – ourselves, our family, our community. This responsibility reinforces natural affections but is also efficient – those closest best know needs – and those close know best solutions. Blending efficiency with compassion was a consideration of our founders; this principle is not likely to grow central government. It is not the teacher of constitutional law but the businessman who understands; not the clueless vice president brought on to give gravitas but the young, brisk candidate can explain. We see it in Romney’s acts and Ryan’s theory.

The strength of our foundation and a sense of the large cracks that need fixing has been a popular theme lately. What’s old is new again. When we see the Romney/Ryan ticket, we see two men who’ve been disciplined by experience – as has that long line of speakers with their stories of struggle and triumph. The picture is of a people whose potential can be lived, who are not stunted nor ambitions entangled in a web of delay and indirection.

All emphasized respect, family, perseverance, love. Families, faith, communities gave them purpose. Governments can’t do that. They can make it difficult (inserting themselves into families, inserting themselves into faiths, tangling the paths to fulfillment in vocation). But they can’t make it purposeful. A national identity – its history & ideas – can give force and a cheerful patriotism ran throughout the convention. That was derived not from a feeling for government but for a nation’s history, for its ideal (the open marketplace – of ideas, of commerce, of religion), and for the rule of law. The rule of regulations and regulators is not what it is about – and not what our hands cover our hearts to honor. I never listen to Limbaugh but by chance heard him Friday – his theme was the convention’s buoyancy, its good cheer. That was the note, I think: life in America can be purposeful; long, hard work is not depressing when it makes your children more safe, more free. Then, indeed, we welcome it. And in doing so, we become who we can be.

8 thoughts on “Perhaps the Boomers Have Grown Up – The Convention”

  1. I didn’t intend to watch it but wound up watching more than I planned. The last night I was driving to Tucson so listened on the radio. I missed one good speech by the governor of New Mexico. It was pretty good.

    I was in college during the 1964 convention but I had a summer job a block from the hotel where the GOP convention was held. I walked by every day but never had enough interest to watch. I voted for Johnson, the only vote I regret. I thought Goldwater was a poor candidate, an opinion shared with Bob Novak, whose book I read a few years ago.

    I am more interested because I think this election is so crucial. I was concerned that Obama was unqualified in 2008 but the financial collapse made it impossible for a Republican to win that election. Ironically, the Democrats and the concept of universal home ownership brought the financial collapse. Now, I think we face a choice that may not be reversible. I can’t imagine what a national bankruptcy would be like but we may find out. I can reassure myself that I am almost 75 and won’t have to deal with it but I have children and grandchildren.

    I am pleased that the Romney people seem to be doing a good job so far. I read blogs like this and wonder what these people want.

  2. Michael,

    It’s been a long slog. I cast my first vote in 1964 for Goldwater. You noted that 2008 was an extremely difficult year for Republicans because of the financial crisis. In 1964 we had an assassinated President and the ominous specter of yet another extension of WWII. Goldwater was a sacrificial lamb served up by the Rockefeller wing to solve a problem.

    I was heartened by the election of Reagan in 1980 but memories are short and the pain he succored was fleeting. Happy days were here again – party time.

    I sense a difference this time. The pain is real. Family wealth has fallen by a third. The mood seems to rhyme with my parents’ stories of The Depression.

    The Republican Party of 2012, Romney’s people, are a new breed. No, not a new breed but the ascendance of a line sired by Goldwater and Reagan. They have no champion. Nay, they have a phalanx flying the Gadsden banner. This campaign, as voiced by Romney and Ryan, is about the nits and the grits. Do we want a country where everything is free but us?

    Like you, I worry most about my grandchildren. I am cautiously optimistic. Oh, Hell, I’m looking to break out that bottle of VSOP I’ve been saving on November 7.


  3. Too late for them to grow up. The world…doesn’t care.

    I suppose they want more praise for growing up in retirement?

  4. Although I will vote for the Republican is there any reason to believe they will govern differently than they did under Bush?

  5. Elfsta – don’t worry. This is just stage one. If we manage to elect Romney, he’d better shape up. The Tea Party will run the 2016 Convention.

  6. Bravo, Ginny. You captured so many of my thoughts as I watched. I never intended to watch much of it, but the more I listen to the supporting presentations as background, the more I found myself paying attention. The unity and clarity were unmistakable. This was much deeper than the trappings of attractive political verbiage, there was conviction based on real life struggles. These folks had lived and are living what they spoke.

    I think this is why there will be a difference between what the old guard was and did and where it goes from here. I have no illusions that Romney, a Republican Senate and House will heal our land, but I do think the there is the opportunity to begin the process. There will still be plenty of old guard baggage to overcome. It will require that the grass roots tea party uprising increase both its focus and engagement. This is not certain as it is grounded in that part of the people who actually have much more to absorb their attention than the political process. The political realm is largely populated by those who wish to feed on it rather than actually do something productive.

    Frankly I’m pleasantly surprised it has grown to where it is today. I wonder if it can actually continue to grow after November regardless of the outcome. Merely slowing our progression toward the spiritual, intellectual, social, fiscal and political cliff will not prevent our fall. A few more committed, consistent conservatives in both houses will not provide anything more than a brake, helpful but not sufficient. This could be Trenton, but it will not be Yorktown. To borrow a line from The Patriot, “Stay the course.”


  7. In Slovakia, missing the convention — but did see the YouTube rerun of Clint and some others.

    One key question:
    is there any reason to believe they will govern differently than they did under Bush?

    They will certainly be a lesser evil. But not as positive as more radical Tea Party types hope for.
    A reason for hope is that a few bigger spending incumbent Reps lost in primaries. This needs to be
    continued, but it takes work.

    The coming bankruptcy or near-misses of CA and other blue states will be huge issues for the future.

    Will the smaller gov’t Tea Party folk be able to keep working to reduce gov’t, or, like too many Bush Reps, will they just try to re-direct the benefits of cronyism?

    Hope for the best (expect the worst.)

  8. Thanks Death 6. That was nice. And thanks for the link Michael – I agree. We shouldn’t be expecting perfection and who thinks it would win a majority if it appeared? Romney’s looking better to me the more I figure we need the kind of guy used to cutting up a business and sorting the parts out. And I don’t care – hell, I hope he’s got plenty of experience in firing people, getting rid of divisions (departments) and generally applying a chain saw rather than a scalpel to education, homeland security, the epa, and about any agency Obama has set up. And I suspect Punditius has it right – if the Tea Party come out this November, the respect for them (perhaps fear of them) will make Congress a different place.

Comments are closed.