Progressive Views: Highlights from DNC2020

by Laura Bray
for the “Progressive Views” column, Boerne Star, August 28, 2020

Joe and Jill Biden at the Democratic National Convention
Image by Elvert Barnes is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Last week’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) featured powerful speeches from speakers full of hope and decency and human rights, when all the other side offered this week are lies, grievance, and fear.

At DNC2020, a normally boring and tedious “roll call of states” (roll call starts at 7:45) turned into a surprisingly entertaining travelogue through America and all our diversity. And it was probably the first time in history that Tamil has been spoken at a US political convention when Vice-Presidential nominee Kamala Harris talked about her “chittis” (a term of endearment for one’s aunts).

Some highlights:

John Kasich (Former Republican Governor of Ohio): “Continuing to follow [the current] path [of division, dysfunction, and irresponsibility] will have terrible consequences for America’s soul because we’re being taken down the wrong road by a president who has pitted one against the other. Joe Biden is a man for our times, times that call for all of us to take off our partisan hats and put our nation first for ourselves.”

Michelle Obama (former First Lady): “Whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division, and a total and utter lack of empathy. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us.

“Right now, folks who know they cannot win fair and square at the ballot box are doing everything they can to stop us from voting. They’re closing down polling places in minority neighborhoods. They’re purging voter rolls. They’re sending people out to intimidate voters, and they’re lying about the security of our ballots. We’ve got to show up with the same level of passion and hope for Joe Biden.”

Hillary Clinton (2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee): “This can’t be another ‘woulda-coulda-shoulda’ election.”

Barack Obama (former President of the United States): “What we do in these next 76 days will echo through generations to come.

“[The president has] shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves. Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism. They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter. That’s how they win. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all. We can’t let that happen. Do not let them take away your power.” 

John Kerry (Former Secretary of State): “When this president goes overseas, it’s not a goodwill mission. It’s a blooper reel. America deserves a president who is looked up to, not laughed at.”

Gabby Giffords (former Arizona Congresswoman): “America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words. We are at a crossroads. We can let the shooting continue or we can act. We must elect Joe Biden. He was there for me, he’ll be there for you too. Vote, vote, vote!”

Kamala Harris (2020 Democratic nominee for Vice President): “Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose.”

Joe Biden (2020 Democratic nominee for President): “America is at a time of real peril, but of extraordinary possibilities. We can choose the path of becoming angrier, less hopeful, and more divided. Or we can choose a different path, and together, take this chance to heal, to be reborn, to unite. A path of hope and light.

“Character is on the ballot. Compassion is on the ballot. Decency, science, democracy. They are all on the ballot. Who we are as a nation. What we stand for. And, most importantly, who we want to be. That’s all on the ballot. And the choice could not be clearer.”

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