Live from Charlotte: Dispatches from the Democratic National Convention
Lawrence resident Rex Gardner is representing the Kansas 2nd District as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. He's volunteered to share his experiences and observations. Last week, Douglas County Republican Party chairman Richard Todd blogged from the RNC.
Well, the first full night of the Democratic national convention is history. My son, Kyle, and I have been asked to share some of our thoughts and experiences with the readers of the Lawrence Journal-World. We are both honored and hope to give at least a flavor of the experiences we are lucky enough to share with thousands of others.
Some of the delegates from Kansas went to the NASCAR race track and enjoyed riding in an actual race car around the track. Some delegates took the bus to Uptown Charlotte. Apparently, in Charlotte, downtown is the highest area and thus, is known as Uptown. Regardless of the slight confusion, everyone made it to where they needed or wanted to be for the day.
Caucuses included small business issues, LGBT issues, women's issues and others. The group I was traveling with was lucky enough to get in on the Women's Caucus shortly before HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke. A number of issues important to women were highlighted. The one issue which appeared to be the most important was health care and the unequivocal demand that legislators stay out of their personal choices.
The convention speakers also spoke on a large range of issues including, our environment, healthcare, our economy and freedom. To say that First Lady Michelle Obama hit a home run, which was said multiple times during the ride back to our hotel, would actually be a bit of an understatement. She hit a grand slam! I'm interested to know if those times in which she was visibly moved came across as well in homes as it it did in the hall.
While walking around Charlotte, I saw a number of t-shirts and buttons that reminded me of different aspects of the campaign that people have been working on back home. Many of those aspects were talked about in speeches tonight. My favorite theme in this campaign is FORWARD.
During Michelle Obama's speech, I had the opportunity to recall another theme, "Mr. President, we've got your back!" The trigger for this was seeing my youngest son's back juxtaposed between the First Lady and me. The pride welled up inside of me as did as the renewed belief that my support of President Obama allowed me to have my son's back as he and his generation move forward.