Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day 3-Matt Shelton

Today we received a lecture by Bob Lovey, Ricky Kirshner, executive producer of the Democratic National Convention, Reverend Leah D. Daughtry, chief executive officer of the Democratic National Convention Committee and the Democratic National Convention Faith Outreach Leader, and Michael Genovese. Mr. Kershner went over the different responsibilities of a producer working for the Democratic National Convention such as the music and its timing, lighting, scenic designs, stage design, and the intricate podiums used. He also spoke of the amount of people needed to turn the convention center into a bustling national event that needed to tangibly mirror Sen. Obama's message of change. About 300 people, including over 70 stage hands and 50 technicians, all work on the project, putting into place the software and hardware necessary. It was interesting to hear how much goes into designing the building to carry Obama's theme. He also mentioned the production teams non-partisanship which was an important attribute. Another point he made surprisingly clear was that he and his team work independently from the media. It starts with the Democratic party who decides the theme and how they plan to design the convention to match it. They then contract the production team who do their job and then pass on the the torch for the media to cover. 
It was refreshing to hear that the Democratic party has stuck with their going green theme. All products used by the production team are union made and everything that can be recycled will be. 
Mr. Genovese then spoke about the age and experience factors of the presidential race. It's important to note that it is the American presidential race, in comparison with foreign races, that deals least with experience. Anyone can sign up to become a presidential nominee and the party systems are weaker, whereas in foreign nations the party is really the gate keeper rather than a major focus of campaigns. In countries such as England, potential officeholders must prove themselves through a series of tests to prove their competency level. Also, in comparison to presidential candidates from Americas early years, the modern American president is very limited in their foreign policy experience. Mr. Genovese used John Wayne as a model to describe American presidential foreign policy. In John Wayne movies he is the hero who comes as an outsider to help fix a problem of the local community. We as Americans prefer this romanticized view of things. Once the problem is solved John Wayne, not tied to any special interests, then departs into the sunset. The point here is that experience alone is not always the answer but the quality of the experience is key. 
Next to speak was Reverend Leah D. Daughtry. Being raised by activist parents in Brooklyn, New York was the starting point of her career. She was raised as a devout Pentacostal  and her parents put a strong emphasis on education. It was this combined experience that created an attribute that today seems rare in many politicians. "If you're only going to talk about it, shutup!" she says, referring to meaningless legislation and the officeholders who allow it to remain so. She also made a strong point that I have been waiting to hear from a politician for a long time. When asked if being both dedicated to her religious beliefs and the democratic party ever created an internal conflict, she answered, "I am not called to judge". On issues such as abortion rights she refers to the scripture which says," Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. We must start with an understanding of each others differences. If you believe it, do it". It's not an issue of who is right or wrong based on one persons point of view but it's an issue of respect. When she said this I swelled with inspiration and respect for this great individual. Finally, a politician who gets it! She was also asked whether there was enough faith based in the republican party and if it also became so in the democratic party wouldn't that lead to a theocracy? Once again she answered without skipping a step. "I'm a voter and I happen to be a person of faith". Separation of church and state is alive and well. This was a good lecture. We also listened to Professor Bob Lovey, who proposed a new system of choosing our president. It was one that, from what I heard from various students, that did not generally go over well. He criticized certain aspects that offended a handful of people. But he did bring up an important question, which is now our essay topic, is the current system the best for nominating the president?
Later we were treated to a stop off at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre. It is an ampitheatre that has hosted such famous acts as U2, The Foo Fighters, Snoop Dog, and The Dave Mathews Band. On a sidenote, I will be fortunate enough to catch one of my favorite bands at the amphitheatre tomorrow night. After the visit we made our way into downtown. It has been getting pretty hectic up here, as anyone reading this may be able to tell by the date and times of these postings. But I am working on making it all work. I will also be posting most of my pictures in one blog.

-Matt Shelton

1 comment:

The Geezer said...

I disagree on the question of "experience." Perhaps you meant something different but, in my experience, any "solution" to a problem may result in other problems as a result of unforeseen consequences. Despite the myth, the problem solver must remain available to handle any unforeseen consequences.
One of the problems with experience is that it really is "how have we handled this in the past" rather than how should we handle it.
I envy your opportunities.