The Flub-a-Dub Award

August already. On August 14, 1846, Thoreau was jailed for protesting the U.S. invasion of Mexico; women won the right to vote on August 26, 1920; Martin Luther King gave his now famous ''I have a dream'' speech on August 28, 1963; and on August 31, 2000, the Republican and Democratic parties were given the Flub-A-Dub Award for their marvelous convention antics.

First the Republican convention. It seemed to me to be a severely neurotic event presented with the sole intent of persuading the American people that the Republican Party is in fact human.

I don't generally watch many of the speakers because the Republican Party is not noted for their great orators. I did catch Colin Powell, who clearly should be a Democrat. He pretty much voiced all Democratic ideas. Maybe he's just confused, what with the Gulf War Syndrome and all. I watched W. George a bit. I was impressed by his reading skills, until I found out they phonetically spelled all the hard words for him, like RE-PUB-LEE-CAN. The speech, on a scale of 1-10 rated about a five. This is average, which about sums up W. George.

The whole affair looked contrived. Their play at inclusivism was well summed up by Rev. Jackson as an ''inclusion illusion.'' Minorities were paraded on the stage like a collection of newly arrived aliens, which would explain why some of them could have been duped into participating. When camera shots of the delegates on the floor were shown, it looked like Minnesota in the winter.

If you had no idea which convention you were watching, all you have to do is catch a glimpse of the audience clapping to the music. Not being able to clap in tune must be a prerequisite for being a Republican.

They kept their platform policies under wraps. The show is more important to them than the principles they had just adopted as a party. I don't blame them. They read like a right-wing Christian conservatives shopping list.

The Democrats had their bash in LA. The audience looked much more normal, although I won't attempt to define normal. LA was not the best place for the convention, since Mrs. Gore and Mr. Lieberman constantly bash Hollywood and the music industry for their violence and vulgarity. Seems such things don't meet their approval. So much for free speech. Speaking of speeches, Rev. Jackson's was by far the best. What can you say, white man can't talk. Lieberman gave a reasonable speech, ranking at about a six. Gore was better than I had ever heard him. I didn't fall asleep, which put him at a 7. The reinvented Gore. Thank God. W. George said he wouldn't reinvent himself for anyone. Good, he'll lose.

The audience by and large managed to clap in time with the music, danced some, and looked like a group who were done up for a Halloween party. I always thought Democrats were tacky, which until recently I thought was good.

On a final note, both in Philadelphia and LA, the police were entirely out of control. While some of the protesters are bent on violence and destruction, most were not. In America, I was under the impression that you have a right to peaceful assembly to air your grievances. This includes any displeasure you may have with the government and the two reigning parties. However, when party conventions come to town, those rights are apparently suspended. The areas surrounding the convention sites are cleared of anyone who is poor, homeless. These persons are immediately under suspicion. Areas are established where protestors are allowed to protest, way away from delegates, and arrests are even made before the protesters hit the street. Somehow I don't believe the founding fathers had this in mind.

So, to both conventions I present the Flub-A-Dub award. Sound bites and phonetic spellings aside, the conventions are next to worthless in trying to determine who might be the best person to rule these United States. I think the whole thing is funny. The conventions were much better entertainment than the Survival series, although all three were scripted to the bitter end. No one likes surprises,which doesn't surprise me.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online August 29, 2000

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