There are real areas of critique for the Democrats, and before this year I've leaned independent despite voting with them, but this year's Democratic National Convention (DNC) made me really, really happy. It wasn't just that this is the first woman nominated as a major party candidate - though that is reason enough for celebration. This years Convention was inclusive across multiple axes and at multiple levels. In addition to nearly everyone in charge being a woman, many of them were black women. Several speakers were Muslim, despite fear-mongering against our fellow citizens. The first trans woman spoke at a National Convention and was amazing.
The DNC said to me in word and deed that we need to come together in a broad coalition to make things better for everyone. That individuals are important and should be listened to. That black women are fucking awesome. That the US is full of diversity, and a lot of them were on our stage. That #Black Lives Matter. That gavels are hard to remember. That amateur speakers are among the most powerful speakers. That we can make a fully accessible stage, including a podium which resizes itself to fit each speaker. That Hillary met with a lot of individual people and they really, really love her. That balloons are fun for all ages.
C-Span has a fantastic page for exploring on your own, but I'm including some of my favorite moments below.
One point of hilarity was the Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake (above), and the 2016 DNC Chair, Marcia Fudge (below), and their battle with the gavel! This made me laugh so much - especially when the audience got into it to remind Chair Fudge of the banging part of her duty! By the end of it, Fudge was relishing her bang up job at the convention, and I was right there with her.
I've never sat through a convention before, but I was really tickled by the roll call of the delegations (video above), especially the little speeches in praise of their state and the people standing alongside holding items of importance. NJ.com did an abbreviated rundown of the bragging from both conventions, but I have a few points that I especially enjoyed. Firstly, the sheer variety of delegate was amazing - every possible kind of American seemed to be in the audience, and that was really enjoyable. I like a reflection of my United States the most when it is diverse. Secondly, everyone seemed really excited and happy to be there representing their states, and that made love them even more. There were some individual moments which made me cackle with glee, though, and reminded me that everyone involved are people with competing values and interests.
Arizona's Delegation brought out a 102 year old woman to cast votes for Clinton, and I can't imagine just how much she's seen over the years; she was literally born before women could vote, and now she's seeing one nominated for a major party to run for President.
Arkansas' Delegation leader shouted out his grand-daughters by name. By name! I hope they really enjoyed that.
Larry Sanders, brother of Bernie Sanders, gave a Bernie vote for the Democrats Abroad Delegation to his brother and talked about how proud their parents would be of him, which was adorable.
The District of Columbia's Delegation stumped for being the 51st state of the United States; first they came for the license plates... Hee hee!
Guam's Delegation was incredibly stylish in their matching outfits and spoke about their desire for self-governance.
Kentucky's Delegation knows what a winner looks like - citing Bluegrass Music, The Appalachian Mountains, Muhammad Ali, The Kentucky Derby, and Kentucky Bourbon.
New Mexico's Delegation - lead by the first Native American state party chair - gave a major shout-out to the local tribes, starting with the Navajo Code Talkers, continuing with the 23 Indian Tribes living there, and rounding it out with the first agriculturalists, the Pueblo.
Puetro Rico's Delegation was the only all-Latinx one and mentioned many of their luminaries, including my favorite Lin-Manuel Miranda.
South Dakota's Delegation introduced themselves in Lakota, then translated into English!
Washington's Delegation both supported the Dreamers and named itself "home to 29 Federally Recognized Tribes, and Urban Indians, and Alaskan Natives from across Indian Country."
The Wisconsin Delegation didn't wear their Cheese Heads then (that was later, which they held them in their hands during the opening prayers), but they did talk about their Eleven Sovereign Tribes, worker's rights, and "cheese, brats, and beer."
The Wyoming Delegation all wore #BlackLivesMatter t-shirts, which was wonderful.
Vermont passed in alphabetical order so that Bernie Sanders could suspend the rules and nominate Clinton by acclimation to be the Democratic Nominee for President.
This was a hard convention to select speeches from, and I'm sure I missed some awesome ones, but these are the ones which stood out most to me. The entire event is organized in order with each set of speakers separated out by C-Span, and I really do encourage you to check out what I didn't include - you may find gems there which speak to you.
- Karla Ortiz is an eleven year old who confessed her fears about her parents being deported to Clinton.
"She told me that I didn't have to do the worrying because she would do the worrying for me and all of us. She wants me to have the worries of an 11-year-old, not the weight of the world on my shoulder."
- Astrid Silva, an undocumented American, is a recipient of The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals signed by President Obama.
"My family believed so deeply in the promise of this country that we risked everything for the American Dream."
- Anastasia Somoza is a Disability Advocate who has been a friend of Clinton's since she was young.
"Over the past 23 years, she has continued to serve as a friend and mentor, championing my inclusion and access to classrooms, higher education and the workforce. She has never lost touch with people like me. She has invested in me. She believes in me. And in a country where 56 million Americans with disabilities so often fill invisible, Hillary Clinton sees me."
- Cory Booker is a U.S. Senator for New Jersey and a Democratic rising star.
"Our founding documents were genius. But not because they were perfect. They were saddled with the imperfections and even the bigotry of the past. Native Americans were referred to as savages, black Americans were referred to as fractions of human beings, and women were not mentioned at all.
