The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Home from Denver: Fired up, ready to go

My friend and representative in Montgomery, Priscilla Dunn, wrote this column which appeared in The Western Tribune Wednesday. This is the best account of Denver that I have read. Thanks, Priscilla.

Home from Denver: Fired up, ready to go

“A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.”

When Sen. Hillary Clinton opened her remarks at the Democratic Convention with these words, she was speaking for me and perhaps you, too. I traveled to Denver as one of those honored to serve as a delegate for this great lady. I’m just as honored to return home to Alabama convinced that, for our families and our future, Barack Obama and Joe Biden represent the best hope for a better tomorrow.

For those of you who know little about how political conventions work, it is fair to say there is a big celebration at the central convention hall surrounded by a constellation of constant food, policy discussions, and entertainment in every corner of the host city. Delegates learn and laugh together, and I for one came home fired up and ready to go.

But I must admit, while the cuisine and panel discussions were all great fun, I’m always more impressed by what goes on at the convention itself. One thing is abundantly clear every time I attend these extended “family reunions” — the Democratic Party truly looks and sounds like the America I see each day in Alabama.

I think of the values of our nominee for vice-president, Sen. Joe Biden. Here’s a man who lost his daughter and wife to tragedy days after being elected to office. For decades, he traveled home from Washington, D.C., to Delaware every single night to be with his sons and, later when he remarried, his wife and daughter. In his father’s advice, “Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up.”

I hear the echoes of my own parents telling me that success comes from facing adversity head on.

I think of how Michelle Obama, who spoke with such clarity and conviction, reminds me of the strong, self-assured women I see every day at my church and in my neighborhood. When she said, “I come here as a mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world … their future and all our children’s future is my stake in this election,” my mind turned to my own family, and why I am so committed to staying involved in the political process.

I think of the surprising support that was on display there on stage even from Republicans.
Former GOP congressman Jim Leach described Obama as, “an individual whom I am convinced will recapture the American dream and be a truly great president.” And I will never forget the average citizen and self-described life-long Republican Barney Smith who spoke to the perils of corporate excess that leaves workers behind, saying, “We need a president who puts the Barney Smiths before the Smith Barneys.”

I think about the discussion of issues that impact real people, and proposals to address the challenges head on. One after another, speakers talked about things that matter — fixing an economy that is clearly in a recession, addressing our dependence of foreign oil, providing health care for all Americans, and bringing our brave troops home safely from harm’s way.

I think about the charge our nominee handed us at the end of his remarks, saying, “America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.”

That is his vision for the future, and it is mine as well. No cheap shots and lies. No hokey smoke screens or cynical decision making. No political posturing to divert attention from a bankrupt agenda that looks exactly like the last eight years.

Democrats see work to be done, and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves, accept a call for shared sacrifice, and move this nation forward together.

So, I remain a proud mother, a proud Democrat, a proud American, and a proud supporter of Barack Obama.

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