I’ve read a lot of comments today from people who were moved and energized by last night’s debut of the virtual Democratic National Convention. I share those feelings, but I also want to acknowledge a more challenging one.
by Ruth Neuwald Falcon, Seattle, Washington
It wasn’t just oddly silent during the speeches. It also felt unnaturally silent in my home. There are many days when the isolation is all right with me. But there was something about the two-hour spectacle of people putting the best face on their solo appearances that magnified the loneliness that is usually kept at bay. It wasn’t just that I felt lonely. They looked lonely.
We have become used to watching people talk to us from their living rooms and studies. Single heads and shoulders framed by their personal possessions or a wall of flags. Governor Kasich broke the mold by standing outside at the point of what he described as a crossroads, though there are those who think it was really a fork in the road. I’m with the latter group (as if it matters), but the metaphor still works.
I am grateful that we have the technology and the talent to make this virtual convention possible. I very much hope that this mix of montage and music, of Republicans and Bernie-crats will achieve the desired goal. It is likely we won’t know the answer until some days after November 3, but I give them credit for trying and I will watch the remaining three nights of the DNC (I don’t know if I can bear to watch next week’s spectacle; maybe just the recaps on CNN).
But underneath the songs and the speeches and the film clips, here we are, more than six months into our isolation. The reality of the situation continues to be tragic. And as moving and powerful as the words of many were—perhaps most strikingly Michelle Obama’s—Kristin Urquiza cut to the heart of the matter when she said that her father’s “only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump—and for that he paid with his life.” We need to change our national pre-existing condition.