“We can’t devolve into a nation where our highest aspiration is that we tolerate each other. We are not called to be a nation of tolerance. We are called to be a nation of love,” Booker said.
Booker’s thunderous oratory and prevailing words served as a motivational springboard to help unite a party that remains divided following a contested primary between the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who continues to court a legion of passionate supporters.
Delegates representing the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam convened July 25-28 in the nation’s birthplace to participate in four days of caucus gatherings, momentous speeches and the pivotal task of Tuesday’s roll call. Clinton is expected to accept the party’s nomination, which, if elected, will make the former New York Senator and Secretary of State the first woman to be president of the United States of America. Democrats are hoping Clinton will gain momentum to defeat Trump following the convention.
Clinton has selected former Virginia Governor Sen. Tim Kaine as her vice-presidential running mate, and the two will face-off against Republican candidate Donald Trump and Mike Pence in the November 2016 election.
While Sanders has offered Clinton a public endorsement, his supporters continue to exhibit a relentless zeal coined “Feel the Bern.” Both delegates and Sanders’ supporters were incensed by the email scandal that overshadowed the start of the convention.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the DNC, was reprimanded following a public leak of almost 20,000 DNC emails dating from January 2015 to May 2016.
Among the most egregious allegations was language that “bad mouthed” Sanders and negatively influenced the senator’s voter support. Wasserman Schultz has been forced to resign and has no prominent role on the convention stage.
A strong contingency of Sanders’ protesters posed a minimal threat outside Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Arena, incensed by the leak of the sometimes disparaging emails.
“I want to say something as your vice chair; I sincerely apologize for those of you who took offense or were offended, for those of you who feel betrayed and were betrayed for those ridiculous, insensitive, inappropriate emails that should have never been sent,” offered political analyst Donna Brazile, who serves as the DNC vice chair for civic engagement and voter protection. Brazile has been selected as the DNC interim chair.
Florida Delegate for Hillary, Percy Johnson represents the 20th congressional district (Palm Beach County/Broward County). Johnson reverberated emotional responses shared by many delegates.
“I was very disappointed with the whole scandal regarding the emails,” said Johnson. “I feel like Debbie probably needs to go home and take care of her district. She needs to talk to the people in her district and convince them that she deserves to return to congress and save her face,” Johnson added.
Johnson further cited that Wasserman Shultz can regain respect by becoming accountable for inconsistency of the national party with regards to fundraising and supporting new candidates and those who challenge republicans.
“The over-arching theme in this convention is that we are stronger together. Together as one party we will change the nation,” said Johnson. “We will uphold the equality and fairness that this country believes in. For Florida, the most pressing need is the environment. We need clean water, we need air, but we have a governor that seems to not believe in that right now,” he added.
The 20th congressional district is represented by Congressman Alcee Hastings, whose hallmark 2014 election quote was, “I’m not afraid to stand up to anyone when it comes to defending those who need defending, or arguing for policies that are just – whether they have a chance of passing this Republican-dominated congress or not.”
Florida is a pivotal state in the 2016 election and Johnson believes jobs and funding for childcare to enable working families are national priorities. But before any Republican-challenged policies or legislation can be drafted, voting remains a priority.
“Our votes count. South Florida is needed, and to win this election we all have to be counted,” said Johnson. “The only way we are going to be able to win Florida is with Black women from Jacksonville to Miami and a no vote means you are going to deliver the election to Donald Trump. Everyone needs to get registered and participate in the primary election, which is Aug. 30,” added Johnson.
Former NAACP President and Sanders Delegate Ben Jealous offered insights critical to voter perspective.
“Right now, our party is in a cocoon called a convention,” said Jealous. “We came in with two candidates through the primary and emerge united to defeat Donald Trump this fall, so what’s happening right now is that people are working through the [Clinton-Sanders] division.
“Three weeks ago we had a milk-toast platform, but we came together and now we have the most progressive platform in history this weekend…we have a lot of really positive signs that this party is a party for all of us and it’s time for us to get together and fight like hell to beat Donald Trump,” added Jealous.
First Lady Michelle Obama struck a chord among the American viewing audience and in the convention arena where tens of thousands in attendance held high, vertical signs that simply read: “Michelle!”
Obama’s emotive speech has resonated as the evening’s show-stopping presentation. She echoed a litany of personal convictions regarding children’s views of the world including her own two daughters — Malia and Sasha —who she referred to as: “two beautiful, intelligent, Black young women.”
“I want a president with a record of public service. Someone whose life’s work shows our children that we don’t chase fame and fortune for ourselves,” said Obama. “We fight to give everyone a chance to succeed.”
Crucial elements of the speech applauded the candidacy of Clinton, who Obama referred to as “our friend.”
“… Hillary understands that the presidency is about one thing and one thing only. It is about leaving something better for our kids,” shared Obama. “That is how we have always moved the country forward— by all of us coming together on behalf of our children. Volunteering to coach the team, teach the Sunday school class, because they know it takes a village,” she added.
The first lady ended on a poignant note and charge for American voters:
“Between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago. We need to knock on every door; we need to get out every vote; we need to pour every last ounce of passion into electing Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America. Let’s get to work …”