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E Pluribus Unum

September 6, 2012

There was a man once who told us about his dream.  He dreamed of a place where “black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics” would share equally in American freedom.  Turns out, Martin Luther King Jr. may have lacked just a little bit of imagination.

Republicans had to move their convention delegations from the Virgin Islands, Samoa, and the Marianas Islands front and center to create a camera-ready illusion of Republican diversity.  Democrats didn’t have to fake it – their convention delegates are diversity.

There were white men and black men, Protestants and Catholics.  There were also women.  There were Hispanic delegates and Asian-American delegates, Sikh delegates wearing turbans, Muslim delegates wearing headscarves, and Jewish delegates wearing yarmulkes.  There were older delegates and delegates toting babies, retired delegates and union workers, disabled delegates, delegates wearing LGTB buttons and delegates wearing WWII veteran caps.

Out of this diversity, there came a unity of purpose:  the re-election of our president.  There was no tension in the delegates’ differences; they had a rollicking good time together, pursuing their common cause.

I couldn’t help but particularly watch the faces of African-American delegates as white speakers came before them to speak with passion and conviction for Barack Obama.  Not all that long ago, white Democrats fought tooth and nail to keep African-Americans from voting.  Last night, white Democrats were fighting tooth and nail to keep an African-American in the White House.  I saw awe on more than one African-American delegate’s face.  It was an awesome thing.

Bill Clinton praised President Obama as a man of cooperation, and his motion was implicitly seconded by the unified diversity of the Democratic delegates.  A sharper and more telling contrast with today’s angry Republicans could hardly be imagined.

Speaking of Bill Clinton:  can the man give a speech, or what?  He was even better last night than when he was president.  His speech was methodical, loaded with data, packed with policy.  It was substantive, it was informative, and it was huge fun.  By the time he was done, the Republican argument for unseating President Obama was in tatters.

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