"But those facts and other ugly parts of our history don't detract from our nation's greatness. In fact, I believe we are an even greater nation, not because we started perfect, but because every generation has successfully labored to make us a more perfect union. Generations of heroic Americans have made America more inclusive, more expansive, and more just."
- Michelle Obama stole the first day.
"That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn."
- Tom Harken discussed the America's with Disabilities Act and taught everyone to sign "America".
"Today, I’m proud to say the ADA has helped so many share in America’s promise. We are better prepared to give all children access to a quality education, help our wounded warriors when they come home, and support our aging population."
- The Mothers of the Movement spoke about their experiences; the seven women include Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin; Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner; Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontré Hamilton; and Lucy McBath, mother of Jordan Davis.
Reed-Veal said: "Sandy, my fourth of five daughters, was gone. No, not on administrative leave, but on permanent leave from this earth, found hanging in a jail cell after an unlawful traffic stop and an unlawful arrest. Six other women died in custody that same month: Kindra Chapman, Alexis McGovern, Sarah Lee Circle Bear, Raynette Turner, Ralkina Jones, and Joyce Curnell. So many of our children gone but not forgotten."
- Bill Clinton gave the first Spousal Support speech by a man, which is kind of amazing, and he did almost as well as Michelle Obama.
"Look, this is a really important point. This is a really important point for you to take out of this convention. If you believe in making change from the bottom up, if you believe the measure of change is how many people’s lives are better, you know it’s hard and some people think it’s boring. Speeches like this are fun. Actually doing the work is hard. So people say, well, we need to change. She’s been around a long time, she sure has, and she’s sure been worth every single year she’s put into making people’s lives better."
- The Reverend William Barber made a point of including people of other religions and people who were non-religious into his speech and spoke about an inclusive democracy which takes care of all of its members.
"When we fight to reinstate the power of the Voting Rights Act and we break the interposition and nullification of the current Congress, we in the South, especially, know that when we do that, we are reviving the heart of our democracy. When we fight for 15 and a union and universal healthcare and public education and immigrant rights and LGBQT rights, we are reviving the heart of our democracy. When we develop tax and trade policies that no longer funnel our prosperity to the wealthy few, we are reviving the heart of our democracy.
"When we hear the legitimate discontent of Black Lives Matter and we come together to renew justice in our criminal justice system, we are embracing our deepest moral values and reviving the heart of our democracy. When we love the Jewish child and the Palestinian child, the Muslim and the Christian and the Hindu and the Buddhist, and those who have no faith but they love this nation, we are reviving the heart of our democracy. When we fight for peace, and when we resist the proliferation of military-style weapons on our streets, and when we stand against the anti-democratic stronghold of the NRA, we are reviving the heart of our democracy."
- The Khans spoke about the loss of their son, who gave his life in 2004 to save the lives of over a hundred other people. Details on why Ghazala did not speak while her husband Khizir did came a few days later; in brief, she has difficulty speaking about her son without crying. I found her presence eloquent and I grieve for the loss of her son, who was truly the best of us.
"Let me ask you: have you even read the United States constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. [he pulls it out] In this document, look for the words 'liberty' and 'equal protection of law'.
"Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.
"We cannot solve our problems by building walls, sowing division. We are stronger together."
- Tim Kaine, the Democratic Nominee for Vice President, showed he could be everyone's goofy white dad making those cringe-inducing jokes and hoping we can all be our best selves.
"Now, look, this journey that I’ve told you about has convinced me, has convinced me over and over again that God has created in our country a beautiful and rich tapestry, an incredible cultural diversity that succeeds when we embrace everybody in love and battle back against the forces, the dark forces of division.
"We are all neighbors. And we must love neighbors as ourselves. Now Hillary Clinton and I are companeros de alma. And we share this basic belief, it’s simple. Do all the good you can and serve one another. Pretty simple. Pretty simple."
- President Barak Hussein Obama was incandescent.
"So, tonight, I’m here to tell you that, yes, we’ve still got more work to do. More work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a decent retirement; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty or a world-class education; for everyone who has not yet felt the progress of these past seven and a half years. We need to keep making our streets safer and our criminal justice system fairer our homeland more secure, our world more peaceful and sustainable for the next generation. We’re not done perfecting our union, or living up to our founding creed that all of us are created equal; all of us are free in the eyes of God."
- Sarah McBride (introduced by Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney) was the first trans gender woman to speak at a National Convention.
"I witnessed history while interning in the White House and helping my home state of Delaware pass protections for transgender people. Today I see this change in the work at the LGBT caucus and in my own job at the Human Rights Campaign, but despite our progress, so much work remains. Will we be a nation where there's only one way to love, one way to look, one way to live? Or, will we be a nation where everyone has the freedom to live openly and equally; a nation that's Stronger Together? That's the question in this election."
I saw the entire convention through the lens MetaFilter's dedicated and largely liberal community, which ended up live-blogging all four days of the convention: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4. The contents do tend to be a bit messy, not just including details of the convention but also responses to what was going on elsewhere at the same time, but I couldn't have managed the massive volume of this event.Each thread has reactions, additional notes, questions and answers, and a bunch of people being really passionate in a small space.
If you've lasted this long, you've earned it - have a bonus - John Cena, Clinton Impersonator.