It was all smooth sailing at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this week. Day one, on Tuesday, ushered in many praises on how smoothly, well orchestrated and energizing it was. Unlike the Republican National Convention, Barack Obama’s name and policies had been weaved seamlessly and throughout all party speeches. Life couldn’t get better for the man who seeks to be reelected for a second term and all who support him. But what goes up, must come down. At least a little bit.
Half-way through Wednesday and in-between speeches, meetings and musical performances there was a little scuffle. The equivalent of political melee went down on the convention floor when the party attempted to reinsert the mention of God in the party platform and to affirm that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
After the convention chairman Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered a voice vote to include the mentions, thinking it would be a quick and easy “in”. He and other party leaders looked perplexed to hear so many resounding “nos” echo through the convention halls. Villaraigos switched from asking for opposition to requesting those in favor of the measure to say “yea”, then determined that he had heard 2/3 in favor and ordered the changes added. It was still quite inconclusive.
Videotape of several angry delegates and a few Arab American delegates booing and waving their arms in discontent over the final decision circulated about the web. During the long nearly year-long campaign season, more than once there was a battle between the Faithful and those who believe the principle of separation of Church and State should leave God out of the mix.
Word circulated that President Obama himself ordered the language moved into the platform — after perhaps getting an earful from interested parties about the noticeable exclusion of the very controversial topics.
Understandably, there are decades-old pro-Israel US policies which the leaders on both sides of the political spectrum, President Obama and Mitt Romney, have vowed to uphold and promote if elected President. That the mention of Israel being the capital of Jerusalem was omitted could have been a political oversight. One would expect the reinsertion to upset Arab-Americans. The fighting across the ocean between Israelis and Palestinians over land each declare Holy and seek control over has trickled into American Presidential politics once more.
However, perhaps more surprisingly is the fact that Church-, Mosque- and Temple- going Democrats seemingly at odds again with the anti-God, Atheists, Agnostics and pro-Separation Church and State promoters that seek to keep Faith out of politics in the party each group shares.
When Barack Obama appeased Gays and pro-Gay rights progressives in his party by embracing marriage equality, the scuffle over traditional marriage did a number to disjoint the party at a time when party unity was and is essential.
Church-going Blacks, Hispanic Catholics and Pro-Life Democrats may be caught in a bind. Recall, many in the party called anyone who disagreed with the President’s decision on Gay marriage a bigot — all because they opposed a policy they said went again their long held faith and belief sets. But in the big Tent all must fall in line or fall apart.
There are often accusations that the Right of the political spectrum and the Republican Party are being taken over by religious zealots, but could the allegation be equally levied that the left is being guided by those who are against traditional religious principles and the centuries old binding concept of being guided by a higher being that the US was built upon?
Based on evidence from yesterday’s embarrassing voice vote it is looking quite so.