The Democratic National Convention: Day 1 in a Nutshell
The Democratic National Convention, an event that was a cause for great apprehension among democrats, kicked off with its first day of four, today. The DNC decided to transition from their in-person event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to a completely virtual event, with speakers appearing from all over the country, from their homes. While there was an evident lack of momentum and anticipation due to the lack of cheering and supporting crowds, the convention event definitely made a mark, with a variety of speakers across the political and social spectrum. There were uplifting and spirited moments, as well as heart-wrenching emotional ones, that brought to the convention a sense of urgency.
The day-1 event was hosted by actress Eva Longoria, who throughout the convention, introduced speakers. Gwen Moore, a representative from Wisconsin, introduced and kicked off the official convention. The convention commenced with a choir of student singers, singing the American national anthem, from states all over the country. The convention was also host to a number of individual speakers, like activists, essential workers and victims of the COVID-19. The convention speakers, addressed multiple crises they claimed the country was facing, all while attacking Donald Trump, and his alleged ineptitude.
The prevalent pandemic became a point of great importance for all speakers. Andrew Cuomo (Governor of New York), spoke about the state’s experience with the pandemic, but how the people came together in an effort to listen to science. He claimed that to solve the pandemic, the people needed a competent government, taking New York’s example. One of the most moving and direct speeches was that of the daughter of a man who lost his life to COVID-19. She claimed that her father ardently believed Donald Trump was a good, honest man, but lost hope as his own fight with the COVID-19 worsened. She claimed that the only “pre-existing” condition that her father had, was believing Donald Trump. The convention also involved discussions with essential workers like policemen, nurses and teachers, and how mismanagement brought them to the forefront of the crisis.
The Republican opposition to Trump was well highlighted in the speeches, including self-claimed life-long republicans, like former New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman and Susan Molirani, a republican representative. The highlight however, was John Kasich, a much more prominent Republican, who spoke about the character of Biden, and his underlying, good-intentioned motivations. He elaborates on the common goal that Biden is leading us towards, and that even though there are differences between Biden and himself, the urgency of three concurrent crises transcends minor political differences. Other Republican voters also took the stage, ruling out Donald Trump as someone they would vote for.
The topic of systemic racism wasn’t ignored, and many senators, mayors and activists took the stage, to speak about what they believe the administration is doing wrong to solve the rampant riots and protests spreading across the country. Mayor Muriel Bowser, the creator of the Black Lives Matter plaza in front of the White House emphasized the importance of unity. There was also a moment of silence, following a moving testament by the relatives of George Floyd, about the lives taken and the lives lost. Biden himself had virtual conversations with Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Houston police officer Art Acevedo, Eric Garner’s mother and multiple others about the racial injustice being faced by minorities, and means to overcome.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, someone anticipated being a potential running mate for Biden, spoke in great awe of the Obama-Biden administration, and their hands-on experience dealing with crises such as those that are relevant more than ever currently. She spoke about the economic crisis, the employment reforms, the Ebola outbreak and their attention to auto-workers, emphasizing that if the economy is to be revitalized, Biden must be elected.
Multiple senators took the floor, including Sen. Doug Jones (Senator from Alabama), who spoke about how Biden will bring together the American people like a family of one; Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto (Senator from Nevada), speaking about the US Postal Service, and how she believes in the importance of the Democrats taking back the Senate, to secure better voting rights; and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who spoke about her own presidential campaign, and how Biden has always strived to bring together different political policies and ideologies. In an affirmation of the same, multiple major Democratic presidential candidates, including Andrew Yang, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, spoke about how their immediate endorsement of Biden was founded in the belief of his constant support and appreciation of a diverse tent.
The diverse tent of the Democrats was definitely a cause for great concern among Biden and Sanders supporters alike. In his speech, Bernie Sanders spoke about the crises the country was facing: Trump’s alleged attack against the USPS, the lack of proper healthcare and the need for economic stimulus. He urged people to understand that unity was their strength, and in support of Biden, his supporters had the potential to lay the groundwork for a number of issues that Sanders believed in (medicare for all, universal public tuition-free colleges, among others). He claimed he would come together with Progressives, Moderates and Conservatives alike, to help the country. In what was considered an extremely difficult feat, Sanders was able to show his unwavering support for Biden, while pushing his own policy agenda.
What must have been the most waited-for speech, aside from Sanders, was that of Michelle Obama. In an emotional, urgent message, she claimed how politics has indeed been tiring her, but coming out to vote, must be our number one priority. She elucidated the importance of a sincere and honest person in the Oval Office, how it is not an easy job, and that Joe Biden was definitely that person. She, multiple times, referred to the famous quote: “When they go low, we go high”, she said in the last convention speech and claimed that going “high” didn’t mean standing silent, but standing strong. She attacked Trump, calling it the cold hard truth, claiming that he just isn’t fit to be President, and it’s why people must come out to vote. She went on to highlight Biden’s accomplishments, and how she believed his grit, passion, humility and maturity that shaped his story, will also shape his presidency.