First Lady Michelle Obama's speech impressed many supporters on the second day of the DNC Tuesday night.
From the DNC, Day 2: And we're off!
By Isabella Fuentes
...And we're off!
Commencing at 5 p.m. on Tuesday Sept. 3rd, the 2012 Democratic National Convention has officially begun, touting lofty goals, kept promises and the appreciation of opportunity and unity. The mood was incredible and set the tone for what looks to be a very exciting week.
In the daytime preceding the beginning of the convention, however, it wasn't all fun and politics. Since CarolinaFest was a one-day festival, today was a time for all of the politicos to talk and network before proceedings got underway -- sightings for today included former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois.
This mood of discussion was nowhere more apparent than the Washington delegates breakfast Tuesday morning, with many prominent Washington politicians there to speak and cast their votes for the people (including our very own Senator Patty Murray). It was great to connect with other Washingtonians and hear more about what is going on in the state politically, with conversation dominated by the gubernatorial race between Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna. It only served to reaffirm how positively I feel towards the state of Washington and its inhabitants; all in all, a great start to the day.
Less savory things were to come, though. The theme of the day appeared to be confrontation, with protesters -- mostly Evangelical Christians and Pro-lifers -- clashing with Democrats in the crowd, especially at the Planned Parenthood rally. With social issues at the forefront of the election campaigns, the debates are heated up about issues such as abortion and birth control, especially since the parties' official platforms have diametrically opposing stances. Obscenities were shouted, banners were waved and, of course, no conclusion was reached other than that the other side was wrong. Police had to be called in on top of the hordes that were already there for the security perimeter, with the end result being a town almost overrun by law enforcement officials.
The other problem of the day was credentials (the passes needed to enter the convention). Charlotte has a lot of political capital as the largest city in a swing state, making it an attractive choice for a convention, but the logistics don't quite match up to the ideals. Charlotte is one of the smallest cities ever to host a convention, so finding a place to put all of these policy wonks was no small feat. The venue that Tuesday's and Wednesday's events are held in is a stadium that seats 18,000 -- for a bit of context, 35,000 media, delegates, and special guests will descend upon the city -- and even some delegates are finding it hard to acquire credentials. This means that they are almost impossible to come by -- just getting into the event is difficult, not to mention maneuvering around a small stadium seated past capacity. However, everything ended up working out and the evening got underway without any major glitches.
The speeches were, at least in my opinion, amazing -- keynote speaker Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, provided a touching testimony to the power of the human spirit as well as a scathing critique of Mitt Romney (offshore bank account jokes were in vogue throughout the night). It appears he is being groomed for something and I can see him running for president himself someday -- his oratorical skills are good enough, anyway.
Other luminaries such as former Governor of Ohio Ted Strickland, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, and Kal Penn (of Harold and Kumar fame) gave insightful speeches mostly centering around opportunity -- our obligation to create opportunities for the next generation, our persistence in making something out of the opportunities we get, and the help we give and receive while working towards those opportunities. They talked about what it means to be a Democrat, what liberals stand for and, since this is a presidential convention, how Barack Obama stands for the ideals of Democrats and people everywhere. Oh, and there was some Romney/Ryan bashing.
Michelle Obama, was, as predicted, incredible, with a speech that eloquently made a case for her husband as a calm, capable, wise leader, and herself as the Mom-In-Chief.
What I'll remember more than these individual speeches or their orators, however, was the theme of personal politics and how the policies of the last four years have affected middle-class individuals. Ordinary people came on stage in an extraordinary circumstance: to tell their story to the nation and make a convincing case for why Barack Obama should be reelected based on what he did for Main Street and its inhabitants. There was a mother whose child had a heart defect and would have gone bankrupt without "Obamacare"; a veteran who returned from war and got his college degree through government-subsidized funding; a woman asserting that only she could make choices about her reproductive rights and Obama let her make those choices; and Lily Ledbetter, of the eponymous equal work, equal pay act that strives to remedy the wage gap between women and men.
In a time where politics can be all about debating economics or policy while forgetting those who the government is there to serve, it was nice to see some discourse on the human side of politics. Based on the first day of the DNC, it appears that the Obama campaign has grip on the principle that politicos don't win elections, regular people do.