For the first time in 20 years, I’m not attending a major political party convention. The GOP convention in Tampa rolls on while I work here, and I feared that the nostalgia factor would bother me.
But it hasn’t. Sure, I am missing out on the sort of meat-on-a-stick opportunities that come along when you go to a political convention, but the reality is this: I really only needed to attend the 1992, 2004 and 2008 conventions in person. In ’92, I was a reporter and ran around like a crazy person; in ’04 and ’08, I headed up continuous news efforts and got a lot of good out of talking to and working alongside reporters. But in ’96 and 2000, I could have been anywhere — and at the miserable Philly convention in 2000, I wished I was.
So like everyone else, I’m following the convention through news coverage. I find cable news convention coverage insufferable, so I’ve been watching snippets on C-SPAN, where the anchors just shut up and broadcast the straight feed. Meanwhile, my politically predictable friends are posting politically predictable things on Facebook and Twitter, as they continue to talk right past each other and pretty much convince no one of anything. I guess I should take some solace in the fact that I have politically predictable friends of many political stripes. I don’t take solace in the fact that so many of them are so stoneheaded that they can’t imagine even liking someone who doesn’t completely and perfectly share their political worldviews.
And that modern reality, writ large, is why I’m not missing being in Tampa and won’t miss being in Charlotte. There are many words coming out of many mouths in this year’s political convention cycle, but for my money, not much is being said.