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Aurora man gives perspective on convention

Updated: October 9, 2012 2:20PM

As Ken Christy of Aurora was packing for Charlotte, North Carolina, to attend the Democratic National Convention, he offered to share his impressions with me.

Christy, who is the Illinois President of the National Association of Letter Carriers, phoned Tuesday night after the first day of speeches. He said one of the first things that struck him was how well the attendees seemed to reflect America — a nation where anyone not Native American, came here as an immigrant.

From his balcony vantage point he could see a crowd representing many ethnicities, enthusiastically sharing their pride in America and pride in a president who has championed things like affordable education and the Dream Act. It made him think how far we have come from the days when businesses offering jobs would post signs that said: Irish need not apply. He noted that he sat next to a woman whose family had come here from India. “This is a nation of immigrants who built this country one house at a time,” said Christy. “Unlike the Republican convention, we didn’t have to try and seat all the non-whites up front (to show that they had some).”

Another contrast Christy noticed was how the overall message differed from the RNC last week. While their message was: “people shouldn’t be ashamed to be rich,” the message in Charlotte was more like: “We are the middle class. We work together and try to lift everyone toward success — even those who don’t have their own bootstraps to pull on.” He added, “By the way, there were 18 tax cuts for small businesses under President Obama. Republicans trying to paint him as anti-business is just not true.”

In fact, many recent Republican statements were simply not true. Lisa Madigan summed it up with: “Our purpose is to set the record straight after what came out of Tampa last week.”

Even an article from right-leaning Fox News stated: “. . . to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, (Paul) Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”

“Just about everything that comes out of Ryan’s mouth is a lie,” laughed Christy. “He couldn’t even be honest about his own marathon time!”

Among the many things Ryan blamed Obama for was the downgrade of the US credit rating that was the result of Republicans playing politics with the debt ceiling, which they were happy to raise 7 times for George W. Bush and 18 for Ronald Reagan! Ryan wrongly accused the President of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, an amount that is actually savings that will go toward Medicare recipients’ out-of-pocket costs. Romney and Ryan would destroy Medicare as we know it, raising the retirement age and turning it into a voucher program providing less coverage for more money.

This week the Democrats answered the question of whether we’re better off than 4 years ago, noting accomplishments such as 29 straight months of positive job growth as we emerge from the financial meltdown Bush created, saving the American auto industry from collapse, the long overdue capture of Osama bin Laden, ending the war in Iraq, passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and passing heath care that prohibits pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps.

Christy noticed that a number of speakers were ex-Republicans who now support Obama. He said the excitement among these diverse Democrats is genuine, their cheering spontaneous, and enthusiasm contagious. They still believe in the change Obama has delivered and want to see it continue four more years. They believe if Americans judge the candidates on the facts rather than the lies, that will definitely happen.

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