Is real sea change here?

Is this the week when the decline of America 'began to slow'?

“College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

– Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan

 

There were some stem-winding speeches at the convention – and for once, the vision exceeded the rhetoric.

But if this week’s freedom-loving, government-reducing, truth-telling oratory is successful in swinging the election, this may be remembered as the week a new Republican Party was born.

One that is finally serious about listening to its constituents and making the difficult choices to save America from financial and structural collapse.

It’s been coming for some time, of course. Bright young leaders such as Paul Ryan, Susana Martinez, Mia Love and others – an incredibly diverse lot, despite media protestations to the contrary – have been bubbling up through these United States for years, particularly since the Tea Party revolution of 2010. Most importantly, the new Republican Party has the benefit of seeing their predecessors’ errors – of going along with the exponential growth of government – and seems serious about turning this thing around.

No one encapsulated that hopeful change this week more than vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who humorously noted his youth by pointing out the “elevator music” on presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s Ipod – and who, were he a Democrat, might be embraced by the media as the next JFK.

Ryan’s inspired line about 20-somethings languishing in their parents’ homes while the false hope of Obama dims was the season’s most memorable summation of a failed presidency – delivered, exquisitely, with a spirit of lament and sympathy.

Speaker after speaker this week explained the difference between this president’s message of class envy and traditional American notions of hard work, self-reliance and success – but, again, none better than Ryan:

“When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That’s what we do in this country. That’s the American Dream. That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.”

This is precisely the kind of vision and promise that conservatives, and most likely independents, have been waiting for – the kind of bold, honest talk America has needed for years.

The contrast between this week’s straight talk and tough love with next week’s Democratic National Convention is likely to be stark. Judging from the campaign so far, the tone in Charlotte will be one of division and derision. And they will pretend as if everything will be fine, if we can just avoid doing anything hard to confront our long-term problems.

Believe as you wish. Compare and contrast the messages.

But just remember that hope – real hope – doesn’t always come with sugar and fake Greek columns to bounce the lofty rhetoric off of. In politics, real hope comes from real leaders and intrepid leadership.

Contrary to what Mr. Obama wildly predicted in 2008, this isn’t the moment when “the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Rather, a more modest sea change may be occurring, thanks to a new Republican Party, in which “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans ... tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.”

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Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon