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D20 [The Democratic National Convention 2020]: Day Three – Ride of the Valkyries

Actress and activist Kerry Washington’s virtual address on August 19th at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. (Photo by DNCC via Getty Images)

Welcome to Day Three of the fight for Democracy. The Democrats are bringing out their big guns tonight. How big you may ask, they brought in Olivia Pope! Well…her real name is Kerry Washington. As part of the DNC’s effort to show they value the vote of Black women. The actress and activist spoke in broad terms about the fight for the soul of the country. While there are many issues Democrats want to bring to the forefront, last night’s showcase was about reducing gun violence, immigration reform with a path to citizenship, and tackling climate change. The effort to humanize these issues continues the larger theme that Democrats are truly focusing on: “A more perfect Union”. A union that’s about the future of our planet and children, not about dollars and graves.

Billie Eilish & Prince Royce

SOME QUICK HIGHLIGHTS:

Because my editor is making me, I should discuss the music for the convention. With D20’s tightly planned program, the convention’s music was equally strategic and tied to its theme. Billie Eilish was on deck first and spoke to the privilege of voting. Debuting her new song “My Future”, the Grammy award-winning performer issued a call to action uttering the phrase “’Cause I’m in love with my future/Can’t wait to meet her,”—I guess she is really attached to the planet. My inner grumpy old man calls her a hippie. The part of me that likes living on this planet thanks her!

Following her, the convention then brought out Prince Royce, Dominican-American singer and songwriter. Prince Royce sent out a message echoing the convention’s “Stand Together” theme by performing his bachata version of “Stand By Me”. “Mi gente, let’s stand by each other, and don’t forget to vote this November,” he said at the end of his performance. “Together, we can make a change.”

Now on to the speakers themselves.

Gabby Giffords speaking at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Gabrielle Giffords
Former Congresswoman U.S. House of Representatives, Arizona

Gabrielle Giffords spoke of being on the right side of history, which is protecting the future. A good way of doing that she echoed was voting. Her presence reminds us to never forget the 26,768 victims of gun violence and their families.

Michelle Lujan Grisham
Governor of New Mexico

A relative “newcomer” to the game known for her pandemic preparation in opposition to Trump, her stance on renewable resources in opposition to Trump, her stance on immigration in opposition to Trump (you may see a theme here), Grisham brought a powerful message on all the preceding topics. And emphasized that time is running out in the fight against climate change. Earth has become the Fredo Corleone of the Milky Way galaxy, and that is just unacceptable. As part of her shoutout to saving all life on the planet, she pivoted to Joe Biden and the benefits of electing him. One benefit being that unlike our current president, Joe would not suck so bad that it seems like he is genuinely trying to kill us all.

Hillary Clinton speaking at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Hillary Clinton
Former Secretary of State

The former secretary of state is a better person than I am because, instead of saying I told you so, she discussed America’s fracturing and the president’s place in it. Personally, I would have reminded folks that he was garbage then, garbage now, and garbage forever. I would have also disrespected his hair. Once again, this shows why I have no future in public service. Madame Sec goes into her argument for how Joe Biden and Kamala can save us from this fool-—not so surprisingly it involves just being a decent person. As a listener, this frank sense of directness restored my faith in the power of words. With a wry smile, HRC released a mental sigh, acknowledging the sheer exhaustion of hearing the statement, “I didn’t know it would be THIS bad.” One of the most haunting reminders was Clinton harkening to the fateful words of then-candidate Trump, who asked, “what do you have to lose?”

It would seem the answer is civil liberties, jobs, health care, and apparently our lives.

Nancy Pelosi speaking at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Congressional Valkyrie and grandmother, Nancy Pelosi arrived to speak on the state of Democracy, following a Micheal Bay-esque video package. She began her onslaught by reminding Americans that for the first time the House is now truly representative of America’s make-up. She then followed up with a scathing rebuke on both Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. In the face of the worst threat to our country, these two are playing games with the hearts and lives of Americans—Pelosi echoed. Recapping the last four years of the office with the observation that Trump hates facts, hates women, and any challenge to his narcissistic view of reality. 

