CONTINUING TO DEFINE WHAT IS A 2004 DEMOCRAT
Party elders and unsuccessful presidential contenders
are featured on the Convention's second day
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
by Richard E. Berg-Andersson
The second day of the 44th Democratic National Convention was scheduled to be gaveled into session on Tuesday 27 July 2004 at 4 PM EDT (2000 UTC) and, once again, it actually started on time, called to order by Permanent Chairman Bill Richardson who started things off by reminding delegates that petitions for nominations for President had to be filed by 6 PM (2200 UTC) that day and petitions for nominations for Vice President had to be filed no later than 9 AM (1300 UTC) on Thursday the 29th. Of course, this announcement was merely a formality, for there would- of course- be no serious challenge to the eventual formal nomination of Senators Kerry and Edwards as the Democratic standard bearers at this Convention.
The Invocation was delivered by the Rev. Ernest Branch of the Sermon on the Mount Baptist Church of the Roxbury section of Boston. It was a highly partisan appeal to the Almighty, one in which Rev. Branch asked that God bless and anoint [Senator Kerry] in a special way... that America will be peace-makers, not peace-breakers. After this Invocation, the Presentation of the Colors was made by the Fire Department Honor Guard of Portsmouth, N.H., accompanied by the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire Fife & Drum Corps playing (I'm a )Yankee Doodle Dandy and (You're a) Grand Old Flag. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by a Vietnam veteran named Steve Daniels and the National Anthem was sung by Boston firefighter Jim Garrity.
Next, yet another parliamentary procedure of the typical National Convention, fairly steeped in the long history of political Conventions, had to be dispensed with. Most of the previous day's session was intended principally as an exposition of the 2004 Democratic Party Platform but this Platform had yet to be formally adopted. Thus, Chairman Richardson called Platform Committee co-chair, Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, to move the Convention to adopt the report of the Platform Committee, which was done- as was the case previously with the reports of the Credentials and Rules Committees- viva voce.
Once this was dispensed with, Richardson introduced Congressman Bob Matsui of California, the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who started out by noting that he had wanted to be an architect in his youth and that, though his life took a much different turn, nevertheless he was someone who was still working to build something... a new Democratic majority, one that makes the House of Representatives, once again, the People's house. Just think about this, Matsui declaimed: President Kerry, Vice President Edwards, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Daschle... What do we need to do to make this new majority? Well, just 2 seats in the United States Senate, just 11 of 435 seats in the House of Representatives and one new President of the United States.
Matsui's appearance led to a brief procession of Democratic Party Congressional hopefuls: Lois Murphy and Allyson Schwartz, both running for the House in Pennsylvania, Jim Stork of Florida and Minnesota's Patty Wetterling. These candidates were followed by the interim President of the National Abortion Rights Action League, Betsy Cavendish, who opined that this election will define the choices for the next generation of American women. Echoing Planned Parenthood's Gloria Feldt from the evening before, Cavendish warned that her admonition really is that simple, it really is that stark, it really is that important.
Next came a short film about the host city of Boston and its immediate environs as a metropolis of innovations, questions and dreams. It could merely have been a film produced by the local Chamber of Commerce-- that is, until Boston Mayor Thomas Menino appeared near the end of the short and suggested that Boston was a wonderful city, always dreaming, always asking questions: what if--? what about--? how come? just like Democrats. This film was followed by a speech by Congressman John Tanner of Tennessee in which he expressed his concern about the overwhelming Federal debt, seeing its worsening as one of the potential consequences of one-Party control. Foreign countries are purchasing our debt in record amounts, Tanner warned. No nation in recorded history has ever been strong, free and bankrupt.
Tanner was followed by Congresswoman Linda Sanchez of California, one of the first sisters ever to serve in Congress together, declaring that today, America deserves a President who understands the value of a fair day's pay for a fair day's work... who is committed to affordable health care and affordable prescription drugs: that President, my friends, is John Kerry and we will elect him in November. She was followed by Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who discussed issues of health care and education for women. Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado followed, talking about the possibilities of medical advances via stem cell research- research that the Bush Administration has restricted; DeGette argued that a President Kerry would put scientific discovery ahead of political calculation. The final speaker of the segment was Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon who told the Convention that he was one of the earliest endorsers of John Kerry (back when the Massachusetts Senator's candidacy was floundering late in 2003) because of their mutual commitment to the environment. Blumenauer described Kerry as someone who follows through and, echoing Ms. DeGette, a person who would enforce our environmental laws- using science to shape policy, not policy to shape science.
