But just as important as passionate energy is the clear portrait Democrats painted of their agenda for our great nation. As the President stated in ending his smart, deeply patriotic speech:
"... we... believe in something called citizenship. Citizenship: a word at the very heart of our founding; a word at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations...
"America, we understand that this democracy is ours. We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only 'what's in it for me,' a freedom without commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism is unworthy of our founding ideals and those who died in their defense...
"Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together. We don't turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up... we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing... that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth."
The complete message of the 2012 Democratic Convention is found in consideration of the collective speeches delivered at the three-day liberal celebration. Highlights for me, other than the President's words, included:
- On Tuesday, Day One:
- House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, who described how House Republicans have blocked President Obama at every turn
- Rep. James Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat
- Tammy Duckworth, Iraq War veteran and Congressional candidate
- Two Democratic governors who delivered passionate stem-winders in defense of Obama, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and former Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio
- And, of course, First Lady Michelle Obama, whose remarkably strong, personal speech was a convention headliner. As she did again in this speech, Mrs. Obama often explains her husband's aspirations more fully than does the President.
- On Wednesday, Day Two:
- Labor leader Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President, who made the case that Obama supports hard-working Americans
- Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senate candidate in Massachusetts, who powerfully explained how "the system is rigged against" "hard-working people: people who get up early, stay up late, cook dinner and help out with homework; people who can be counted on to help their kids, their parents, their neighbors, and the lady down the street whose car broke down; people who work their hearts out..."
- President Bill Clinton, who graciously and astutely made the case for reelecting President Obama. (I fully believe that Clinton would still be President, barring term limits. His charm remains infectious and contagious! Here's Clinton's 2008 convention speech: judge for yourself.)
- On Thursday, Day Three:
- DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who teared up as she spoke of her breast cancer battle and the Affordable Care Act
- Jennifer Granholm, former Michigan governor, who preached to the Democratic choir about Obama's tremendous support of the ailing auto industry. See photo, above right. (She had the best tagline of the convention about Romney: "The cars get the elevator, the workers get the shaft!")
- Sen John Kerry, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair, who spelled out the convincing case for Obama's foreign policy accomplishments (Where was this John Kerry in 2004?)
I was encouraged by the deep bench of rising Democratic leaders, including Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Judy Chu, and Rep. Xavier Becerra. Especially inspiring was the rich cadre of young, new Democratic leadership voices, including San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Congressional candidate Joseph Kennedy III, LGBT activist Zach Wahls, and College Democrats of America President Alejandra C. Salinas.
But I was personally most touched at understanding, again, that the Democratic Party is led jointly by both women and men, not mainly men. And in stark contrast to the Republican Party, Democrats care and take action about the issues that most concern women... health, education, communities, families, choice, and giving everyone a fair shot at the American Dream.
To me, this was gloriously personified when all twelve women Democratic U.S. Senators were recognized, and assembled on center stage on Day Two:
- Sen Barbara Boxer of California
- Sen Maria Cantwell of Washington
- Sen Dianne Feinstein of California
- Sen Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
- Sen Kay Hagan of North Carolina
- Sen Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
- Sen Mary Landrieu of Louisiana
- Sen Claire McCaskill of Missouri
- Sen Barbara Mikulski of Maryland
- Sen Patty Murray of Washington
- Sen Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire
- Sen Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
Objectively, I have no earthly idea why women would vote Republican in 2012, and not Democratic. In fact, I have no idea why every American wouldn't vote to reelect President Obama.
(Well, except for greedy, unpatriotic millionaires and billionaires. Please read or watch Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland's superbly on-target speech: "Barack Obama is betting on the American worker. Mitt Romney is betting on a Bermuda shell corporation. Barack Obama saved the American auto industry. Mitt Romney saved on his taxes. Barack Obama is an economic patriot. Mitt Romney is an outsourcing pioneer.")
The 2012 Democratic convention is history now, friends, and it's up to us Democrats to get-out-the vote! The future of our great country, and of the middle class, depends on our effort.