“Family, and family, and family.”
That was the motto of the video that introduced Joe Biden on the final night of the virtual Democratic National Convention, and showed just how the COVID-19 forced transformation of a national tradition could produce something in many cases more intimate.
Far from the cheering crowd of delegates that have characterized American political conventions for decades, the former vice president’s big night was the culmination of finely tuned narrative for what is shaping up to be the first almost totally small-screen campaign.
And as much as the ex-Veep focused on the failures and cruelties of the past four years, Joe Biden did not actually say Donald Trump’s name once in his acceptance speech – another unconventional move in what has been termed an “unconventional convention.”
As on previous nights in the partial live and partially pre-recorded event, the quiet of the near empty Wilmington, Delaware ballroom was much more the tone for Biden’s moment.
“On this summer night, let me take a moment to speak to those of you who have lost the most,” Biden said. “I know how it feels to lose someone you love,” a reference to the loss of his wife and daughter in an auto accident in 1972 and his son Beau in 2015.
“I know that deep black hole that opens up in your chest. That you feel your whole being is sucked into it. I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes.” Then he tied his own anguish and struggle, and determination to go on, to that of the rest of the country at a time of great loss.