Two Very Different Visions, Only One Real Choice

I'm still humming "Fight Song" after the debut of that amazing video at the Democratic Convention last week. It's so right for this moment.

The convention's sound track included many other great songs, such as "Happy," ''Roar" and even "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," just like in Denver's Pepsi Center in 2008.

But a vintage tune called "What a Difference a Day Makes" has been going through my mind, too. A big hit 55 years ago by a pop diva of that day, Dinah Washington, covered by other great artists such as The Temptations, and featured not long ago on "Grey's Anatomy," it's about the transformational power of love.

A few of the lyrics:

What a difference a day makes.
Twenty-four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain.

In the wake of the festivities in Philadelphia, City of Brotherly Love, one can't help but notice what a difference a WEEK makes. Hillary Clinton is enjoying a healthy post-Philly bump in the polls, with the latest one from CBS showing her ahead of Donald Trump by seven points after being practically tied in the days between the conventions. What's more, those two gatherings vividly demonstrated the differences between how the two candidates view America.

In Cleveland, Republicans convened in a country that I don't recognize: one facing dire dangers at every turn from within and abroad, flooded with unwanted and threatening foreigners (perhaps disguised as refugees or even fellow U.S. citizens), diminished in strength and stature and longing for some gauzy vision of the good old days.

People at the Republican National Convention rallied to Donald Trump's call to "make America great again," harking back to the staunchly conservative values of Dinah Washington's day, when women and the underprivileged "knew their place," abortions were illegal and available only in back alleys, and folks understood that "law and order" was code for repressing civil rights.

That's not how any nation should be in the 21st century, much less ours.

Fast forward seven days, to the awe-inspiring gathering of people from the other side of the political aisle, and it's a much more realistic picture. Eight years of economic growth as the country emerged from the Great Recession. The promise of medical coverage for all. And a rainbow of faces and beliefs and creeds all gathered in the knowledge that this country IS great, and no huckster demagogue can tell us otherwise.

There were real, well-researched policy proposals to improve education, health care, social justice and national security. We discussed ideas, not ideology.

Sure, the United States faces challenges, some of them seemingly insurmountable. We strive, as President Obama noted, to achieve a more perfect union. But we won't get there driven by fear, and thereby driven apart. We are, as Hillary Clinton says, stronger together. Our diversity, empathy, hard work and heart are our hope.

Senator Cory Booker, a keynote speaker at the convention's start, put it this way: "We are called to be a nation of love."

And to cap off the week, upon accepting her nomination, the next President of the United States appealed to all who wish to answer that call: "This is your campaign. ... Join us."

So bring on the sunshine and flowers, just like in that tune from yesteryear. But first, let's go out and win this election. Right now, it's far from decided; the forces that appeal to primal human drives such as fear and doubt are powerful indeed. And they're ready to realize the fever dream we saw unfolding in Cleveland.

So do what you can to support Democrats up and down the ballot, in local, state and national races for city leadership right up to the contest for the White House. Volunteer, donate, educate, vote.

The future of our democracy is at stake. We must protect it with all our resources and all our might.

This Is Our Fight Song.