Thursday night was the fourth and final day of the DNC. The befitting finale was the hour-long speech by Hillary Clinton. She gracefully accepted the Democratic presidential nomination. She became the first woman to be nominated by a major party for the country’s highest office. Interestingly, the content of her speech was a mix of biography, profession of faith, political prospectus, job application and attack on Donald Trump. Sukanya reports the event exclusively for Different Truths.
Week of 25th July was the Democratic National Convention (DNC). With bated breath we waited, to see how different it will be from the Republican National Convention (RNC). Will be it as dark, as dystopian as them?
Will fear be the main force? With the wikileaks happening just a few days back, release of hacked DNC emails, Debbie Wasserman stepping down as the chairperson, the DNC did not start off in the right note. But boy, were we in for some surprise.
Not only was it different. It was vastly different. Speakers from different walks of life, ethnicity, and ability were there to speak. They talked about themselves, they talked about their losses, gains and why they were rooting for Hillary.
Thursday night was the fourth and final day of the DNC. The befitting finale was the hour-long speech by Hillary Clinton. She gracefully accepted the Democratic presidential nomination. She became the first woman to be nominated by a major party for the country’s highest office.
Interestingly, the content of her speech was a mix of biography, profession of faith, political prospectus, job application and attack on Donald Trump.
Beaming with confidence she took the stage with “humility, determination and boundless confidence in America’s promise.” She spoke of terror, violence, economic disparity, racial tension. She spoke of Trump as someone who peddles fear, someone never to be trusted. She spoke of her childhood, her struggles, and her family. She is not an orator like her husband or President Obama, but she was clear, motivated and she spoke about things that is close to her, to the American people.
A woman with many enemies, poor ratings, it is still a possibility she can be the first female president of this country. Only in November we will know. “When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit,” as Hillary emphasised.
Bernie Sanders congratulated her “on this historic achievement” in a tweet. “We are stronger together,” he wrote.
Earlier, a father of a Muslim soldier spoke. A father whose son died fighting for the country. A Muslim, whom Trump wants to register. He challenged Trump if he knew anything about the Constitution, he ridiculed Trump for never going out in the foreign fields to defend his country, yet he smears all Muslims. An ordinary person with whom many Americans belonging to different ethnicities, minorities could relate.
Then as the closing of the DNC drew nearer, Chelsea Clinton in a beautiful red dress came to introduce her mother. She was poised but she was not startling. She was specific and detailed. Like her father, she brought out the woman and mother aspect of Hillary, along with the politician.
Earlier, when the DNC week began, on Monday, the focus was on the future of American families, how it is important to be together and build an economy that works for all.
We had many speakers, but some stood out more than the others. They stood out because of their struggle, because they were inspiring. Anastasia Somoza was one such. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia when she was born and is an advocate for Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Sitting on a wheelchair she delivered a powerful speech. “In a country where 56 million Americans with disabilities so often feel invisible, Hillary Clinton sees me,” she began. She went on further to say that “Donald Trump doesn’t see me, he doesn’t hear me, and he definitely doesn’t speak for me.”
Then there was little Karla. An American citizen with undocumented immigrant parents living in fear of deportation. A policy that Trump will take with vengeance. But the key speakers for that evening were Senator Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and the star was undoubtedly, our Flotus. Booker, senator from New Jersey, a sweeping orator. His focus was heavily on civil rights, economic inequality, high cost of college and inevitably Donald Trump.
Eventually he led to a rousing crescendo, with the crowd chanting “we will rise”.
“Our nation wasn’t founded because we all look alike or prayed alike or descended from the same family tree. But our founders, in their genius, in this, the oldest constitutional democracy on the planet Earth, they put forth the idea that all are created equal, that we have inalienable rights,” stated Cory Booker.
Bernie Sanders, who after losing the nomination, endorsed Hillary. He requested his supporters to vote for Hillary in the coming election. This is not an easy feat. His followers are simmering with anger at how he was handled. Trying to get them to vote for Hillary will be a tough job, but the alternative will have dire consequences – Trump. Sanders made it clear that he was with Hillary and that she should be the next President.
Senator Elizabeth Warren was another powerful speaker on that day. She cheered for Hillary while at the same time she presented to the viewers everything that is wrong about Trump. She spoke of his bigotry, racism, his hatred. Warren with her speech made the crucial point that the people who think they stand to benefit from Trump’s divisive hatred are being fed a lie. Using the example of Jim Crow, it’s all just demagoguery in the service of distraction. All that was distressingly familiar in American history.
But the one who stole the show was Michelle Obama. Looking graceful in a blue dress, she took the podium and she spoke her heart out. She spoke of her girls, her time in the White House and for a very hopeful America. It is a speech that will be anthologised for years. She spoke masterfully, calmly, with oblique jabs at the Republican Party and Donald Trump. Not even once she mentioned his name. Her speech was full of optimism. “So look. So, don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great — that somehow we need to make it great again — because this right now is the greatest country on earth. And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth.”
Day two, featured the roll call vote and how Hillary worked her entire life making a difference for children, family and country. There were many key speakers. From Eric Holder, to Meryl Streep, to Madeleine Albright, to Nancy Pelosi, to the former President, her husband Bill Clinton. Then there were the Mothers of the Movement. Mothers whose children’s death ignited huge demonstrations in this country.
Controversy about races and reforms in law and enforcement. In a country where racism exists, and is always being swept under the carpet, this was important. This invite caused unhappiness amongst the police fraternity, because none of the widows of the fallen police officers were invited to speak. They too lost their lives, protecting the citizens of this country.
Bill Clinton’s speech was the highlight. He is the same charismatic orator he was when he was the president. Aged much, he still had the grace. As a couple they have gone through a lot. They were criticised, disliked, gone through major public humiliation because of his infidelities…but they stayed together. Whatever their reasons might be, they weathered it together. As that evening Bill spoke of his wife. How he met her, fell in love, married her.
He spoke of Chelsea, he spoke of Hillary as a mother. That evening we saw not only a politician, but a wife and a mother. He humanised her.
Day three had the most important speakers. President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, VP nominee Tim Kaine, Harry Reid and Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York.
They all offered Hillary Clinton their resounding support and pointed out the dangers of a Trump presidency. Bloomberg called him a demagogue, a conman. Bloomberg a strong advocate of gun reforms brought up that issue too. Having slammed Trump, Vice President Biden, in his fiery speech mentioned that America is pretty damn great. Tim Kaine’s speech was seasoned with stories of his life, how much the Republican Party has moved away from the party of Lincoln, his time as a governor, about gun violence, about terrorism, about Planned Parenthood, economics, about Hillary. Kaine even went on to mock Trump in that typical Trump voice.
Then came President Barrack H Obama. He cast Hillary as a custodian of his legacy, claiming that she is better qualified to do the job than most, even him or her husband. He rejected Trump’s “Make America great again” by saying that “America is already great.” That his two terms was not enough to fix America, that more time is needed. That is why Hillary is needed. He spoke of Hillary as someone who made mistakes, who suffered for it, rose above it. He spoke of Americans as brave people, not frightful or fragile. “Nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office,” Obama said. “You can read about it. You can study it. Until you’ve sat at that desk, you don’t know what it’s like to manage a global crisis, or send young people to war. But Hillary’s been in the room; she’s been part of those decisions.” And Obama handed the baton to Hillary.
©Sukanya Juno Biswas
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