the democratic convention tonight featured some amazing testimonials from ordinary americans. standing alone onstage in front of an estimated 80,000 people, they spoke from their hearts of their personal struggles. you probably didn't see any of them since the major cable networks featured only the "big" speeches. luckily, wnet in new york (mm-hmm, pbs) broadcast the speeches in full.
there was pam from pittsboro, north carolina. pam talked about how she and her husband had lived the american dream. they did everything they thought they were supposed to do. worked hard, educated themselves, tried to get ahead.
eight years ago that dream "turned into a nightmare," pam said. her husband needed open heart surgery, he lost his job, and with it the family's health insurance. pam was a nurse, and couldn't afford to pay for health insurance on a nurses salary. five years after that, pam had a quadruple bipass. their health care bills grew "unbelievable."
"i am a lifelong republican, who voted for nixon, reagan, bush and bush," pam told the crowd, "but i can't afford four more years like this."
then there was barney smith, from marion, indiana. he and his father both worked for rca, manufacturing tubes for tv sets. in 2004, the plant closed and jobs were shipped overseas. after 31 years, barney received 90 severence pay and was unemployed.
"america can't stand more of the same" said barney. "we need a president who puts barney smith before smith barney."