The Democratic National Convention was held this week in Philadelphia, PA and I was glued to my TV. This was a big week. For Democrats, definitely. But for all Americans as well. We needed a real antidote to what we saw last week in Cleveland.
And we got it.
What I saw this week was inspiring. Inspiring, motivating, hopeful, patriotic, calming, bridge-building, encompassing, and motivating. An overall theme of kindness and empathy and inclusion and compassion and confidence and optimism.
And for the first time in a long while I felt proud. Proud to be a Democrat. Proud to be a woman. Proud to support Hillary. Proud to be an American. Harsh? Perhaps it is. But the way our Congress has been operating the past few years, and the hateful rhetoric that has come to the forefront since Trump first appeared on the scene, and the discriminatory Religious Freedom laws being passed, and the gun violence plaguing the nation, it has been hard for a while to be proud of what has been going on.
I hope this assembly of great minds, dedicated and passionate public servants and everyday people who have suffered loss opened the eyes of everyone in America about where our country needs to go and who needs to lead us there. As was mentioned by many speakers, you don't have to agree with everything Hillary proposes, you just have to be on this team.
Here are the things that I loved the most about this week’s DNC in Philadelphia:
1. Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
O.M.G. We know Obama is a brilliant speaker, but in this moment, with the stakes so high, this speech was so important and so...awesome. I loved it from start to finish.
Obama also took us back to rural Kansas at the turn of the 20th century to remind us of the values that folks like his Scotch-Irish grandparents believed in:
"They valued traits like honesty and hard work, kindness, courtesy, humility, responsibility; helping each other out. True things, things that last, the things we try to teach our kids.
"America has changed over the years. But these values that my grandparents taught me, they haven't gone anywhere. They're as strong as ever; still cherished by people of every party, every race, every faith. They live on in each of us. What makes us American, what makes us patriots is what's in here. That's what matters."
And the culmination of the speech was the call to action we've been anticipating:
"Time and again, you’ve picked me up. And I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too. And tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me. Because you're who I was talking about 12 years ago when I talked about hope. It’s been you who fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds were great; even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope.
"America, you've vindicated that hope these past eight years. And now I’m ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. So this year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me -- to reject cynicism and reject fear, and to summon what is best in us; to elect Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States, and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation."
2. Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States
Michelle's speech comes at a reluctant second to her husband's if only because of the importance of Barack's full endorsement of Hillary. Highlights for me:
"Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth! And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader who is worthy of my girls’ promise and all our kids’ promise, a leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children."
And a line that will stick with a lot of us for a long time:
"Our motto is, when they go low, we go high."
3. Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States
In his very simple reference to Trump, best use of the word "malarkey:"
"How can there be pleasure in saying 'you're fired?' He's trying to tell us he cares about the middle class? Give me a break! That's a bunch of malarkey!"
Watch Biden's full speech here.
4. Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States
Rachel Maddow of MSNBC called the first part of Bill's speech "shocking and weird." I totally disagree. The speech was meant to humanize Hillary. To share her story and the story of her and Bill's life together. To share her extensive resume of - and dedication to - public service. For any other candidate, sure, it might be weird to discuss the couple's courtship. But this isn't "just any candidate." This is a woman who has already been in the White House as first lady. It's a pretty unique situation.
Even though it went on forever, I was rapt by Bill's speech from start to finish. I hope it opened people's eyes to the fact that Hillary has been in service to this country long before she entered "politics."
Watch Clinton's full speech here.
5. Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City
Michael Bloomberg, an Independent who admits he doesn't agree with all of Hillary's positions, gave the best skewering of Trump I think we saw:
"I'm a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one. We've heard a lot of talk in this campaign about needing a leader who understands business. I couldn't agree more. I've built a business, and I didn't start it with a million-dollar check from my father.
"Throughout his career, Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off. Trump says he wants to run the nation like he's run his business. God help us."
Watch Bloomberg's full speech here.
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6. The stories from the survivors of violence, "Mothers of the Movement" and Gold Star parents
Again and again throughout the week, there were stories of hardship, pain, loss and struggle from survivors of violence, such as 9/11 survivor Lauren Manning and shooting survivor AZ Rep. Gabbie Giffords; from parents who have lost a child to violence, including the moms of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Sandra Bland; and parents who lost a child in combat like Muslim Khizr Khan who lost his son in a suicide bombing in Iraq. But through all the heartbreak, there was optimism, perseverance, hope and love. Heartfelt testimonials and heartfelt support of Hillary Clinton. Did we see any of that last week at the RNC???
And last but definitely not least:
7. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nominee for 45th President of the United States, former Secretary of State, former Senator from New York, former First Lady of the United States
Hillary will never be known as a great orator like Obama or her husband, but she was calm, cool, measured, funny at times, honest, touching and thorough - all the things we want our next POTUS to be. I had a lot of favorite parts but here's the one that really stuck with me:
"Standing here as my mother's daughter and my daughter's mother, I'm so happy this day has come. I'm happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. I'm happy for boys and men because when any barrier falls in American it clears the way for everyone. After all, when there are no ceilings, the sky's the limit. So let's keep going until every one of the 161,000,000 women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves to have."
Watch or read Hillary's full speech here.
To sum it all up, as Obama said on Wednesday:
"I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman -- not me, not Bill, nobody -- more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America."
I'm off to the beach. Have a great weekend!
All photos from cnn.com.