Tuesday, a diverse group of combative Democrats took the stage in Charlotte, North Carolina to offer a compelling, practical vision of America’s future – and in so doing, illustrated a plethora of reasons why I’m proud to be a Democrat and an American, though not necessarily in that order.
And the show has just begun.
Let’s look at a few highlights from the acclaimed speakers thus far.
Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, on the hope, change and opportunity entrenched in the Democratic Party Platform:
Our platform and our president are not interested in petty political arguments. Instead, this platform of big and practical ideas sets forth an emboldened pathway toward the historic hope which has driven generations of Americans forward—it is our most fundamental national aspiration—that no matter who you are, no matter what your color, creed, how you choose to pray or who you choose to love, that if you are an American—first generation or fifth—one who is willing to work hard, play by the rules and apply your God-given talents—that you should be able to find a job that pays the bills.
Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago and former White House Chief of Staff, with a curt characterization of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama’s differing views on the auto industry:
A person who said in four words, “Let Detroit go bankrupt,” or a president who had another four words, “Not on my watch”?
Tammy Duckworth, Iraqi War veteran and candidate for Illinois 8th Congressional District, on the American collective spirit, perseverance through our darkest hours and dedication to those that have the least:
Ultimately, that’s what this election is about. Yes, it’s about the issues that matter to us: building an economy that will create jobs here at home and out-compete countries around the world. But it’s also about something else. It’s about whether we will do for our fellow Americans what my crew did for me; whether we’ll look out for the hardest hit and the disabled; whether we’ll pull together in a time of need; whether we’ll refuse to give up until the job is done.
Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts, touting President Obama’s record of promises made and kept and pleading the case for four more years:
This is the president who delivered the security of affordable health care to every single American after 90 years of trying. This is the president who brought Osama bin Laden to justice, who ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan. This is the president who ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” so that love of country, not love of another, determines fitness for military service. Who made equal pay for equal work the law of the land. This is the president who saved the American auto industry from extinction, the American financial industry from self-destruction, and the American economy from depression. Who added over 4.5 million private sector jobs in the last two-plus years, more jobs than George W. Bush added in eight.
First Lady Michelle Obama, on the leader that ensures and preserves opportunities for future generations, Barack Obama:
Because today, I know from experience that if I truly want to leave a better world for my daughters, and all our sons and daughters…if we want to give all our children a foundation for their dreams and opportunities worthy of their promise…if we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility – that belief that here in America, there is always something better out there if you’re willing to work for it…then we must work like never before…and we must once again come together and stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward…my husband, our President, President Barack Obama.
Keynote Speaker Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio, on Romney’s plan for America, and America’s response:
It doesn’t just pummel the middle class—it dismantles it. It dismantles what generations before have built to ensure that everybody can enter and stay in the middle class. When it comes to getting the middle class back to work, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to respecting women’s rights, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to letting people marry whomever they love, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to expanding access to good health care, Mitt Romney says, “No.”
Actually, Mitt Romney said, “Yes,” and now he says, “No.” Governor Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it ain’t pretty. So here’s what we’re going to say to Mitt Romney. We’re going to say, “No.”
On his family’s road to the American Dream:
In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don’t always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor. My grandmother never owned a house. She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.
Wednesday’s lineup includes Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY), Rep. Barney Frank (MA), Sandra Fluke, Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton – in other words, plenty of quotable moments to come!