Inspired in Charlotte: DNC 2012
I am eagerly anticipating the president’s speech in just a few hours. I know you are as well.
I’ll put it simply — I am inspired by what is happening in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Democratic National Convention has featured home run speaker after home run speaker, proclaiming our American values and our optimism about the future. I’m more confident than ever that not only will President Obama win re-election, but that Democrats will make gains at national, state and local levels.
We have the right policies. As President Clinton laid out last night, Democrats are the party of economic growth and opportunity. Read his speech here.
Here’s part of what he said: “We think the country works better with a strong middle class, with real opportunities for poor folks to work their way into it with a relentless focus on the future, with business and government actually working together to promote growth and broadly share prosperity. … Since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats, 24. In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private sector jobs. So what’s the job score? Republicans, 24 million; Democrats, 42 million.”
President Clinton gave a detailed explanation of why our ideas are better for the vast majority of Americans. Other speakers, including the brave young woman Benita Veliz, an undocumented immigrant and DREAMer, showed who we are.
We are everyone seeking the American Dream, people who want nothing more than to work hard and be treated fairly.
Veliz, by the way, is a Texan.
Another Texan, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, spoke Tuesday night.
He was the first Latino ever to give the convention’s keynote address. To see his message resonate across the country, with his family sitting behind him, was to see history and the future all at once.
I have written before about the New Texas, a state of inclusiveness and opportunity, where a young man from San Antonio, whose mother had to fight for the right to vote freely, can lead his city and represent our hopes and aspirations on the national stage.
Progress comes, sometimes halting, and the fight continues. Voter ID, for example, is a more subtle form of the overt discrimination people like Castro’s mother faced; it was rightly found by a federal court to be unlawful, and with a bedrock belief in the Constitution we know our hard work and determination will overcome prejudice and fear.
Because we have a Constitution, because we have the right to vote, our most powerful tool ultimately is organization and participation.
Think about it. Every vote counts, and we are leaving too many on the table, especially Hispanic votes. The New York Times reported in June that half the eligible Hispanic voters cast ballots in 2008; that compared to 66 percent of eligible whites and 65 percent of eligible African-Americans. In Texas, more than 2 million eligible Hispanics have not registered to vote.
In the near future, let’s double turnout in El Paso County, and set an example for the rest of the state. We’ll be calling on you to help in that effort.
Tonight, I’m looking forward to hearing President Barack Obama, and I know many of you in El Paso — especially the Democrats who will be watching at the McCall Center — are as well.
The president’s speech will cap the convention, but he is only a part of what has been built. We have heard from people on the street, in hotel lobbies and ballrooms, in the Charlotte Convention Center where the caucus meetings take place to the arena where the DNC is happening. We have heard from sidewalk protestors, from big-name speakers, and from people who have no fancy titles but plenty of passion and belief in our values of equality, inclusiveness and personal initiative.
We have heard and spoken about our beliefs. We believe in government that works for the people’s health, safety and welfare, that supports the individual’s drive for economic success. We believe in education and equality. We believe in our roots as a nation of hard-working immigrants. We believe in America as it was, is and will be.
From top to bottom, from presidential to local elections, the difference is clear. Democrats value our differences, and believe everyone deserves a shot at the pursuit of happiness.
We believe in the American Dream.
It’s been a great honor to serve as a delegate at this convention, and I look forward to representing the Texas Democratic Party Hispanic Caucus and El Paso as a new member of the National Democratic Committee.
Onward to November!