After the second hour of the second day began with a 15-minute recess, New Jersey Senator Jon Corzine, Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, took to the podium and asked the delegates Are you ready? Are you ready for the countdown to victory?: it's as simple as 3, 2, 1-- 3 Electoral Votes, 2 Senate seats and 1 Supreme Court Justice... 3, 2, 1-- they aren't huge numbers but they will make a huge difference. He was followed by State Treasurer Nancy Farmer of Missouri, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, who said I know the needs and wants and dreams of working American families because I come from one. I also know that, right now, those dreams aren't just being denied, they're being trampled... the middle class and working class in this country are being squeezed. After a video tribute to leading Democrats- former Senators, Governors, Congressmen and Cabinet officers- who had passed away since the Party's previous Convention four years earlier in Los Angeles, Senator Thomas Carper of Delaware spoke on his concern about finding alternate energy sources and conservation, saying that Senator Kerry would make America strong by eliminating our addiction to foreign oil. Carper noted that, as he pays more and more for gasoline, he is troubled by the thought that some of what he is paying for gasoline goes to people who wish to do America and its people harm: namely, terrorists. I wish I could tell you that, under [President Bush's] leadership, America is moving boldly toward energy independence. The sad truth is: we're moving, all right-- we're moving backwards.
Senator Carper was followed by Congressman Adam Smith of Washington. Responsible leadership isn't a banner that says 'Mission Accomplished', Smith opined. It's the hard work of diplomacy that builds a coalition and knows that working with other countries isn't weakness, it's strength. He, in turn, was followed by Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Illinois. John Kerry and John Edwards value and are committed to our Democracy, Jackson declared. Our platform recognizes that voting is the foundation of our Democracy. Voting rights are protective of all other rights... No more Floridas! Never again! Jackson urged that the Kerry/Edwards ticket was the team to defeat the right wing, they are the right team for new rights so we may fulfill our Nation's single proposition- that all men and all women are created equal.
Next came Deb Callahan, the president of the League of Conservation Voters, who argued that John Kerry will be the strongest environmental President in a century. She was followed at the dais by David Passafaro, president of the Boston 2004 Host Committee who welcomed the delegates to our city on a hill and thank you for your support and friendship. Next came Doug Palmer, Mayor of Trenton, N.J. and president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors. In our cities, suburbs and small towns, we're doing our part to build a stronger America, Palmer noted. But a stronger America needs strong leaders, starting with the swift boat commander, John Kerry, and the mill worker's son, John Edwards.
Teamsters President James P. Hoffa was the next speaker: after noting that, as a young warehouse worker, John Kerry was a member of the Teamsters, Hoffa proclaimed I know he is one of us. Hoffa argued that Kerry would be a President who knows health care is a right, not a privilege. Hoffa concluded with an affirmation that John Kerry will leave no worker behind. Hoffa was followed by West Virginia Secretary of State Joe Manchin, a candidate for Governor of his State, who declared that, with Senator Kerry as President, America will be sending our products overseas, not our jobs. Manchin was followed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, daughter of a former Democratic Governor of Ohio and daughter-in-law of a one-time Republican Kansas Congressman, who recounted John Kerry's life as one of answering the call of military service, followed by the call of public service (thus firmly invoking the intended theme for today's Convention session: A Lifetime of Strength and Service).
The first speaker of the third hour of the Convention's second day was AIDS educator, a former member of the President's Advisory Council on AIDS during the Clinton Administration, Denise Stokes of Atlanta who argued that those with HIV/AIDS need real help, we need it now. We need John Kerry as the next President of the United States of America. Ms. Stokes was followed by Donald Plusquellic, Mayor of Akron, Ohio and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who decried lower wage jobs with no health benefits as weakening the overall economic health of our Nation... Our people are suffering and our cities are feeling their loss... We must invest in cities and metro economies. Plusquellic also expressed concern about the crumbling urban infrastructure, noting that our kids are being driven in school buses over bridges that are in danger of collapsing. Plusquellic was followed by Governor John Baldacci of Maine who spoke of the problems of the States in much the same way Plusquellic had discussed the problems of metropolitan areas.
