Perhaps political conventions are necessary. It feels smart to admit, however, that they’re pep rallies really. I’ve no problem with pep rallies. They occupy a hallway in my public school memory, those mornings when first thing we’d file into the gym and watch closely for glimpses of cheerleaders’ bloomers and fully ignore speeches by football captains. It was a chance to skip first period which was usually a snoozer like Civics or Math. So the student body was rah-rah but not really about the coming night’s game. Those cheerleaders would hurl miniature plastic footballs with our mascot’s image on one side and the name of a car dealership on the other, and we’d fight even best friend to catch their wobbly spirals. Of course sometimes those cheerleaders would step up into our knees and hand out ribbons with the outline of the opposing mascot and “Beat ‘Em!” printed below. To receive a coveted spirit-ribbon was an honor, you felt called, like she had eyes for nobody else but you. Rallied in such momentous pep you dared to believe in something beyond winning or buying a Coker Buick. You pinned the ribbon on, and cheered for love.