The Mother of Convention


I picked up a newspaper the other day–hah! No, I didn’t. This is 2016, not 1996, and I’m not some time traveling cyborg, wandering around reading newspapers because I’ve been sent back from the future to prevent a horrific tragedy from destroying our country.

Would that I were.

No, this is what I really did the other day: I scrolled through the news feed on my robot phone and discovered that here in the United States we have a presidential election going on.

“Hmm,” I said to myself. “How did that happen?”

I imagine that’s the same question more than a few of you have been asking yourself as we wind our way through this very strange political season.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 7.51.49 AMHere in Philadelphia we’re rounding up the homeless and hiding them until this whole thing is over ramping up for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, slated for the Wells Fargo Center on July 25-28.

If you head over to the Democratic National Convention website you can find out all sorts of interesting things, including how to request media credentials, although the deadline has passed, so it looks like I am SOL. Had it occurred to me before the drop dead date (whenever that was, the website doesn’t bother to say, sorry not sorry), I can’t imagine my request would have been successful.

An Overworked DNC Volunteer: Got a request from some blogger for media credentials. Can you look up Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please?

Another Overworked DNC Volunteer: Here it is. It says it’s about “Humor and Sex. Mostly Sex.”

An Overworked DNC Volunteer: Oh, boy! Any good pictures?

Another Overworked DNC Volunteer: Nah, doesn’t look like it. Posts about how to get rid of ants in your kitchen. And orangutans. Here’s one about a ham and cheese sandwich.

Overworked DNC Volunteer: None of that sounds political. So, no politics, and no dirty pictures. What’s the point of that blog?

Other Overworked DNC Volunteer: Who knows? Just stamp that request “rejected” and let’s move on.

Overworked DNC Volunteer: Ok, here’s the next one. Look up Nigel and His Naughty Friends for me . . .

As I clicked around the Democratic National Convention website, I wondered how I could work this all into a blog post about the state of American democracy. Then it occurred to me that the political convention, scheduled to take place so close to home, provided yet another “teachable moment” for my two young daughters.

I ran the idea past my husband.

“What do you mean?” he asked, his voice cracking as beads of sweat broke out on his forehead. He’s heard my ideas before, like the time I wanted to learn a foreign language and made him watch an entire season of Friends in Spanish (¡El Uno Donde Ross y Rachel se rompen!). Or that time I suggested we raise chickens, if he was willing to wring their necks (he wasn’t). Or that other time I wanted to try anal sex (in the end, I turned out to be unwilling). “You’re not going to ask me to dress up like Hillary Clinton, are you?”

No, I assured him, my plan did not involve any cross-dressing (at least, not this plan). Instead, it involved ordering a pizza and sitting around the dining room table, explaining to the girls the role political conventions play in American democracy.

“We’re going to play a sort of game,” I said as I passed out slips of paper. “This will be fun.”

“That’s what you said about the play with the people in that room,” my older daughter said without looking up from her cell phone. Last year, I’d bought season tickets to a community theater that chose to perform, alongside Charlotte’s Web and Bye Bye Birdie, Harold Pintar’s The Room. “I had nightmares three nights straight.”

Deep Dish Pizza 6:29:13

Everyone supports pizza.

“That’s right,” the younger one said. Right now, she’s more focused on decontaminating her pizza from the scourge of sliced green peppers than what we’re discussing. “You told us that would be fun, too.” She flicked away a piece of the offending vegetable. “But it wasn’t fun.”

“This is different,” I said, although who can be sure the political conventions won’t resemble an absurdist drama?

“It sounds like fun to me,” my husband said. He finds it easier to support my ideas when they don’t involve embarrassing him. “What do we do?”

My husband already knows what we’re going to do because I briefed him about it last night in bed, elbowing him awake to explain it all, so my instructions were for the benefit of the girls.

“This summer, the two political parties are going to hold their conventions. The Republicans will get together in Cleveland, and the Democrats are meeting here in Philadelphia. They’re going to pick their presidential candidates, and they’re also going to vote on their party platform.”At this point, I held up my slip of paper. “And that’s what I’d like to do. Create a sort of family platform.” I chose a pencil from the pile collected at the center of the table and pantomimed writing on the paper. “For example, I could write ‘Respect One Another’ because that’s important to me, and it’s a goal I believe we should all work toward in this family, so I want that to be part of our platform.” I put down the pencil. “After everyone fills out at least one slip of paper, we’ll vote on which ones we want to include. That’s called ‘adopting’ or ‘approving’ the platform.”

