And now the political conventions! Everybody looking forward to THOSE? We have created what might be described as the most unendurable televised events imaginable, featuring attributes the Olympics forgot to celebrate: slowness, gracelessness and poor sportsmanship.

Needless to say, it is harder to watch the convention of the party you are less sympathetic to. The enthusiasm on the other side seems incomprehensible and misplaced and, of course, dangerous. Not to tip my hand by mentioning any party in particular, but the Republican Party convention is harder for me to watch. Not very far beneath the cheering I see resentment and anger and a desire to get even with somebody about something. I am always alarmed at this.

Yes, Democrats have a weakness for smugness and inefficiency and meddling in every damn thing, but look at the history. Civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, the environment, they’ve been moving along with reality, and doing the work that needs to be done. The GOP? They let the Democrats do the heavy lifting, wait ten years and then endorse the result, and then find something else to obstruct. They love to cheer about America, but it never feels like that America includes, um, all the Americans that are actually in it. They still seem to be following William Buckley’s defiant definition of conservatism as “standing athwart the lawn, yelling get off!”