I will admit to having been less than enthusiastic about Mitt Romney as the Republican choice for the Presidential candidate. My spirits were lifted somewhat by the Paul Ryan VP pick. But then I was buoyed by the Sarah Palin choice in 2008. However, I still held my nose voting for McCain as I have been forced to do in many of the Republican runs. This election may be the one that changes my mind about the party.
Now I realize that these conventions are a unique slice of American life and in those auditoriums the spirit that pervades them is communicable (a sort of contact high).
I chose to watch all three days of the Republican spectacle and do the same for the Democrats. However this time the Republican National Convention really inspired me and renewed my hope for and vision of America.
The three days that I was able to watch the speeches were filled with testaments to the greatness of our country. These ideas have been extinguished in recent times.
Thornton Wilder, the author of The Bridge of San Luis Rey, expressed my thoughts well. In 1927, another dark time in our history, he wrote the following:
We come from a world where we have known incredible standards of excellence, and we dimly remember beauties which we have not seized again.
Wilder was a bit more flowery in his prose than I would be, but his statement is pertinent to what we are going through today. Less than 30 or so years back, the images painted by Condaleeza Rice, Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and the other speakers would not have seemed remarkable. And they would not have been sneered at and called gauzy reminiscences as Axelrod has done.
What is so unusual about unashamed patriotism and telling America it can return to a time when Americans were optimistic about their future?
What is irrational about telling Americans they are capable of achieving their dreams if they work hard?
Is optimism about your life out of season?
Can we no longer say that America is the last great hope of the world?
This was not a Pollyannaish starry-eyed vision! This was an accurate depiction of an America before the decline began.
These gauzy reminiscences recall the Civil War and the millions dead to end slavery.
They recall the defeat of Nazism and Fascism, and the Marshall Plan that fed and supplied that part of Germany strangled by the Communists.
They recall the retooling and support of Japan after their defeat. They recall that one small step for man but one giant step for mankind of the moonwalk.
Of course that NASA program has been supplanted by the Muslim Outreach program it now has become. They recall the incredible growth of our industrial facilities and the people who come from all over the world; as my parents did; to taste freedom and fulfill their dreams.
And let us not forget the First Amendment that, at ratification, guaranteed freedom of religion.
So what was so stimulating about the convention? Optimism!
It is an attitude sadly missing and lacking in the public discourse of the present administration. I dont believe we are doomed to decline. But we must once again rekindle that indomitable can do American spirit. A country that put a man on the moon, which saved the world from Nazism, one that is always the first to answer calls for help in disasters, and that was the worlds industrial giant must once again stand tall.
America was founded with a firm belief in its God-given destiny. It has been successful because that belief has held firm for 236 years. Lately we have stumbled but we have not fallen. We are at a decisive moment in our history and the choices are clear up or down.
So I close with two quotes from Ronald Reagan.
With our eyes fixed on the future, but recognizing the realities of today ... we will achieve our destiny to be as a shining city on a hill for all mankind to see.
There is nothing wrong with America that Americans cant fix.
God bless America!!
Larry Tradlener lives down McElmo Canyon.