The Last Day of the Convention

As I write this, the exhaustion has set in and it is only the lingering excitement that propels me today.  My feet are still blistered and sore but I am elated and energized for the next 60 days.  I knew the last day was going to be an important one.  After the rousing success of Sarah Palin’s speech, it felt like a the hard part was over, we could let out our breaths and prepare to celebrate and kick off the real campaign.  I actually took a moment this morning to stop by the Basilica of St. Mary’s, the first basilica in America, and light a candle for the events of the day.  The most moving event was a tribute luncheon for Cindy McCain, hosted by Elisabeth Hassleback of THE VIEW, and the lone conservative voice on the program.  She was charming and mentioned that Cindy was nervous knowing she was entering a lion’s den or pit of snakes.  But unlike another woman seeking the First Lady role, Cindy did not have a list of restrictions or topics that were restricted.  Jon Voight spoke and mentioned how Angelina Jolie, when she was little had told her father that she wanted to be a mother when she grew up.  I have to give her credit, she is walking the walk.  And Todd Palin spoke  He was a bit nervous but genuine and funny.  He mentioned that a few years ago, if he had had a crystal ball, then when Sarah mentioned she was running for the PTA, he would have asked a few more questions.  And then we watched an amazing flim about the work of Cindy and her charity Operation Smile.  It was moving to see that this is a woman who has for decades dedicated her life and time making the lives of others across the world more bearable.  She has also adopted the Halo Trust, Princess Diana’s charity that works for the removal of land mines and for their victims.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.  I also had the opportunity to talk at length with Margaret Heckler a real pioneer and dynamo.  She was a congresswoman from Wellesley, MA in the 60’s, Secretary of Health and Human Services under Reagan and Ambassador to Ireland under George H. W. Bush.  What an inspirational woman who has a deep and moving spiritual life as well.  After lunch, how could my day get more interesting?

Well it was off before I knew it to the Convention center to await Sen. McCain’s speech.  I got a great opportunity to meet some more “celebrities” before the speech including Larry Wilmore from the Daily Show.  What a kind and generous man!  And it turns out he is from EVANSTON, IL!  He was more than generous to let me take a picture with him and seemed honored at the request.  I can not tell you again how humble, kind and generous are many of the politicians, pundits and celebrities.  Larry is quite tall as well:

Larry Wilmore of the Daily Show and Evanston, IL.

Larry Wilmore of the Daily Show and Evanston, IL.

 It was clear when I got to the floor that tonight was special.  Almost everyone was dressed up – the delgates that had worn polo/golf shirts and slacks all week had on suits, those who wore suits had on darker suits, white shirts and fancy ties, and those with special convention costumes had on their party best.  The tribute to Cindy McCain and her speech were special.  It seems like this is the first time that all of America gets to see who she is – not just a pretty, passive, supportive wife but a truly accomplished and hard working achiever who has done great things for decades for her business, her charity and her family.  But then it was time for John McCain.  The hall got dark and quiet and then in a dramatic contrast with the event at Invesco field in Denver, a small spotlight lit the empty stage and follwed McCain as he walked to a simple podium.  Everybody was on their feet and even the press recognized that they were witnessing something historical. It was fun to watch all the FOX News reporters get a little star struck themselves as they snapped their own pictures of the event.  See my example of Greta Von Susteren of Fox News’ On the Record, making her own record:

Greta Von Susteren of Fox's On the Record, making her own record

Greta Von Susteren of Fox

 The introduction of John McCain was perfect, self depracating, funny and sweet.  The crowd stood the entire time and at the end as he concluded, the roar was so loud I couldn’t even hear his words (I had to read them later).  There was an attempt to mar the event by a couple of protestors but they were quickly booed, shouted out by chants of USA and escorted immediately from the arena.  McCain handled it with his typical humor, grace and aplomb.   Corny, hokey moment:  When they released the balloons and confetti it was as thrilling as fireworks.  Everyone lingered until the last possible moment, saying goodbye to many friends made this week from the other delegations (Good bye Monica from Massachussetts, MaryEllen from Texas and Deborah from New Jersey), grabbing extra signs and programs and scooping up confetti (with Cindy and John’s faces on it) for souvenirs and just trying to hang on to the familiar feeling that the hall now had as our home for the last four days.  I have to admit, I got a bit sad leaving, realizing that this part was all over.  What I have to remind myself is that this is just the kick off, the beginning of the work we all have over the next sixty days.  I have never felt more focused than now in both my dedication and understanding of my mission to help get McCain and Palin elected.  The wonderful thing is that on Monday I will get to have dinner with the Senator as part of a special fundraiser.  What a great opportunity to hit the ground running.  I cannot describe how meaningful and special this week was.  Not only seeing old friends, but making new ones.  Not only learning about the issues I care about, but acquiring new issues to fight for.  The week truly helped define what it is we are all working for.  To any one reading this who wants to make a difference, I say go out today and find a local candidate you believe in or become one yourself.  Commit yourself to that cause, no matter how small and realize that every little thing we do may be only drops in a bucket but they add up to a rushing river.

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