Any notion that Democrats and women and just about every other marginalized demographic would not enthusiastically rally behind Hillary Clinton as their nominee for President was drowned out by thunderous cheers and chants at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday, as Hillary Clinton, the first woman to be nominated by a major party and very possibly the first woman to attain the presidency, accepted her party’s nomination.
She told the audience that, despite the challenges of a changing world, we must not resort to Donald Trump’s dangerous proposals. Clinton also paid tribute to the Americans who have inspired her lifetime in public service and who continue to sustain her belief that we are stronger together: her mother Dorothy; the survivors and first responders on 9/11 and our men and women in uniform.
“We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world. We have the most tolerant and generous young people we’ve ever had. We have the most powerful military. The most innovative entrepreneurs. The most enduring values. Freedom and equality, justice and opportunity,” Clinton said.
“We should be so proud that these words are associated with us. That when people hear them – they hear… America. So don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak. We’re not. Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes. We do. And most of all, don’t believe anyone who says: ‘I alone can fix it.’ […] Americans don’t say: ‘I alone can fix it.’ We say: ‘We’ll fix it together. […] It is with humility, determination and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for President of the United States!”
In her speech, she brought together the themes of the convention – outlining why she is in fact the most qualified, experienced person to have ever sought the presidency; a lifetime of achieving results; a steadiness and consistency of purpose; the temperament and judgment to lead.
But she also outlined in detail an agenda, with specific details and the way to pay for it (close loopholes on Wall Street, corporations and the wealthiest), because as she said, “it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid, if it’s your family. It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president, too.”
Her biography – recapped during the week by countless speakers who have worked with her, whose lives have been impacted by her – many who have met her and others who never met her, as well her husband, Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea, and a superb video which – also demonstrates a person who can forge coalitions, partnerships, alliances, who can find common ground.
Her speech itemized proposals that the Progressives have been demanding and are now incorporated into the Democratic Party’s platform, the most progressive ever: raising the minimum wage; affordable child care; universal pre-K; parental leave; debt-free college; the largest investment in infrastructure and jobs creation since World War II; climate action that includes moving to clean, renewable energy; criminal justice reform; tax reform that addresses income inequality; gun violence prevention; overturn Citizens United, protect women’s reproductive freedom; universal health care; comprehensive immigration reform; a detailed plan of action to defeat ISIS – it should have been Bernie Sanders’ wet dream.
And despite the extraordinary consideration and respect paid to Sanders, still there were protests from probably 100 out of the tens of thousands that crammed every inch of space in the hall. They were drowned out by chants of “Hillary, Hillary”. Hillary Clinton, showing that fearless persistence in face of a lifetime of dealing with bullies, forged on to deliver her message.
“It’s not gender, but a-genda,” a speaker at the Women’s Caucus earlier in the day proclaimed, giving a further nod to the milestone of a Woman president who “gets it” – gets that “women’s issues” are family issues and family issues are all the complex policies that impact the economy, national security, justice and fairness, and political power. Clearly Hillary “gets it” because of her perspective as a woman having spent a career fighting for women’s rights from a time when women had none, and fighting to preserve rights against those who would go back. But she also “gets it” because of her unique combination of skills, sensibility and experience.
In her address, Clinton outlined a positive vision to move forward and make an America which was founded on democratic values revolutionary for the time, more fully realize the aspirations and ideals and promise, in effect, to make a “more perfect union.”
“The choice is clear, my friends. Every generation of Americans has come together to make our country freer, fairer, and stronger. None of us ever have or can do it alone. I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we’ll ever pull together. But I’m here to tell you tonight – progress is possible….
“Yes, the world is watching what we do. Yes, America’s destiny is ours to choose. So let’s be stronger together, my fellow Americans. Let’s look to the future with courage and confidence. Let’s build a better tomorrow for our beloved children and our beloved country. And when we do, America will be greater than ever.