She ended her verbal flogging with the sentiment we all share (paraphrased): When November comes, remember Mr. President, The North (including the south, east. and west) remembers. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take the White House. And Mr. Senate Majority Leader We are taking the Congress and your heart, you turtle-bitch!

Elizabeth Warren speaking at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Elizabeth Warren
United States Senator, MA

Are you not entertained!? As the night continued, the call to arms grew to a fevered pitch. I realize it was virtual, but Twitter was aflame with the man-tears of a president. Last night you could believe a president can cry, especially when Sen. Elizabeth Warren shows up. Warren loves plans, I love plans, and we both agreed Joe’s got plans—not as good as the senator but still damn good plans. It’s not about billionaires and corporations; it’s about the people. As she continued, she declared to the wealthy: You muthafuckers don’t need extra cheese on your whopper EVERYDAY—pay your dues! As always, once she got on a roll, she spoke on childcare. Specifically, the need to save the country’s first infrastructure, the family.

President Barack Obama speaking at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Barack Obama
Former United States President

And then Barack Obama walks out like a prize-fighter looking for heads to take off. Starting with what we all need to face. America isn’t perfect; it allowed for indigenous genocide, slavery, marginalized women, and that was just in its inception. However, through the better angels of our nature, the country got better slowly—very slowly. But that improvement needs to have a president that gives a damn. Egos have no place for the office. Recapping, Obama lamented (yes! Lamented, We’ve missed a good lamenting?) for the last four years Donald Trump has treated the highest office in the land as if it’s a reality show. Citing the disturbing American body-count, joblessness, and the president’s contempt for…well…most of intelligent global civilization, we heard from a man who believes in public service: Donald Trump, you had one job! Vote for a man who believes in facts science and truth. Trump and his folk need to ignore all of this to keep America crippled. Democracy is not transactional. You want America right, stop learning from memes, Twitter, and Facebook. ACT! VOTE! Being engaged is not about the courage of 280 characters. Ignorance is how they win. Don’t let them win. Not today, not ever. 

He went on to say: What we do in seventy-six days echoes in eternity for democracy, for hope, for justice. By the holy visage of John Lewis, our ancestors, our forebears did not take them L’s so you could all sit on your ass and let Trump, Trump’s ilk, and especially Kanye’s shit run amuck.

Kamala Harris speaking at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Kamala Harris United States Senator, California, and Democratic Vice-President Nominee. 

To describe when the future hero walks on stage, there is palpable electricity you can feel even on the internet. The power of history is a remarkable thing to witness. Kamala Harris is a product of a generation that believed in America’s dream. Reminding us that this was the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment but that amendment did not include Black women: 

“Yet so many of the Black women who helped secure that victory were still prohibited from voting, long after its ratification. But they were undeterred.”

Mary Church Terrell, Mary McCleod Bethune, Fannie Lou Hamer, Diane Nash, Constance Baker Motley, and Shirley Chisholm, are all giants we should be thanking. As a member of Oaktown’s finest, she called out those who questioned her heart, her abilities, or her very identity. She explained in one statement, who she is:

“Kamala Harris, For the People.”

A simple statement laced with a tone echoed by Mike Tyson, “Don’t take this ass-whuppin’ personally.”. #StayMad. She reminded those haters that she came from somewhere and told them to get ready: Haters get ready, Imma lean into all my Blackness and my Indian heritage. 

Stupidity, callousness, and fear have shaped this world far too long and the VP Candidate looked ready to lay hands on anyone who tried to stop her and Joe from fixing this up. She also reminded us that the road we will have to walk will not be easy, but patriots, Americans believe, fight, and vote. And together like Wu-Tang, we gonna get this done. 

Final Thoughts:

As this was a heavy one, I will keep this short with three observations. 

Kamala said, “there is no vaccine for racism,” all we can do is stand and fight.

Secondly, tonight set the stage for the elections to end all elections. You can see what the abyss is; when it looks back, what will you do?  

Lastly, watching The Democratic National Convention, I felt some kind of way. A way I have not felt in a long time. I am not sure if I remember what that feeling was but it felt like…Pride. 

To be continued…