My younger daughter’s hand darted across the table to grab a pencil. “I’m voting for Trump!” She plays the trumpet in the elementary school band and somehow the presumptive Republican nominee’s name and her musical instrument have commingled in her brain and turned her into a vociferous supporter.

I wrestled the pencil from her grasp. “We’re not voting for the candidates. We’re trying to create a platform, the things we believe in, as a family, just like the political parties will at their conventions,” I explained, again.

“And if we were voting,” the thirteen year old looked up from her phone long enough to cast a withering glance at her younger sister, “we’d vote for Bernie, not Trump.”

My husband coughed. When I met him, he was a registered Republican. Six months later, he told me he had switched party affiliations (to Independent, but still . . .). I think that meant more to me than when said he loved me.

“I don’t know if we’d all vote for Bernie, but definitely not Trump,” I said. “And if you keep saying you’re voting for Trump, you’ll be playing the flute next year. Is everybody clear on what we’re doing?”

They nodded, except the thirteen year old, who put down her phone and picked up a pencil in silent acquiescence. I set the kitchen timer for five minutes.

Five minutes later, I collected the slips of paper and read them out loud.

“‘Respect One Another,'” I read. That one was mine.

I picked up another slip of paper. “‘Tolerate Different Opinions.'” I recognized my husband’s hand writing, and suspected this is his way of telling me he’s voting Libertarian in the fall.

The next slip of paper said, “‘No Green Peppers.'” I looked at my younger daughter. “Really?” She nodded. “Green peppers are good for you,” I said. “I don’t know if I can support ‘No Green Peppers’ as part of the family platform.”

Finally, I came to the last one. “‘Moratorium on All Mom’s Fun Ideas,'” I read aloud.

As with much of what my older daughter says and does these days, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m disappointed that she doesn’t enthusiastically support family activities the way she did when she was younger. On the other hand, I’m really proud that she knew how to use the word “moratorium” correctly in a sentence.

In the end, I kicked them all out of the dining room and told them they didn’t deserve a democracy, let alone pizza, and we’d all be supporting Hillary in November, or else.


And you are, too, goddammit.

The image of the DNC logo and the “I’m With Her” button come from their respective websites and are believed to comply with the Fair Use doctrine. The picture of the pizza is my own, and so is the pizza. It’s my attempt at a Chicago style deep dish from a few years ago, back when I had time to cook and write blog posts, too.





35 thoughts on “The Mother of Convention

  1. Karen says:

    Fourteen hundred words for those of you who slogged all the way to the end. This is my first blog post in over a month, so I figure I’d pack as many words in as possible.


  2. barbtaub says:

    Maybe, just maybe, it’s not too late for you to get press creds for the Republican convention. Just think of the things you could blog when you’re not actually, you know, vomiting.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Petrossa says:

    The thing wrong with the republic USA is the lack of choice. I’m not an american, never been there, but as an interested observer i see many policies in the Democratic (contradictio in terminis, a republic isn’t a democracy) Party and the Republican (exactly correct description) Party). So what is needed is more parties which have a policies combining the best/worst of the two so that real choice is possible.
    Furthermore i believe Hillary Clinton will be the worst president by far, even worse than Obama which is a pretty high standard in incompetence to beat.

    Otoh… that clown Trump… My skin crawls by the idea.

    My advice: Don’t vote. Not at all. Nobody. Force them to come up with people who’d be actually capable to not run your nation even further into the ground.


    • SunkenThought says:

      There are other options, there are those of the Libertarian party. They’re not a well funded crowd because they’re not universally known, but we have our own stake in the dilemma. Gary Johnson is one such Libertarian candidate running for Presidential office this year. He is currently the 29th Governor of New Mexico, and has apparently been doing quite well!


        • SunkenThought says:

          Haha well I don’t like the idea of having someone who is corrupt (Hillary and Trump) nor someone under FBI investigation (Hillary) or someone who has repeatedly filed for bankruptcy (Trump) managing a nation that is already in so much debt that our money means less now than it did 200 years ago and would like to be taken seriously by the United Nations


          • Elyse says:

            I voted for John Anderson in 1980 and feel personally responsible for the election of Ronald Reagan as a result. There are two candidates and assorted other tabs who an only serve as spoilers. A vote for anybody other than Clinton will be tantamount to a vote for Trump.

            So yeah. It was sarcasm.

