The Republican Convention is now over. Those who decided to tune in witnessed unrepentant polarization, white resentment and a fatalistic vision of the country. The Republican nominee Donald Trump put the world on notice with his acceptance speech and made it clear to everyone watching that his anti-intellectualism, nativism and need to dominate are the bedrock of his candidacy.
Trump and other Republicans speakers spoke gleefully about their support for systematic terror on black and brown people under the guise of ‘Law and Order.’ In their eyes, illegal immigrants, black and brown Americans and the alpha male of birther illegitimacy, Barack Obama, all threaten white prosperity and must be criminalized and prosecuted. Speakers inferred that Hillary Clinton is an unconvicted murderer and criminal who needs to be locked up and even shot.
Now the political headwinds shifts to the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Philadelphia, Pa from today through to July 28th. In contrast to the Republican convention, we will see a diversity that truly represents America, with Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim and Native Americans speaking on behalf of the party. We will see Americans wearing Dashiki’s, Hijab’s, Cheogsam’s, Burqa’s, Sari’s and Choli tops. Our LGBTQ community will exhibit their pride, and prominent Democrats will speak supportively of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Of course, this gathering has an undeniable purpose — to coalesce around its Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and present a different vision for America. It is a task filled with interesting sub-plots — how passionate will Bernie’s speech of unity be given the fact that his supporters continue to speak out against Clinton? When President Obama and former president Bill Clinton speak, how much time will they focus on their own record versus highlighting the qualities they see in Hillary Clinton to lead the nation? How much focus will they put on Donald Trump? Will the presenters be able to strike the needed balance of condemning his diabolical vision while simultaneously presenting their case for inclusion, equality and fairness?
Americans who consider themselves as more progressive and leftist will probably remain unconvinced and unexcited about the Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine ticket based on legitimate concerns about some of their past policies and the negative effects they have had on people of color, the poor and middle income white Americans. Will the convention speakers acknowledge this? Will they attempt to reach out to the left with new ideas and policy proposals?
The four day political extravaganza will culminate with Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech. We know that this speech will not satisfy everybody, but that should not be her focus. She must present herself in stark contrast to Donald Trump and outline the direction she would like to take the country in.
In doing so, she has an opportunity to define herself, her motivations and goals for the Republic. But she must approach the speech with sincerity, authenticity and consistency in order to bring the party together. Clinton proudly calls herself a pragmatic progressive, so she should help the left understand what that would really mean under her leadership. She must speak candidly about race, white privilege and its corrosive effects on the advancement of the nation, and she must outline a path of governance that incorporates empathy, accountability and reform in what many regard to be a deeply unfair system.
Hillary Clinton and the other keynote speakers at The Democratic Convention should have people from all walks of life feeling good about being an American citizen as opposed to being demonized or made to feel excluded.
In other words, the Democratic Convention will look and feel like the real America, and not the nightmare presented by Donald Trump last week.
Writer, trained Social Worker and Mental Health Therapist. Husband, father and anti-racist at my core.