Editor’s Notebook: Live from Charlotte DNC: Black Caucus Declares Unquestioned Support for Obama; Brings Excitement to Floor of Democratic Convention
Editor, The Final Call
(CHARLOTTE, NC - September 6, 2012) - The crowd inside ... they roared and applauded as Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II put his preacher’s skills to work and turned the Democratic Convention session into a place to shout and bear witness. It wasn’t passion devoted to Jesus, but fiery declarations of support for President Obama, the blessing of a diverse America and a vow to endure any hardship and GOP ridicule to keep the current Commander-in-Chief in office.
Preceded by Rep. Karen Bass of California and Rep. Al Green of Texas, it was the Missouri lawmaker who drove the message and the enthusiasm deeply into the audience: “President Barack Obama has been lampooned for speaking of hope, hope for a better America. I want to encourage him and all of us to continue to hope for an America that remembers, recognizes, and fervently protects its greatness,” said the lawmaker, who is also a Methodist preacher.
“Hope is the motivation that empowers the unemployed, enabling them to get out of bed every single morning with unbounded enthusiasm as they look for work. It is our hope and faith that move us to action,” he said. “It is our hope that instructs us to march on!”
While the Republicans may deride the Democrats as the party with a caucus for everyone, including those who have no caucus, it is diversity that makes the party and country strong, Rep. Cleaver argued.
“God did not burden the United States with a diversity of backgrounds, ideas and religions, he blessed America with them,” continued Rep. Cleaver.
There is too much division in Congress, which is hurting the country, and leaving work needed for ordinary Americans undone, he said.
“This must change, because just as bees cannot sting and make honey at the same time, members of Congress cannot simultaneously make passionate enemies and expect political progress,” said the veteran lawmaker.
Democrats have fought for fairness and progress of everyone, whether Medicaid, Medicare, fair wages, or the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy that allowed gays to serve in the military, he said.
Protecting those gains against Republican determination to go backward and faith in the future requires “marching through our communities to make sure everyone is registered and ready to vote,” he said.
“And we, with our diversity and our differences, are all in this together,” he declared as the crowd roared. The cheering grew louder as he proclaimed the “we” was bigger than Blacks, bigger than Democrats and included “all Americans” who are suffering.
“America, it is up to us, right now, to make the decision on the type of country we will have. Either we move forward towards securing an economic future built to last with a strong middle class at its core, or we revert to a place where America’s promise is only fulfilled for a select few,” added Rep. Green.
“People of all races, religions, and backgrounds joined together and fought for (Voting Rights) because every one of us deserves a fair shake and a fair chance at achieving our version of the American dream, the right to vote gives us the power to take our future into our own hands,” Rep. Bass reminded the audience.
“We must use that power today, so that we do not lose it tomorrow,” she said.
“More than 41 years ago, when the Congressional Black Caucus was founded, that was our charge, and it still is—a vote and a voice in choosing our leaders, passing our laws and setting the course for our nation. And for the future we seek, a future of greater opportunity for all of us, we stand with President Obama in setting that path forward,” Rep. Bass said.