Republican National Convention
Soon after I accepted the reality that I would never be a movie actress, famous or otherwise, I turned to a new ambition that seemed slightly more realistic. I wanted to attend a Republican National Convention.
Back in those days, political conventions were very exciting events, something to look forward to every four years. Granted, they weren’t very democratic affairs. There was a great deal of deal making that took place in unseen quiet rooms. But they were very exciting to listen to and later watch, because we didn’t know how they would turn out.
I tried to organize my days to max out my time hunched by the radio, or later on peering into the tiny black and white TV screen in my living room. The speeches from people I admired were always interesting, they gave me a sense of what new ideas the Republicans had come up with.
All of these preliminary steps led up to the call of the role of the state delegations. This was truly time to bite the nails. I always tried to keep track of the votes as each state chairman gave them, but I usually fell behind along the way. Pundit predictions had a way of falling apart as the actual voting took place as well.
Most often, there was no winner on the first round of voting. A recess would take place for more negotiating. The minutes before the next roll call would seem endless The Philadelphia convention in 1940 was the first one I can remember. There were 6 dramatic rounds of balloting before Wendell Willkie was nominated. This was high drama indeed. My ambition to attend one day was alive and well.
But conventions of both parties are very different today. They are mainly glitzy infomericals with little substance. Rich and powerful men, at least mostly men, meet with candidates for office in lavish private gatherings that most delegates aren’t invited to attend.
My desire to attend has long faded into oblivion. So I intend to find something else more important to do than watch the 3 hours that will be televised. I have some books I could read, or packing dishes for the move I will soon make. Both will be more interesting than the convention.
But I suggest a challenge for voters who do watch the Republican Convention or the Democratic Convention that will follow. It is a sort of test. When the last balloon has been captured or popped, see if you can remember even 3 policies important to you that either party convention promised voters, concrete actions we will get if we vote their way.
Remember, promising millions of jobs, uniting our country, or creating a grand future America doesn’t count.