In the last two weeks we have witnessed two conventions and two very different Americas on display. If you were following the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which went first on August 20, you saw something very interesting happen each night, especially on social media and particularly on Twitter. Lots of tweets from men and women alike saying that they were crying, or emotional, or felt good about America again.
Former moderate Republicans like myself, former NJ Governor Christine Todd Whitman, former Ohio Governor John Kasich (both who spoke at the DNC in support of Joe Biden) and once staunch conservatives turned “Lincoln Project” founders like Tom Nichols, Rick Wilson, George Conway and “The Bravery Project” Founder, former Republican Congressman and Tea Party Member Joe Walsh were all caught tweeting that that the 2020 DNC gave them all the feels and how well done it was produced.
Even hardened military types, Intelligence officers, former career Department of Justice officials like Sally Yates were emotional, sharing real time thoughts on the power of Biden’s story and on his historic selection of Sen. Kamala Harris, a woman of color, as his running mate. Liberals, progressives, and independents were all overcome with emotion.The lovefest went on and on for four nights. Even Fox News anchors like Chris Wallace and Dana Perino, gave Biden a big thumbs up on his acceptance speech. Calling it “enormously effective''
My point is this: despite policy differences, and disagreements dating back decades, we can agree on one thing: the overwhelming decency and goodness of Joe Biden. For me as a center right, Bible believing evangelical, Biden is like a character out of the Old Testament.
Now, in his twilight years, GOD finally calls upon him to serve. The once young lion, who lost his wife and baby daughter in a horrific car crash at the age of 29, is now a seasoned 77-year-old statesman. He has loved. He has lost. He has mourned. He has wailed. He has risen like the phoenix from the ashes. He has rebuilt his lifetime and time again. Most of all, he is the person for this moment. Remember, it's always God's timing, never man's.
Fast forward to the week of August 24, 2020 when the Republicans kicked off their 2020 “virtual” convention in Charlotte, NC. What a difference a week makes. The President of the United States appeared in Charlotte during the day’s caucus nominating process and opened fire on Biden, setting the tone, not for the positive convention he promised, but for a convention quite like nothing we have ever seen before.
On the opening night of the RNC social media was once again ablaze, but people were not overcome with emotion of hope and solidarity They were cringing and horrified, shocked by the speeches like the one delivered by former Fox News personality (and former wife of California Governor Gavin Newsome), Kimberly Guilfoyle as she shrieked and shouted to an empty room in the Mellon auditorium in Washington, D.C. Or, worse the speech by Donald Trump Jr., who did not lavish praise or share childhood memories about a loving dad. Instead, he was weepy-eyed and hyper, talking about China and the unleashing of the “Chinese virus” on America, political correctness and the attack of cancel culture.
The coup de grace of it all happened on Wednesday and Thursday nights when Vice President Mike Pence accepted his party’s nomination in Baltimore at Ft. McHenry, while Donald Trump officially accepted the Republican nomination on the south lawn of the White House. The President made an implausible and utterly head spinning argument that he alone is best to stop America’s civil unrest and bring law and order to our cities. When in reality, all of the unrest has been fed by him, stoked by him and happened on his watch, starting with the vile, racist attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
The past two weeks, we got its most clear look at how very different the political visions of these two parties are for America. It supports how divided our country is where half of us wants to side with the police, and the other half prefers to side with the people. It should not be an either-or choice. It should be a choice where can have both and because we deserve both.
The question I think we must ask ourselves is indeed a serious one. Which vision for America do we want for our kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews? It really is that simple. I am biased for sure, in favor of our Constitution, elected officials who do not openly and flagrantly violate our laws and racial justice. I’m in favor of equal justice under law and of “we the people” as a United States of people who look out for one another. Defending each other’s rights to free speech and peaceful protest even when we may disagree. I’d prefer not to see civil unrest in our cities, vigilante justice meted out by kids toting AR-15’s or rogue racist Facebook pages. Instead, I yearn for an America where democracy, not demagoguery, rules once again.
Sophia A. Nelson is an award-winning journalist and author of the award winning book, “Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama.”