Will the 2012 (or if things go badly, 2008) Democratic Nominee for President of the United States please step forward.
Not so fast Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.
The future of the party unveiled himself tonight, and his name is Barack Obama. This was the speech of the convention so far. He spoke with the passion and fire of Malcolm X and the gentleness of Ronald Reagan. He has been relatively unknown but for a sex scandal which undid his opponent for the Illinois Senate seat. He will be the next Senator for that state, and very possibly the only black member of the Senate next term.
But mark my words: Barack Obama will be the first black President of the United States.
This was the first speaker to reach across party lines... He reached past democrats and liberals and spoke to the divide of America. He spoke to the gap that has threatened to swallow this country in the past 4 years.
Mo Rocca, a CNN commentator, when asked "What do you know about this man?" by Larry King simply replied "Nothing."
This won't be the case after tonight's speech.
His best moments:
People will tell you, they don't want their tax money wasted by welfare or by the Pentagon. Go into any inner city neighborhood and folks will tell you that government can't teach our kids to learn. They know that parents have to teach and children won't learn unless we raise the expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white... they know these things.and
...I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives who won't be returning to their own hometowns. I thought of the families I'd met who were struggling to get by without a loved one, or who's loved one had returned with a limb missing, or nerves shattered, but still lacked long term health benefits because they were reservists. When we send our young men and women into harms way we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth of why they're going, to care for their families while they are gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace and earn the respect of the world.and his best moment
For along side our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga: A belief that we are all connected as one people. If there is a child on the Southside of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it is not my child. If there is a senior citizen who can't pay for their prescription drugs, and are having to choose between their medicine and their rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it is not my grandparent. If there is an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It is that fundamental belief: I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper, that makes this country work. It is what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, and yet still come together as one American family. E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one. Now, even as we speak there are those who are preparing to divide us. The spin masters, the negative ad peddlers, who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, "There is not a liberal American and a conservative America. There is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America, a Latino America, an Asian America. There is the United States of America". The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states. Red states for Republicans. Blue states for Democrats. But I've got news for them too: We worship an awesome god in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the red states. We coach little league in the blue states, and, yes, we have some gay friends in the red states. There are patriots who oppose the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the Stars and Stripes. All of us defending The United States of America.
As for the other speakers. Howard Dean got a well-deserved round of applause for what he did for the party, and then gave a thoroughly mediocre speech. Ron Reagan gave a very nice, succinct argument for the wonders of Stem-cell research that will hopefully put to rest the silly moral issues. And Teresa Heinz-Kerry was quite lovely. I wrote in a post earlier today the line that she said about women not being called opinionated but being called well-informed and vital. Maybe I'd heard it before, but that was her high point for me.
But the ramp-up for Thursday has begun. If Kerry can live up to it will be the question.