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Democratic conventioneers aiming to inspire voters to the polls

17th September 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Hazel Trice Edney
Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Trice­— Now that Pre­sident Barack Obama and other Democratic National Convention speakers have made their cases for why they insist Americans must move “Forward” in its re-election of him as president, the challenge of activists across the nation will be to take the momentum to the polls November 6.

Optimism among Democrats continues to permeate the nation after an exuberant convention, packed to the rafters with more than 30,000 people and millions more watching by television and the Internet. From chants of “Four more years!” to “Fired up, ready to go!” which is reminiscent of the NAACP war cry, delegates left Charlotte donning Obama T-shirts and carrying placards under their arms. Back to the communities they go with high hopes of recreated the same since of activism and responsibility.

“When all is said and done—when you pick up that ballot to vote—you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington on jobs, the economy, taxes and deficits, energy, education, war and peace—decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and on our children’s lives for decades to come,” President Obama said in a speech that was less soaring and much more grounded that the one given on Mile High Mountain in Denver four years ago. “And on every issue, the choice you face won’t just be between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America, a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.”

The Obama speech was the crescendo of a week of anticipation for what he and other key speakers would say about his first presidential term that brought as many successes as it did unfinished business. On the one hand, speakers boasted that “General Motors is alive and Osama Bin Laden is dead.” They also illuminated the fact that Pell educational grants have doubled and that America now has a national health care plan. But, on the key issue of what some have called “jobs, jobs, jobs” even the President himself admitted he had oversold his ability to turn the economy completely around in just four years.

“Now, I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth,” the President said to applause. “And the truth is it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort and shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one,” he said of what is known as the “Great Depression” of the 1930s. “But know this, America—our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future.”

It was no doubt that by the end of the President’s speech – coupled with the words of keynoters First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday and President Bill Clinton on Wednesday — the electorate had grown to a new level of enthusiasm by the end of the convention. Spontaneous outbursts of “Fired up! Ready to go!” could be heard even as people departed the arena and headed back to their hotels to pack.

“The most important question is, what kind of country do you want to live in? If you want a ‘you’re-on-your-own, winner-take-all society,’ you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility — a we’re-all-in-this-together society — you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden,” said former President Bill Clinton in a stirring address in which he clearly compared the leadership style of President Obama to that of his opponent Mitt Romney.

Clinton continued, “In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President’s re-election was pretty simple: We left him a total mess, he hasn’t finished cleaning it up yet, so fire him and put us back in…I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.”

Mrs. Obama, who introduced the President as “the love of my life” on Thursday had also wowed the crowd on Tuesday. Telling the crowd “We must work like never before!” she established a sense of urgency and euphoria in a tone that communicated love for her husband and belief in the change that is still possible under his leadership.

Four years ago, the President spoke highly of hope and change for an America that was mired in economic woes. Though Republi­cans spent their weeklong convention in Tampa making light of these themes, that hope remained very much alive at the Democratic Convention.

“Hope on!” Shouted an excited Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaking to an excited crowd on Wednesday evening. “We are driven by hope,” said Cleaver, who is also a preacher.

He continued, “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…Yes, President Obama! Continue to have hope. Continue to speak of hope to the American people, because it is impossible for hope to overdraw its account in God’s bank. The tough days our nation faced may have caused us great pain, but they must not and will not cause us to lose our hope.

“Hope fills the holes of my frustration in my heart. Hope inspires me to believe that any day now, we will catch up to the ideals put forth by our nation’s founding fathers. 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. It is our hope and faith that reminds us to pray and also affirms that we must move our feet. It is our hope that tells us our latter days will be greater than the former. It is our hope that instructs us to march on!”

This article was originally published in the September 17, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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