Conventional Wisdom

I was listening to some journalist historian, or some such guy on the radio Thursday night and he was talking about why political conventions are a waste of time.

They're pre-scripted, pre-planned and even pre-timed. And so, a waste of time.

I disagree.

I love conventions and not just the political kind.

Conventions are about people of the same ilk getting together.

Democrats gather with Democrats. Republicans gather with Republicans. There are consumer electronics conventions. There are teacher conventions. Unions have conventions. Theater owners have conventions and TV broadcasters too. There are even swinging single conventions. And I was just invited to some Italian-American convention.

I don't think news is necessarily made at these conventions. But they are a part of our culture and part of who we are.

Sure, they can be goofy — really goofy with silly hats, silly pins and silly tchotchkes.

But that's OK. It's more the event of people coming together than what they do once they are together. That might be pre-ordained and pre-scripted, but who cares?

It is their right to stage, our right to watch and my right to cover.

People are buzzing at conventions.

They do time-honored things. I mean you can't beat it when the Iowa guy gets up and says, "The state of Iowa where the corn is as high as an elephant's eye proudly casts its delegates...” And on and on. I love every minute of it.

You know, there's a lot we do wrong in this country. Let's not trash some of the uniquely American things we do right in this country.

This incredibly condescending dude on the radio went on to say conventions are dysfunctional. I felt like saying, “Exactly who are you to judge?”

And P.S., I'm sure there's a convention for dysfunctional journalists. Try booking yourself at the next one.

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