A successful democratic convention

By Christine Angstman

DENVER8212;History was made Thursday night as the curtains closed on the Democratic National Convention. In front of 84,000 people Barack Obama became the first African-American to receive a major party’s nomination for president of the United States.

This week’s grandiose Democratic gathering in Denver, whether intentional or not, falls on a week full of historical events. Forty&-five years ago on Aug. 28, 1963, 100,000 people listened as Martin Luther King Jr. demanded that blacks have full and equal rights as citizens in his monumental “I Have a Dream” speech.

This week also marked the 88th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. And finally, it was during this week in 1968 that riots broke out at the Democratic Convention in Chicago when the party was bitterly divided over the Vietnam War.

While there were no riots at this convention, the good, the bad and the ugly was all on display this week as supporters and protesters gathered and watched as the emotional primary battle between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Obama came to an end.

Much of the time at the convention was spent mending the party from a split between two very qualified candidates. However, both Hillary and Bill Clinton declared unequivocally that they want Obama to win the presidency despite their personal differences.

On prime time television Sen. Clinton said, “Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.”

The theme of Wednesday night was national security. The Pepsi Center was a roller coaster of emotion. Mothers cried as they thought of their children lost in Iraq, while others chanted the evils of war.

Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, used his middle-class background and tragic past to appeal to the common man and connect with the gathered masses. He spoke of riding the Amtrak to Washington D.C. from Delaware every day to get to work and talked about the wife and child he lost early in his political career in a tragic car accident.

Outside the convention protesters rallied in the streets chanting, “make art, not war.” Their faces were covered with black bandanas. Police silently encompassed them as a powerful reminder that their actions would not go without consequence as hundreds of bystanders observed the demonstration.

The front of the Pepsi Center was overcrowded with people all with different purposes. There were those disputing abortion, of course there were those against McCain, and even some who were adorned in giant pig outfits handing out flyers which said “tax meat, not gas.” Meanwhile, vendors sold Obama buttons, T-shirts and posters, as well as more unique items like Obama underwear and bobbleheads.

Denver’s downtown after hours were for partying. At the culmination of the speakers each night, convention-goers filed out of the Pepsi Center and headed for private parties where lobbyists went all out to impress the who’s who of Democrats, from celebrities to politicians.

At the Biden after-party, guests enjoyed fine cheese trays and chocolate fondue. Patriotic cocktails were handed out in gross, and red, white and blue labels ornamented bottles of fine liquor, while freshly brewed Starbucks coffee was available for those needing their late-night second wind.

Thursday, at the final stage of the Democrat’s convention, mile-long lines formed outside of Mile High stadium to hear Obama give his historical acceptance speech. Those in line waited for more than three hours in a seemingly endless string of people. Cops provided lukewarm water while people entertained themselves by making friends and of course forming the occasional wave, which rolled through the line like it does in a crowded football stadium.

The event seemed to be part coronation and part Woodstock. There is no doubt that Obama is gifted with the ability to inspire through policy that will provide America change. The Democrats left Denver united and energized.

The GOP has a tough act to follow.

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Editor’s Note8212;Christina Angstman attended from the Democratic National Convention in Denver through the Hinckley Institute of Politics and Shantou University Political Journalism Program.

Christine Angstman