Waiting for Sinatra

I was out of the room when I heard the phrase ‘savage disparities’ and knew it was Cory Booker, mayor of Newark.  He spoke in favor of the platform.  He had the kind of speech that you really agree with if you really agree with him.  He is an obviously bright man who respects the role of business and is considered by reformers to be on the right side of the school reform debate.  He has a gift for memorable phrases and seems highly literate in the quick if shallow way of modern persons.  A lot of people I like like him.  To me he always seems faintly fraudulent.

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The headline, for me, at 6pm in the East:  this floor has been WHIPPED.  It has been instructed.  They have been told to look alert and they do.  They have been told to bring the babies and they did.  They’ve broken out into chants of “USA! USA!”, just like the Republicans.  This is a hotter floor than the Republicans had, it’s more varied racially and ethnically and also more colorful – more people dressed in red, white and blue, shoes to hat, more people in crazy donkey hats, more wearing dozens of buttons.  They look happy to be there, and a lot of them looked grateful, like it was their first convention.  The platform passed with a bellow of unanimous Ayes, not a peep for No.  The Democrats show greater affection for eachother on the podium as they walk on and off the stage, as if they’re members of a team and the team is big.  Man this is a well drilled group.

There are moments of cognitive dissonance.  For instance, the platform that passed so unanimously contains, as we all now know, no reference to God.  In ’08 they had a mention, which this year’s drafters most likely would have noticed and removed, for whatever reason or reasons.  It’s their platform, they have the right.  But when they opened the convention with a series of prayers the camera cut to a woman holding her hands together tightly, fingers straight up, not like people who usually pray usually hold their hands but like a 15th century saint on an old fashioned mass card.  She looked nutty, or like a person imitating something she thought might be appropriate, or attractive to clingers.

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I wanted to say the other day that the music of all our political events now, including last week’s convention, is like some kind of semi-head-banging rock.  This of course is supposed to be cool, but to the young it would not be cool – it’s so 80’s and 90’s, and not in a good way – and to the old it is discordant, just another thing they have to put up with.  But this sort of Vulgar Male Rock is now the background music of our civic events, our speeches and rallies.

It speaks of…well, the general cultural vulgarity of the moment.  It reflects the tastes of political consultants, who are by nature uniformly ignorant, though clever.

If they had a brain in their heads they would play, at the next big rally in Ohio or Florida, nothing.  For just a minute or two.  Let people in the crowd hear the crowd.

And then, suddenly, Sinatra.  A Nelson Riddle arrangement.  “The best is yet to come, and babe won’t it be fine…”

Mellow.  Music you can think to.  Music you’re grateful to hear.

Why Sinatra?  Because he actually is cool.