The last night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention brought in a full house. After President Obama’s galvanizing speech the previous night, everyone eagerly awaited words from the nominee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
If there was any doubt to the influence of President Obama’s words, this night would prove the weight of their substance. Even as the night began, many Bernie supporters could be overheard pledging to cast a vote for Clinton. However, there was still tension from more staunch Bernie supporters who had not embraced the idea. On the bus ride to the convention, one passionate Bernie supporter went as far as to argue that Trump winning the election would not be the worst thing that could happen to the country. This of course was met with spirited, but respectful debate.
While there were still differences in opinion, both Bernie and Hillary supporters were excited to experience the culmination of the week’s events. The previous night’s speeches set such a high bar, some wondered if this night would dim in comparison. However, such thoughts were fleeting as the night unfolded with the same exuberant and positive energy that had been building over the past three days. One of the most inspiring speeches of the night was given by Reverend William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, who had the crowd cheering for more. If you are unfamiliar with his work on fighting for voters rights, then you definitely need to Google his name.
As we started to see more secret service agents, our Floor Whip advised us if we needed to leave our seats, we had better do so now. At that point we knew someone of importance was about to speak. To no one’s surprise, Chelsea Clinton stepped onto the stage and began to tell Hillary’s story from a daughter’s perspective. So often Secretary Clinton is portrayed as cold and calculating, but Chelsea did a great job showing the soft and caring side of her mother.
As we awaited Secretary Clinton, I wondered what kind of welcoming she would receive when she came onto the stage. Would it equal President Obama’s from the night before, or even Vice President Joe Biden’s?
These doubts were soon put to rest, as Hillary graced the stage. The level of enthusiasm was momentous, and comparable to the President and Vice President. As I looked around at the faces in the crowd, I saw a sense of pride from women young and old, but it was apparent that for the women in the same age bracket as Mrs. Clinton, this moment meant so much more. For these women it was the elation of finally reaching a goal that they thought would never happen. As a black man, I am sure they felt the same way I did in 2008 when then Senator Obama gave his speech at the 2008 DNC.
Secretary Clinton’s speech did not disappoint the crowd. She was strong and assured, and spoke to her party from a place of experience and knowledge. Her speech reassured the American people that she is the right person to lead our nation and continue its legacy as the greatest country in the World.