I must admit I anxiously, and somewhat impatiently, anticipated the Democratic National Convention. In my experience when I approach an upcoming event with great expectations, rarely does the event meet those great expectations. The Democratic National Convention at which I was privileged to serve as a Delegate was all that I expected and more.
The city of Charlotte seemed well prepared, overflowing with security and uniformed police officers patrolling and providing traffic control. The people throughout the city could not have been more friendly and welcoming. On my long walks from the bus or train to the Charlotte Convention Center where the meetings were held, or to the Time Warner Cable Arena for the Convention, I was repeatedly greeted with “Hello’s” and “Welcome to Charlotte.” Even the demonstrators were polite as I walked by each morning on my walks to and from bus/train transportation.
The Pennsylvania Delegation included me and fellow Fayette Countians, Lauren Mahoney, Pat Jones, and Al Ambrosini. Pennsylvania was one of the largest Delegations at the Convention and despite our size and the challenges associated with such a large body, it did seem to be well organized. Credit must be given to Fadia Helma, who serves as Assistant Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and who had the responsibility to keep our delegation organized and to respond to all of the problems facing the Pennsylvania Delegates. Her efforts made our job much easier.
Each morning Pennsylvania Delegates would meet for breakfast and to hear speeches and comments from various officials, including US Senator Bob Casey, and former Governor Ed Rendell. On Thursday morning, we were visited by AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka, a former resident of Nemacolin, Greene County. He provided an inspiring commentary concerning the problems that face the nation and what might be done to improve the plight of all Americans, with specific reference to the middle class. Richard, an outstanding orator, gave a fact-based commentary which was well received by the Delegates. The morning breakfasts were filled with many repetitive comments, but there was much to learn as the Delegates continually received information concerning the platform and the facts and statistics which would support the important platform positions of the Democratic Party.
Following breakfast, I attended several caucuses and meetings of various groups. All of the caucuses were interesting, each discussing issues relating to that particular group. When one reviews the line-up of caucuses, it’s a wonder that all the Democrats with many varying views can come together and support one Candidate for the nations highest office and a platform which obviously must be negotiated and is the subject of compromise. I suspect that the members of Congress can learn something from the Delegates attending the Democratic Convention who must negotiate and compromise on various issues so that a platform can be developed and finalized.
I was interested in hearing from speakers that would provide facts and statistics in support of the Democratic platform. I wanted to know what the President would do, assuming he was reelected, to move our nation forward. Many speakers touched upon the typical patriotic themes of love of family, neighbor and nation. I believe that both political parties can agree on these issues and that the Candidates from both parties truly love their families, neighbors and, of course, our nation. But the true question is, what can be done to make our nation better?
There were many outstanding speeches, video presentations, and vocalists. I was impressed on Tuesday evening with actor/producer Kal Pen and Minnesota Governor Deval Patrick. But First Lady Michelle Obama seemed to be most at ease in front of the crowd and cameras and delivered an outstanding address.
Wednesday evening was perhaps the most anticipated by many Delegates as the iconic and legendary Bill Clinton was set to address the convention. Clinton is arguably the best orator of our time. Former President Clinton gave a lengthy presentation that was fact-based, offering sound arguments to refute the positions taken by the opposition. His speech offered a specific history as to what has occurred in recent years in Washington and what must be done to move the nation forward. Most of the remarks given by the other political leaders did not contain a great deal of content, but former President Clinton’s remarks overflowed with content. His presentation was truly remarkable and for those readers who have not had an opportunity to see and listen to him, I would certainly recommend that they find his remarks online and treat themselves to his address. I cannot think of anyone better to nominate an incumbent President than former President Bill Clinton.
On Thursday, due to threatening weather, the convention which was to be held at the Bank of America Stadium was moved “back” to the Time Warner Arena. As expected, Vice President Joe Biden and President Barrack Obama addressed the delegates. Vice President Biden reminded me of one of the “fellas” I might have coffee with, pontificating on a number of subjects. His was not a speech, but rather a conversation and in his way I am sure quite effective. President Obama is an orator and I would describe his delivery as a mixture of trial lawyer and preacher; some facts, some fire and brimstone, and a very smooth presentation. I expect it must have been difficult for him to speak after such a dynamic presentation by former President Clinton. I suspect it is unfair to compare his remarks with those of former president Clinton’s. In any event, President Obama provided a number of facts and statistics outlining his presidency to date, and his plan for the future.
In conclusion, it is for the American people to decide in this great country of ours who will be our next president. I feel blessed to live in a nation where every four years power may be transferred in a peaceful and honorable manner. Our system, which is not perfect, is the best known to mankind and as I sat listening to all of the speeches, good and bad, I was humbled and proud to live in this great nation and privileged to play a small part in the political process. I hope that all of our leaders at all levels can find wisdom in the words of former President John F. Kennedy “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”
--- James T. Davis, Esquire