Next, Convention Chairman Richardson introduced his own Lieutenant Governor (of New Mexico, of course), Diane Denish, who offered that we can trust John Kerry with our children's future. Another New Mexican- Jeff Bingaman immediately followed. After Bingaman finished, Richardson turned the gavel over to one of the Convention vice-chairs, former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen. Shaheen introduced actor Ossie Davis who, after noting that he had introduced the same musical aggregation at the March on Washington for Civil Rights nearly 41 years earlier, called the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary out onto the stage; the trio thereafter serenaded the Convention with Blowin' in the Wind and If I Had a Hammer.
Next on the schedule was National Education Association President Reg Weaver who referred to pubic school teachers as ordinary people who do extraordinary things and extolled every American child's right to attend a great neighborhood public school- a school with qualified teachers, small class sizes, parental and community involvement and adequate and equitable funding and declared that John Kerry would reject vouchers, raise teachers' salaries and assure affordable health care for all Americans. Scoring the Bush Administration's 'No Child Left Behind' initiative- a cornerstone of the President's 2000 campaign for the White House- Weaver described it as too much paperwork, bureaucracy and testing. Our schools are becoming testing factories, not centers of learning and progress.
Congressman John Dingell of Michigan followed, arguing that we need to fix the problems in our health care system and we can start by making health care accessible to all Americans. He was followed by Kwame Kilpatrick, Mayor of Detroit, who stated that the time has come for Democrats to dare mighty things for all Americans. Democrats cannot simply stand on the mountaintop of this country and say what we're against: we must give a clear, direct, articulate message to the people of the United States on what we're for.
The fourth hour of this session of the Convention began with a so-called Youth Segment, introduced by the teenage winners of an essay contest called 'Gavel in the Future'- Kristin Turner of Boston and Steven Ruperto of Pennsylvania. As such, they were permitted to wield the gavel and introduce Nubia Smith Whitaker of Framingham, Massachusetts from the Boston chapter of 'Kids for Kerry' who offered an "A-B-C" of what Senator Kerry's campaign would stand for: 'A' is for a strong America... 'B': better education... 'C': compassion for all children... it's as simple as your 'A-B-Cs'. She was followed by actor Benjamin McKenzie of the television show the O C, who decried a Bush Administration in which our government calls clear-cutting forests and poisoned air 'clear skies'. This Youth Segment of the Convention ended with a performance by the City Youth Dance Ensemble, part of the FleetBoston Celebrity Series.
After this, Ossie Davis returned to the stage, this time accompanied by his actress wife, Ruby Dee. Their call-and-response recitation of many of the indignities suffered by African-Americans in the Jim Crow South half a century ago led into a video tribute to Fannie Lou Hamer, the spokesperson for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which unsuccessfully challenged the seating of the all-white Mississippi delegation at the 1964 Democratic Party Convention. Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson then introduced the poet Dr. Maya Angelou who took the stage accompanied by the surviving members of the MFDP. After Dr. Angelou spoke, the Freedom Singers led the assembled in singing This Little Light Of Mine.
Congressman Mike Honda of California next took to the podium, reminding the Convention of his own history as a child in a World War II internment camp for Japanese-Americans. They took our homes, Honda recalled, they took our belongings, they tore apart our families- all because of racial prejudice and, back then, no one in a position of leadership had the courage or the strength of character to stand up and condemn the bigotry and hatred leveled against my family- no one. Honda declared that John Kerry understands the value of international cooperation; he understands that diversity and inclusion we preach here at home must be practiced in our policies abroad.
He was followed by the Rev. Dr. James Forbes of Riverside Church in New York City who discussed what he called the Progressive Faith Agenda. Faith and Truth can be found on all sides of the political spectrum, Rev. Dr. Forbes argued. Faith can guide us again to a stronger and more just America... We need a healing of our divisions. We must unite to save our Nation. Our beloved country- our beloved America- has not been herself lately.