            Liked by 1 person

            • SunkenThought says:

              But a vote for Hillary is also a vote for a traitor – any vote cast is a vote not wasted. A voter who does not vote is a vote wasted. Vote for your country, for your people, and for your nation. Any woman who would knowingly allow a man to molest, rape, or seduce a woman and not take proper punishment for said actions is not a woman I would want to know.


              • Elyse says:

                A traitor? Ummm, no. She has been working for people’s rights for decades.

                I will not argue about Bill Clinton’s shenanigans. But I don’t care frankly. Sex and politics go back as long as politics and sex. I DON’T care what any of them do/did with their peckers. I do care what they do with my country. Bill was a good president. Hillary will be too.

                Liked by 1 person

              • Karen says:

                Oh boy, if I got blamed for the shit that my husband does–let me tell you a story. When I met my husband, I had a cat named Spooky. One day, I left for work very early. My husband (then-boyfriend) slept late. Spooky, meanwhile, pooped on my carpet.

                Do you want to know what my husband did when he discovered the poop? He took some fresh litter from the litter bag and poured it all over the poop on the carpet. And left it there. A pile of litter-covered poop.

                My husband, by the way, is a very smart guy (He’s a physician, and I used to be able to tell that to people and they would all go, “Ooooh! He must be smart!” until Ben Carson came along and now people don’t think MDs are so smart anymore).

                So I have no control over my husband. He poured cat litter over a pile of cat poop in my living room. And you want to blame me for that????

                Whatever Bill Clinton did or didn’t do is on him.

                Liked by 1 person

                • SunkenThought says:

                  I actually wasn’t referring to her husband but instead a client she was requested to represent by a prosecutor. She got him released of rape charges even though the young boy who had been there said that he had witnessed him rape the young girl. Instead of jail he had probation. Granted, the child’s mother pushed for a fast close to the case due to the incessant questioning and they never managed to get him to confess to what he had done, in that day and age screaming rape at that young an age was uncommon. Instead of taking the case at it’s value and the testimony of the young boy, they closed the case as a minor incident. I am not however speaking of the farce in which Hillary claimed she knew he had raped her, even though in her interview she said the whole case made her uneasy, nor the lie that she laughed about the case in and of itself. I made sure to look up what had happened after reading several images that had been passed around claiming she had let a rapist walk free while laughing. The whole ordeal is horrid. However as to the husband issue, if my husband got caught philandering with another woman touching him in a sexual manner without his explicit protesting, I would have divorced him. Not stay married to him.


                  • Karen says:

                    I’m an attorney, so my perspective is different. If your position is that you don’t feel that people have the right to counsel or to a defense when they’re accused of a crime, then I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere in this discussion. Thanks for commenting.


                    • SunkenThought says:

                      No, I firmly believe that anyone who is claimed to of committed a crime is due proper council and a proper hearing, but such a sentence for a rapist – be it adult vs child or adult vs adult or child vs child, the sentence should fit the crime.


    • Karen says:

      OK, first, the form of government practiced here in the US is a representative democracy. That is most definitely a democracy. In a representative democracy, the people elect other people to govern, and if we don’t like what they’re doing, we elect other people 2 or 4 or 6 years later. From your comment, it sounds as though what you think of as democracy is something I would call mob rule.

      Second, “Don’t vote” is not an option. In my country, too many people have suffered and died and been lynched and burned, and beaten–unfortunately I could go on and on but I’ll stop there–so that I can vote today and I would never disgrace their sacrifices by staying home on election day.

      I guess I won’t bother to address your comments about the President or the state of my nation. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Allie P. says:

    I would have cried too at the correct use of moratorium. Then again I almost did that last night, so perhaps my standards are getting to low. We were watching DC’s Young Justice and I commented to the hubby that Superboy seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder. My eldest looked at me straight in the eye and said, he’s a living weapon, before turning attention back to the cartoon. This geek was so proud.

    I find your attempt to bring democracy into your house so adorable. Mine is more of a benevolent dictatorship.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elyse says:

    When I was your daughter’s age, I wasn’t allowed to participate in any moratoriums against “the” war — Vietnam. I’m still mad. Of course we had no family platform.


    • Karen says:

      Guilty as charged, but only within my own family, so I’m not sure if that counts. And can’t you see how difficult they are? Libertarian! He’s going to vote Libertarian! I mean, it’s really hard not to be an authoritarian hard-liner around them.

      Liked by 1 person

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