Saturday, August 30th, 2008
My Dear America:
Thursday, August 28th, 2008 was a night that was destined to go down in history. There was no doubt about that. Barack Obama was coming at the end of this evening to accept the Democratic Party's 2008 Nomination for President of the United States of America.
The Warm Up Music included performances by Michael McDonald, Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder. The Warm Up Speakers included Howard Dean, Bill Richardson and Al Gore. You knew that this was going to be a Super Important Night. Of that there was no doubt. There was a stageful of retired Army, Navy and Air Force Brass. I can't recall any Marine Generals, although there may have been one or two. The group included Wesley Clark, although he was not the one who spoke for the Millitary Brass. The gentleman who did speak for the group made it clear that these Generals and Admirals had confidence in and had already pledged their support to the man who would soon accept the Democratic Mantle.
But the most impressive speakers in the Pre Barack show included a bunch of regular folks, at least some of them recently retired from the Republican Pary, who told their heartbreaking stories of being left behind by the Bush Administration during the last 8 years. They were people who had worked hard and expected their government to help them and be there for them in their hour of need but found out the hard way that when they lost their jobs and their health care and their businesses that they were no longer the deserving party faithful.
They were on their own.
But on this special, historic night in Denver they had finally found an audience willing to listen to these voices crying out in the wilderness for help. There were plenty more stories like theirs out there and tonight they were speaking with and for the multitude.
Barney Smith was a proud, Ex Republican, who was one of the group that graced the Mile High Stadium Stage. He was certainly one of the least impressive speakers of the night but he had what was probably one of the most impressive speech lines of the night when he informed the nationwide crowd:
"I want a President who cares more about Barney Smith than about Smith Barney."
Clearly the crowd reaction told Barney Smith that he was not alone.
And then came Senator Dick Durban, the Illinois Senator who had introduced Barack Obama at the 2004 Convention where Barack, not even an elected Senator yet, gave the Keynote address and brought the house down. Dick Durban was back on the podium in 2008 introducing Barack Obama again. This time, though, Barack Obama, was more than the keynote speaker at this Convention. He was the key speaker. He was the 2008 Nominee.
The stadium crowd erupted in adulation for this kid from the wrong side of the tracks who had turned his life around and in so doing turned a lot of other kid's lives around. As Barack, the Talented Orator took off you could feel it even watching the show on TV. This was a night of profound history. As Barack gave his Acceptance Speech it was the 25th Anniversary of the day that Martin Luther King gave his "I have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C..
At the beginning of this Campaign when the Debate Stages were still filled with such Democratic hopefuls as Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Hillary Clinton, it was hard to imagine that on this August Night in Denver it would actually be Barack and not Hillary making their acceptance speech. It had been a long, sometimes ugly but always interesting Democratic Primary Campaign. The Democratic Party Convention, even at the beginning of this Convention week looked as though it could still turn ugly again. After all, The Clintons were being featured on two Convention speech nights. Certainly that was dangerous, others must have told Barack Obama and Howard Dean. But if there is one thing that the Clintons understand about Politics it is that politics truly does make some strange bedfellows and that Unity is everything in Democratic Party Politics.
So in the end after this ugly and contentious primary The Clintons came through for Barack Obama and on this beautiful Denver night Barack gave the speech of his lifetime, thus far, anyway. The speech was a well crafted litany of why Barack should be elected and why John McCain should not be. Anyone who has not seen it should see it and hopefully pay attention to it.
In the end the entire Democratic Denver Convention went off very smoothly and it was certainly a love fest for not only Barack and Michelle Obama and their kids. But it was also a love fest for the Clinton's, as well, Those Democratic Stalwarts, who went home from the Denver convention with as many good memories and as much good will as The Obamas and the Bidens.
It had, indeed, been a historic night in Denver and in America Millions of Black Youngsters had been shown just what heights they could aspire to. America would never quite be the same country again.