At 8 PM EDT (0000 UTC), just as had been the case the evening before, the cable TV news networks were in a position to begin their coverage of the Convention. So, just as had happened 24 hours before, the chair (in this case, Convention vice-chair Jeanne Shaheen) again called the Convention to order- even though the Convention, in session for the better part of the previous four hours, had not- in fact- ever recessed. As had been the case the evening before, there were again live video feeds from places where ordinary Democrats were gathered- this time, a farm in Des Moines, Iowa, a church in Chicago, and the San Xavier Indian Reservation in Arizona. From the latter, Michael Enis and Alicia Chiles sang the National Anthem in the language of the Tohono O'odhan Nation.
Pulitzer Prize winning biographer Robert Caro now took the stage to introduce the first of this night's Prime Time speakers- Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. It was interesting to reflect on former President Bill Clinton's speech before the Convention the night before and realize that, before Clinton came along, it was Ted Kennedy who was the charismatic, fiery Democratic Party star. Not nearly as much a Party star as he once was, nevertheless a politician whose ability to whip up a Democratic audience still had to be reckoned with, Kennedy took to the podium: I've waited a very very long time to say this- welcome to my hometown!... Welcome home for the ideals born in Boston.... ideals like Freedom and Equality, and Opportunity and Fairness and Common Decency for all. Ideals that all Americans yearn to reclaim. And make no mistake, come November, reclaim them we shall by making John Kerry President of the United States...
It was no accident that Massachusetts was founded as a Commonwealth- a place where authority belonged not to a single ruler but to the People themselves, joined together for the common good. The old system was based on inequality: Loyalty was demanded, never earned. Leaders ruled by fear, by force, by special favors for the few... Your voices were not heard, your concerns did not matter, your votes did not count. The colonists knew they could do better, just as we know we can do better today, but only if we all work together... only if we all come together for the common good... Now it is for us, the patriots of this new Century, to do better... to choose a leader worthy of our country and that leader is John Kerry...
The ideals of our founders still resonate across the globe. Young people in other lands, inspired by the Liberty we cherish, linked arms and sang 'We Shall Overcome' when the Berlin Wall fell, when Apartheid ended in South Africa and when the courageous protests took place in Tiananmen Square. Goals of the American People are every bit as high as they were more than 200 years ago. If America is failing to reach them today, it's not because our ideals need replacing- it's because our President needs replacing... Never before have I seen a contrast so sharp or consequences so profound as in the choice we will make for President in 2004... If each of us cared about the public interest, we wouldn't have had the excesses of Enron, we wouldn't have had the abuses of Halliburton and Vice President Cheney would be retired to an undisclosed location.
America is a compact, a bargain, a contract. It says that all of us are connected: our fates are intertwined. 50 States, one Nation. Our Constitution binds us together. Yet, in our own time, there are those who seek to divide us: one community against another. Urban against Rural, City against Suburb, Whites against Blacks, Men against Women, Straights against Gays, Americans against Americans. In these challenging times for our country, in these fateful times for the world, America needs a genuine uniter- not a divider who only claims to be a uniter. We have seen how they rule: they divide and try to conquer- they know the power of the People is weaker when our house is divided. They believe they can't win unless the rest of us lose. We reject that shameful view. The Democratic Party has a different idea: we believe that all of us can win. We believe we are one Nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all- and when we say all, we mean all...
The eyes of the world were on us and the hearts of the world were with us after September 11th until this Administration broke that trust. We should have honored, not ignored, the pledges that we made. We should have strengthened, not scorned, the alliances that won two World Wars and the Cold War. Most of all, we should have honored the principle, so fundamental that our Nation's founders placed it in the very first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, that America must give a decent respect to the opinions of Mankind. We failed to do that in Iraq...
We need a President who will bind up the Nation's wounds. We need a President who will be a symbol of respect in a world yearning to be at peace again. We need John Kerry as our President... Citing the plaque in the White House containing the prayer of President John Adams, ending with the words "May none but the honest and wise ever rule under this roof", Kennedy said: In November, we will make those words ring true again...
Our struggle is not with some monarch named George who inherited the Crown- although it often seems that way: our struggle is with the Politics of Fear and Favoritism in our own time, in our own country. Our struggle, like so many others before, is with those who put their own narrow interest ahead of the public interest. We hear echoes of past battles in the quiet whisper of the sweetheart deal, in the hushed promise of a better break for the better connected: we hear them in the cries of the false patriots who bully dissenters into silence and submission. These are familiar fights. We fought and we won them before and, with John Kerry and John Edwards leading us, we will win them again and again and again.
Senator Kennedy was followed by former Democratic House Leader and an unsuccessful presidential contender, retiring Congressman Dick Gephardt of Missouri, who noted that he has known John Kerry for most of my congressional career... and I say to you, with complete conviction, there is no one in these United States with more courage, more judgment, more resolve, more of the knowledge and experience to hold the job of President of these United States of America...
As some of you know, I've had a single, simple purpose for my years in public service: to make it possible for hard working American families to succeed... I ran for President because I wanted to give those people a voice and I stand proudly in John Kerry's Convention because he speaks for them... their cause is his unyielding concern.
Next came the Democratic Senate Leader, Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who said: Americans aren't asking for special deals from Washington: they simply want their government to do right by America. Doing right by America means that we don't just talk about our values, we live them- and we honor the fundamental difference between right and wrong. John Kerry's entire life has been an inspirational example of doing right by America...
Today the middle class squeeze has become a way of life for millions of American families... In the Kerry Administration, the needs of regular families will be moved from the back burner to the front burner, board room priorities won't crowd out the kitchen table values and the era of Enron and Halliburton undermining our common purpose will come to an end.
Daschle was followed by former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, another of the unsuccessful presidential contenders, who declared: It is now our time and our turn to create a future we will be proud to leave to the next generation of Americans. We have a choice. We can either give them an America of Opportunity or we can allow others to turn the lights out on the American Dream. We can protect their personal freedom or resign ourselves to Fear and Insecurity. Nothing less than our duty to our ancestors and to our children is at stake in this November election and nothing is more stark than the contrast between the potential of John Kerry and the track record of this current Administration.
She was followed by yet another unsuccessful presidential contender, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who was greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm among the assembled and opened his appearance with humor: I was hoping for a reception like this: I was just kind of hoping it was going to be on Thursday night instead of Tuesday night. I may not be the nominee, but I can tell you this: for the next 100 days, I will be doing everything I can to make sure that John Kerry and John Edwards take this country back for the people who built it because tonight we are all here to represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party...
I'm Howard Dean and I'm voting for John Kerry. I'm voting for John Kerry and John Edwards because I'm tired of seeing hard-working Americans struggling with jobs that pay less than they did four years ago... because I want a President and a Vice President as good and as strong as the American People... because I want to see an America that is restored as the moral leader in the world...
We are not going to be afraid to stand up for what we believe in ever again. We are not going to let those who disagree with us shout us down under a banner of false patriotism. We are not going to give up a single voter or a single State, because we are going to be proud to call ourselves Democrats... Never again will we be ashamed to call ourselves Democrats: never, never, never... Together, we can take our country back and only you have the power to make it happen.
Next the Convention heard from Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack, who said: John Kerry has seen the devastation caused in small Midwestern towns when their largest employers pack up and send jobs overseas or across the border. With his plan to give companies incentives to create good paying jobs here at home, John Kerry offers hope to working families, because they deserve a President who will stand up to the Enrons and Halliburtons and say "Enough, but no more".
She was followed by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, who stated: John Kerry has always answered his country's call to serve and, this year, America is calling on him one more time to rebuild the strength of our Nation and lift up everyone who's willing to work for the American Dream. Today, for millions of our people, that dream is like a mirage in the Arizona desert: it's alluring but it's not real. John Kerry will bring the American Dream back to life for every American who works hard and does what's right.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin introduced the Convention's Keynote Speaker, Babrack Obama- the Democratic candidate for the other Illinois Senate seat. For his part, Obama recounted his family background: a father from Kenya, a mother from Middle America. My parents shared not only an improbable love, Obama noted, they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this Nation. They would give me an African name- Barack, or "blessing"- believing that, in a tolerant America, your name is no barrier to your success. They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren't rich, because- in a generous America- you don't have to be rich to achieve your potential. They're both passed away now, yet I know that, on this night, they both look down on me with great pride... I stand here knowing that my story is part of a larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.
Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin introduced Ron Reagan, son of the recently deceased former Republican President, who was appearing before the Convention on behalf of embryonic stem cell research. A few of you may be surprised to see someone with my last name showing up to speak at a Democratic Convention, he began. When he got a large cheer at this, Reagan humorously commented Apparently, some are not. Let me assure you, he then continued, I am not here to make a political speech and the topic at hand should not- and must not- have anything to do with partisanship.
The next speaker before the Convention was its youngest, Ilana Wexler, the 13 year old founder of 'Kids for Kerry'. Then there was a performance by yet another in the FleetBoston Celebrity series, the Children's Voices of Greater Boston, an aggregation of several Boston area youth choruses, after which Christopher Heinz introduced his mother, Mrs. John Kerry:
My name is Teresa Heinz Kerry, she began, and I hope it will come as no surprise that I have something to say. She recounted her memories of her childhood growing up in the then-Portuguese colony of Mozambique and her later experiences as a university student in South Africa as Apartheid was pervading even the highest centers of learning there. I learned something then, she said, and I believe it still: there is a value in taking a stand, whether or not anybody may be noticing it, and whether or not it is a risky thing to do. And, if even those who are in danger can raise their lonely voices, isn't it more that is required of all of us in this land where Liberty had her birth?... I know how precious Freedom is. It is a sacred gift sanctified by those who have lived it and those who have died defending it. My right to speak my mind, to have a voice, to be what some have called "opinionated", is a right I deeply and profoundly cherish. And my only hope is that, one day soon, women who have all earned their right to their opinions, instead of being called "opinionated", will be called smart and well-informed, just like men... It is time for the world to hear women's voices, in full, and at last.
In the past year, I have been privileged to meet with Americans all across this land. They voiced many different concerns, but one they all shared was about America's role in the world- what we want this great country of ours to stand for. To me, one of the best faces America has ever projected is the face of a Peace Corps volunteer. That face symbolizes this country: young, curious, brimming with idealism and hope and a real honest compassion... For many generations of people around this globe, that is what America has represented- a symbol of hope, brightly lit by the optimism of its people, people coming from all over the world...
Americans showed the world what can happen when people believe in amazing possibilities: and that, for me, is the spirit of America- the America you and I are working for in this election. It is the America that people all across this Nation want to restore... It is the America the world wants to see- shining, hopeful and bright once again- and that is the America that my husband, John Kerry, wants to lead. John believes in a bright future... With John Kerry as President, we can- and we will- protect our Nation's security without sacrificing our Civil Liberties. In short, John believes that we can- and we must- lead the world as America, unique among nations, always should- by showing the face, not of our fears, but of our hopes...
As President, my husband will not fear disagreement or dissent. He believes that our voices- yours and mine- must be the voices of Freedom and, if we do not speak, neither does she. In America, the true patriots are those who dare speak Truth to Power and the truth that we must speak now is that America has responsibilities that it is time for us to accept again... With John Kerry as President, the alliances that bind the community of nations and that truly make our country and the world a safer place will be strengthened once more...
Today, the better angels of our nature are just waiting to be summoned. We only require a leader who is willing to call on them, a leader willing to draw again the mystic chord of our national memory and remind us of all that we the People, everyday leaders, can do- of all that we, as a Nation, stand for and of all the immense possibililty that still lies ahead. I think I've found that guy- and I'm married to him. John Kerry will give us back our faith in America- he will restore our faith in ourselves and in the sense of limitless opportunity that has always been America's gift to the world. Together, we will lift everyone up- we have to. It's possible- and you know what? It's the American thing to do.
It was now 11 PM EDT (0300 UTC) and the Benediction was given by Imam Yahya Hendi of Georgetown University and the National Naval Medical Center, after which the Convention recessed until 4 PM EDT (2000 UTC) the next day.