Vox Populi
A Letter to the Editor

Jesse Jackson's Speech at the Democratic National Convention
Sunday, August 20, 2000

I noted, in Mr. Berg-Andersson's Commentary on Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention, that Jesse Jackson- speaking of the GOP Convention- said that "they could not even mention the words Africa, Appalachia, or AIDS once." I believe it would be fair to say that Jesse Jackson is lying, as- according to Mr. Berg-Andersson's Commentary on Day 3 of the GOP Convention- I read the following:

Co-Chair Watts now introduced the next Speaker, Pat Funderburk Ware, the president and CEO of the Preserving Family Well-Being Foundation who talked about the need to fight against the spread of AIDS and HIV at home and abroad.

Clearly, "AIDS" was mentioned at least once. Furthermore, I seem to remember Dr. Condoleezza Rice mentioning Africa in her speech about foreign policy.

I am a registered Libertarian voter, and have no trouble with criticism of the Republican Party when that criticism is due. If Jesse Jackson wants to say the GOP is not doing enough about the AIDS epidemic, then he should say just that. However, he should not make blanket remarks claiming certain issues have not been addressed or are being ignored when that is simply not the case.

Daryle Hendricksen

"The Green Papers" responds:

Mr. Hendricksen's point is well taken.

However, if one were to parse every single statement from the two major Party National Conventions as quoted by Mr. Berg-Andersson, one could very easily find all sorts of misstatement of fact, misinterpretation of fact and/or opponents' statements, shameless lies and/or abject hypocrisy. Neither Party, at their National Conventions, had a monopoly on this type of hyperbole amidst the political rhetoric offered at heir respective gatherings in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

The Republican presidential nominee himself, during his Acceptance Speech, spoke about how- as to his counterpart Al Gore- "all he offers is Fear itself". Now, while we certainly DID note more than a fair share of politicians- in the role of backwoods pastors- attempting to "scare the 'choir' " in the course of their presentations before the Democratic Convention, any fair-minded person could clearly see that the Vice-President (agree or disagree with the substance as you will) offered an outline of what he would do if he were elected rather than concentrating on trying to frighten his audience as to what would happen under what that very audience certainly would see as the Bush/Cheney "bogey-man". At the same time, any fair-minded person would also see that Governor Bush's humorous- more than a little sarcastic- comparison of Al Gore to FDR was simply a method of "working his own crowd".

The Democratic vice-presidential nominee, Senator Lieberman, offered his own version of such hyperbolic rhetoric when he said- of the GOP- "sometimes it seems to me that their idea of school modernization is buying a new calendar for every school building". Now, the Connecticut Senator was very careful to make sure he included those first five words "sometimes it seems to me": he, thus, pretty much avoided this becoming the type of blanket statement rightly condemned by Mr. Hendricksen (this was one of the reasons Mr. Berg-Andersson described Mr. Lieberman's style of speech as being "Talmudic"- as in "I see your point, but..."). However, had the Senator NOT started with those five words, would any fair-minded person have honestly believed that all the Republicans wanted to do for the schools of this country was to replace their calendars? There was more than enough rhetoric on Education at the GOP Convention to suggest otherwise.

One has to be more than a little careful not to take all that much of what is said at National Conventions TOO seriously: and this caveat is nothing new. The permanent chairman at the 1944 Democratic National Convention- in arguing the case for renominating Franklin Delano Roosevelt for an unprecedented fourth term as President (a renomination that was never seriously in doubt- in large part because wartime security and its attendant secrecy kept the voters unaware that the President's health was fairly rapidly deteriorating [the Party insiders, however, knew- precipitating one of the bitterest battles for a VICE-Presidential nomination in history as the bosses, fearing that FDR would not live out a fourth term, desperately tried to dump convention favorite Henry A. Wallace from the ticket])- claimed that Adolf Hitler himself would be resting much more comfortably were Republican candidate Thomas E. Dewey to win that year's presidential election (this at a time when Allied forces were fighting to break out of the elongating beachhead they had earlier established after D-Day!).

In short, this kind of stuff at National Party Conventions goes on all the time... but this does nothing to take away from the essential fact that Mr. Hendricksen is right and that Reverend Jackson deserves to be scored for his blanket statement.

Vox Populi Home

© Copyright 2000
Richard E. Berg-Andersson, Research and Commentary, E-Mail:
Tony Roza, Webmaster, E-Mail:
URL: http://www.TheGreenPapers.com