What We Need To Know:
The first night of the 49th Democratic National Convention lived up to its promise of Uniting America. Truly a family affair, the Biden grandchildren led the Pledge of Allegiance and continuing the youth movement, children representing every state of the Union sang the National Anthem.
Diversity of America was on full display-from citizens to life experiences to political alliances to the arts-was well represented.
Actress and activist Eva Langoria served as the host, introducing videos and conducting interviews. One memorable segment was a video of a young woman, Kristin Urquiza, from Arizona who lost her father to COVID-19, a death she stressed was preventable. One of the most powerful statements in her video: her dad supported and believed Donald Trump, especially as he encouraged states to open up. Her father’s only pre-existing condition, she sadly shared, was trusting Donald Trump.
Joe Biden also appeared in videos of where he gave speeches about systemic racism attended by supporters from a time when masks and social distancing were foreign concepts. His next conversation continued the theme, but sadly more familiar-physically distant with folks like Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, NAACP President Derrick Johnson and the mother of Eric Garner, Gwen Carr.
There was also the Republican Crossover segment highlighted by Republican female politicians like business Executive Meg Whitman, who stood with Joe Biden before introducing the speech by former Ohio Governor and lifelong Republican John Kasich. He encouraged Republicans to choose a better way forward with Biden, followed by everyday Republicans repeating the call for Biden for President.
Among the other politicians featured Night One were many of his former presidential opponents, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, representing the original host city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Congressman Jim Clyburn live from South Carolina reminding viewers where the Biden campaign really caught fire with the support of African American voters. Washington,D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke as she stood above Black Lives Matter Plaza in front of the White House and New York Governor Cuomo sat behind his familiar desk to representing Democratic Governors who put up a real fight against COVID-19.
While making his case for Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders reminded supporters that while they may not agree on important issues, they can work together. Sanders flat out told the Bernie Bros and Sisters, “I need you to vote for Joe.”
But it was Former First Lady Michelle Obama who brought it home in the keynote address of the night. In her own real, compassionate way, she brought down the virtual house. With a sense of urgency, she went over the past and gave a look ahead to the future. Mrs. Obama gave a history lesson, a civics class and a sermon as she looked into the soul of a country reminding folks who they really were-and can be again.
As one who has seen first-hand the enormity of the job of President, Mrs. Obama stressed that being President reveals who he is and a presidential election also reveals who we are.
Four years later, this is a different country: Stating that Black Lives Matter is met with derision by the White House. A strong moral foundation and empathy are missing as people refuse to wear masks to keep others safe. Children are torn from families and thrown in cages. But she knows that goodness grace are there in our country. This is not what we want to be.
And bringing back one of her most, if not the most famous quote, “When others are going so low, does going high still work? More than ever. It means taking the harder path, unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with truth.”
“Donald Trump has had more than enough time to do the right thing,” she said. “He cannot be who we need him to be.“ And then throwing his own words back at him when confronted with coronavirus deaths of children, Donald Trump said, “It is what it is.” Adding, “If you think things cannot get worse. They can. Things can get worse.”
In her support of her husband’s Vice President in this race, Mrs. Obama said Joe Biden will “govern as someone who has lived a life many of us recognize. He’s not perfect. There is no perfect candidate. Joe Biden has never lost sight of who he is. He has never lost sight of who we are. We have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”
The First Lady gave the marching orders: “Voter suppression tactics are not new. This is not the time to withhold ballots or votes.
Vote early, in person if we can. Grab our comfortable shoes. Put on a mask. Pack a sandwich. Stand in line all night if we have to.”
Invoking the memory of the late Congressman John Lewis, Mrs. Obama said, “People are crying out for justice. it is up to us to add voices and votes. You must say something, you must do something. For all of our kids, we must reassert our place in America.” Day/Night One is in the books. Who can follow the Forever First Lady? Her husband will speak Wednesday night.
Good luck, Mr. President.
Also On Black America Web: