Live-Blogging the 2016 Democratic National Convention: Night 2

10:49 pm: “We’ve got to get back on schedule, y’all settle-down out there!”  This is Bill Clinton, telling the delegates of the Democratic National Convention that they can’t relish his speech quite so much, because Night 2 of the Convention is running over.

10:32 pm: President Clinton notes that when he lost re-election in the Reagan landslide of 1980, it was Hillary who gave him a sense of mission again: “We’re going to focus on being Chelsea’s parents for a while.”  She said that if Bill wanted to become Governor again, he would have to really listen to Arkansans, but also show them that he still had some fresh ideas.  He won re-election on this approach–Without Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton probably wouldn’t have become President–but soon faced a charge that Arkansas had the worst public schools in the country.  Hillary started a listening tour of all 75 Arkansas counties, which led 1 observer to quip, “Maybe we elected the wrong Clinton!”

This is marvelous: Former President Clinton’s self-effacing tribute to his wife’s support and personal drive represents a sort of correcting of the record: “Hasn’t the great woman behind the man already proved she can be President?”

10:29 pm: “The truth is that we rarely disagreed on parenting, though I believe that Hillary thought I went too far when I took a couple of days off to watch all 6 Police Academy movies with our daughter.”  I have no great insight into this; I just wanted to note that Bill Clinton likes the Police Academy movies. 

10:24 pm: “She also stayed the first legal aid clinic in northwest Arkansas…”  This is exactly what Secretary Clinton needs: This speech is a rigorous account of Hillary Clinton’s record of dedication to the disenfranchised, given narrative grasp by a sort of romantic comedy.

10:12 pm: “In the spring of 1971, I met a girl…After class I followed her out.  I approached her close-enough to touch her back, but.. I just couldn’t do it.  Somehow I knew this would be more than just another tap on the shoulder.  I thought that this might be the start of something I couldn’t stop…”

Former President Bill Clinton recounts meeting his future wife, Hillary Clinton.  She introduced herself to him after she became impatient with his ambivalent staring.  He recounts feigning his need to register for classes in order to wait on line and talk to her, and that when his “cover was blown” that he didn’t have to be there, he decided to go for a walk with her.  “We’ve been walking together, and talking, and laughing ever since.”

The most-effective parts of this speech have this personal touch; the most-important are his references to her volunteer work, working in legal defense, working at Yale-New Haven Hospital on new child abuse intake procedures, registering Mexican-American voters in the Southwest and Black voters in South Carolina…This along other causes taken-up between 1971 and 1974, when Hillary Rodham first rejected Bill Clinton’s offer of marriage!

9:56 pm: Madeleine Albright, an immigrant from the Czech Republic (then the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic) and President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001, speaks fondly of meeting then-Firat Lady Hillary Clinton, recalling her historic address abroad in which she said “Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.”  She also praises the former Secretary of State’s capacity to listen more than she talks.

An ardent Cold Warrior, Secretary Albright reminds the assembled conventioners that the Russian President has blessed a Trump Presidency.  “As someone who fled from Communism, I know what happens when you let the Russians have their way.”  It sounds so much less…timid than the foreign policy direction Donald Trump promises to bring to the Republican Party.

9:50 pm: “Maybe Mark Twain said it best: ‘”What would men be without women?”  Scarce, sir, mighty scarce…'”  Senator Amy Klobuchar speaks at some length about the range of forms of domination women continue to experience around the World, from the rhetorical put-downs that can have consequences to the reality of millions of women living in sex slavery today.  Many of them are kept in parts of the United States today.  Many don’t see the light of day; some are hidden in the open.  I have to admit I haven’t had many occasions to observe a passionate cause of Senator Klobuchar; the Democratic Party seems to have taken sole responsibility for the premise that the United States can serve a moral mission in the World.

Ima Matul, once a slave herself and now an advocate for policing and ending human trafficking, speaks following Senator Klobuchar.

9:35 pm: Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont, onetime antiwar insurgent Democratic Presidential candidate, then DNC Chairman through consecutive Democratic Party wave elections in 2006 and 2008, fires up the crowd.  I always recall that I’m partial to insurgent candidates of my own when I see Governor Dean speak; he calls for finally reaching the goal of fully-universal health care in America, to be regarded as a human right.  He used to be regarded as almost an avant-garde candidate, opposing the Iraq War and calling for universal health care; now he (and on these subjects, Senator Sanders) now just seem ahead of a long curve.

Dean closes his speech with the notorious list of State-by-State victories, ending with the “Dean Scream.”  Haah.  I’ve always appreciated this Liberal’s ironic sense of ownership.

9:30 pm: “No matter how busy she is (and I have a feeling she is always really busy), she always makes you feel like you are the most-importantperson in her day.  She blocks everything else out and focuses on me.”  A man with a rare form of Dwarfism recounts his experience securing health services in part through the efforts of then-Senator Clinton, which has led to reliable correspondence from the Presidential candidate.

9:20 pm: A DNC video opens with a reminder that some of the Sanders supporters with raw feelings ought to see: Hillary Clinton first came under widespread attack from Republicans a generation ago when she proposed single-payer health care!  After that initiative failed and Republicans won control of Congress in an historic wave election in 1994, she worked with those same Republicans to strike the agreement that created the Children’s Health Insurance Program, because that was what could be done at the time.

9:10 pm: Joe Sweeney, a former NYPD detective, recounts the experience of many September 11th first responders with Ground Zero Respiratory Syndrome.  The immediately-preceeding DNC video alluded to the same: The W. Bush Administration’s EPA Director, Christine Todd Whitman, bowed to pressure to say that the Lower Manhattan air was safe to breathe; she and other members of the Bush Administration knew that the air was full of poisonous black mold, asbestos, and glass dust among other contaminants, poisons and irritants.  As the Junior Senator of New York, Hillary Clinton was a consistent advocate for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

Joseph Crowley, a Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman from New York, notes that Donald Trump didn’t so much as lobby for financial assistance from Washington after September 11th (which Senators Clinton and Chuck Schumer did to great effect, securing $20 billion in recovery money for New York in late-2001); Trump was too busy buying choice Lower Manhattan properties while the market in that wounded zone of New York City was bottomed-out.

9:00 pm: Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), simply-put, acts as a character witness for Secretary Clinton.  She shouldn’t require one, certainly not with the sulphuric rage that is mustered in the other party, but due to that same party’s prosecutorial talents a character witness is needed, and Senator Boxer is ready and eager to help.

8:55 pm: Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina speaks: “I want my daughters to feel the same feeling I felt 8 years ago when Barack Obama was elected President.”  He recounts a touching encounter his daughter had with the former Secretary of State, in which his daughter insisted that a woman could be President.

8:46 pm: “Hi, I’m Lena Dunham, and according to Donald Trump, I’m probably like a 2.”

“…And I’m America Ferrera, and according to Donald Trump, I’m probably a rapist.”

What follows is a straightforward speech that makes an effective connection between Donald Trump’s callous personal attacks on any and all political opponents and women’s health issues including sexual assault victimization.  Ferrera notes that then-Senator Hillary Clinton won expedited admittance of sexual assault victims to New York hospitals.

8:41 pm: Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, speaks next.  The parties sure are eager to heighten contrasts between them across these 2 weeks…This might seem a banal observation, but there was a time when both major national political parties were trying to appeal to at least some of the same people, and this would have to be evident.  Today, the party conventions seem to be defiant rejoinders to each other on almost every subject of discussion.  The differences between the parties didn’t used to pervade every policy concern, and even almost every reaction to the possible narrative implications of a news item.

Oh, hey, the late Texas Governor Ann Richards is Cecile Richards’ mother.

8:23-8:37 pm: Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland who hanged herself in jail following imprisonment after what seems to have been an unwarranted traffic stop, speaks surrounded by other mothers who have lost a child.  She says she hopes her daughter can speak through her.

The mother of Jordan Davis, “Who was shot and killed for playing loud music,” speaks next.  She describes him as a religious person who discussed God with his mother, and as a boy who wouldn’t have a popsickle in the presence of his friends unless there were enough for everyone.  “I feared that my son’s life would end this way,” she says.

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, says “I am an unwilling participant in this movement.”  Her son was a 17-year-old boy when he was essentially attacked and then shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman of his gated community.  Martin was the son of his neighbor.  Zimmerman was acquitted of the charge of murder due to the State of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which authorizes the use of violent force against a subjectively-perceived danger so that an individual doesn’t have to retreat from an encounter.  That measure was signed into law over a decade ago by then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush, oddly regarded as a “moderate” in the recent Republican Presidential Primary.

After the assembled bereaved mothers depart the stage, the Democratic delegates begin to chant “Black Lives Matter!  Black Lives Matter!”


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