by John Adams
Dateline Denver...on Tuesday evening the Party launched a blistering attack on John McCain...if Monday was about who we are as Democrats, Tuesday was about taking the offensive -- together -- to defeat John McCain and the Republicans this Fall.
As an Arizona Delegate, I couldn't have been more proud of our Governor who delivered one of the sharpest, most direct attacks of the evening against John McCain. Granted, we in Arizona have the misfortune of hosting his "home state offices" (though of course, he's as absent from business on the part of his constituency as he is from the Senate floor). But as Janet Napolitano said last night, we're not sure what home he'll return to in Arizona, but we know we can't let McCain take up residence at the White House.
Her speech, followed by several other eloquent, rousing attacks against John McCain, culminated in a magnificent call to action by Hillary Clinton...I heard many remark after the speech that if she had spoken that powerfully during the primaries, the results might have been different. But no question about it, her speech and her inspiration pulled in the entire Convention Hall last night, leaving no-one in any doubt about the imperative to drive the Republicans out of the White House, send John McCain out to pasture, and elect Barack Obama as our Commander-in-Chief.
Being a gathering of elected officials, party activists, politico's, and just-plain-interested from across the country and around the world, you can imagine the number of off-site gatherings in Denver. Of particular interest to me as a Veteran are the number of national security events in and around the Convention. Yesterday was a treasure...the opportunity to participate in a small group discussion with Barack Obama's chief foreign policy advisor, Dr. Susan Rice, on the issue of the Georgia-Russia conflict; to attend a seminar discussion with former Secretary of Defense William Perry, former Secretary of the Navy (and national security advisor to Barack Obama) Richard Danzig, and to participate in the formal Veterans and Military Family Members Caucus at the Convention. I can tell you that two themes dominated all our discussions: 1) our need to elect Barack Obama as our President, a Commander-in-Chief who understands the 21st Century challenges facing our country, and 2) our need to prevent John McCain, a man whose only consistencies are his reckless and dangerous policies, from entering the White House.
A couple of impressions from participants and observers of the Convention:
- Omar Adams, Delegate from Minnesota: "Just being here is a family event...it helps that my mother is here as a Delegate too. But after last night's speech by Michelle, and the gathering of the Kennedy, Clinton, and Obama families, we're all feeling a sense of family unity as we get ready for the next two months."
- A friend of more than 30 years who currently works in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon: "Great to see the Party go on the attack on Day 2. We've got to keep Mad John from getting to the White House. As bad as the current policies are for the United States, he'll make our situation much worse. After the blow-up in Georgia, we in the Pentagon are dealing with the aftermath of his bellicose and useless rhetoric about Russia, when we need to focus on how best to deal with a serious challenge. But that's McCain shooting from the hip as usual."
- Yane Kone, immigrant from Mali, met outside the Pepsi Center: "I'm excited about Barack Obama. My family and I came from Mali six years ago, I've got a job, and we're just getting by in Denver. We know Barack Obama would be good for this country and good for the world. But I'm concerned that there may be some people who say they'll vote for Barack Obama but will not do so in the end. I want to believe that America can elect an African-American, but I hope I won't be disappointed."
Kone reminded me that what we're doing here, celebratory though it is, has absolutely serious global impact. We are here in Denver as part of a larger struggle for those who are doing their best just to make it day-to-day, perhaps not even able to participate in our political process, but who place their faith in us, the voting citizens of the United States, to actually follow through on our pledge to seize change.
For my part, I assured Mr. Kone that the energy and enthusiasm I and so many other Americans is real -- that Barack Obama is the best leader we have seen in decades and we really mean it when we say we want change. But I also know, especially after the adversity that Mr. Kone has encountered in his own journey, that he's still wary.
We must not disappoint Yane Kone, nor ourselves. As Hillary Clinton so eloquently charged us last night, it's up to us to follow-through, to work to elect Barack Obama as our next President.
The world is counting on us to do our duty.