Weekly Opinion Editorial
LIGHT NEEDED IN AMERICA
By Steve Fair
Last week, the Democrats held their nominating convention. Because of COVID-19, it was held by virtual means. The theme was, “Uniting America.” 257 speakers addressed the convention. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the nominee, accepted the nomination on Thursday evening. "Here and now I give you my word. If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It is time for us, for we, the people, to come together," Biden said, just before he formally accepted the nomination. On Sunday, The New York Post reported the line was lifted from the final letter written by a dying Canadian politician, Jack Layton.
Biden has been accused of plagiarism multiple times. In 1988, his presidential campaign was derailed after it was revealed he had used the same lines as Neil Kinnock, leader of the British Labour Party in a speech. His campaign never recovered and he dropped out of the race.
Three observations about the Democratic convention:
First, the real theme appeared to be More Taxes. Every speaker hit on how much more revenue government was going to need to pay for health care and job training and a dozen other social programs for all Americans. No speaker talked about personal responsibility or reducing the footprint of government. They all said the rich should be taxed more to redistribute the wealth to the non-rich. Former Mayor Bloomberg, a billionaire, said Biden would increase his taxes and that was fine with him.
Second, the convention was long on philosophy and short on policy. Political nominating conventions are staged to fire up the base and to put on a good show for the general public. They are short on specifics and long on emotion. They tend to attack the other Parties’ nominee and paint their nominee as a candidate for sainthood. Viewership of the Democratic convention started out lower than 2016, but recovered on Thursday evening. Nearly 25 million tuned in to view Biden’s speech Thursday. He delivered what many said was the best speech of his life. But like the convention, it was more philosophical than substantive.
Third, the Democrats are trying to appeal to people of faith. For the past several years, people of faith have voted overwhelmingly for Republicans over Democrats. According to Pew Research, 75% of voters who describe themselves as evangelical or born again Christians (a group that includes Protestants, Catholics and members of other faiths) voted for Republicans in the 2018 mid-terms. Apparently, Biden is not conceding the large block of evangelical voters, like his predecessors. His Thursday evening speech had a definitive spiritual overtone. He described President Trump’s vision for America as darkness, his as light. Biden is right. The answer to America’s problems is light, but it is not his light or Trumps. It is the light of Jesus Christ.
This week is the GOP convention. There will be about 70 speakers, far less than the Democrats. President Trump is expected to participate every night. The convention theme will be “Honoring the Great American Story.” It will have its fair share of hoopla and hype, but hopefully President Trump will present his vision for America if elected to a second term. With voters stuck at home, the opportunity to provide specifics on policy shouldn’t be wasted.