6 Reasons Why The DNC’s Virtual Roll Call Was Probably Better Than The In-Person Event

Representatives from 57 states and territories cast their delegate totals with calamari and cows.

Democrats held a roll call declaring former Vice President Joe Biden the party’s official nominee for the White House in November, and while the event was far different due to the coronavirus pandemic, the virtual tour around America was quickly hailed for its cast of Democratic stars, its slate of natural beauty and the culinary delights on display.

Here are six moments that stood out.

Gold Star Parent Khizr Khan, Parkland Dad Fred Guttenberg and the Parents of Matthew Shepard

Charlottesville resident and Gold Star parent Khizr Khan gave a damning indictment of President Donald Trump as he handed down Virginia’s delegates.

“Three years ago, my beloved city Charlottesville was attacked by white supremacists when a young woman was killed,” Khan said, referring to the violent “Unite the Right” rally. “We were attacked again when Donald Trump praised those racists, turning his back on a community that just wanted peace.”

In Wyoming, the parents of Matthew Shepard likened Biden’s career to the values their son, killed in a brutal homophobic attack in 1998, held dear.

“Joe understands more than most our grief over Matthew’s death, but we see in Joe so much of what made Matt’s life so special,” Shepard’s father, Dennis, said. “His commitment to equality, his passion for social justice and his boundless compassion for others.

And in Florida, Fred Guttenberg championed Biden’s tough stance against the National Rifle Association.

“When my daughter was murdered in Parkland, Joe Biden called to share in our family’s grief. I quickly learned about his decency and civility, but I also learned about his toughness.”

Democratic Heavyweights And Former Presidential nominees

Several states featured cameos from many of Biden’s primary competitors, including former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio. 

“We know that a bridge shouldn’t fall down in the middle of America, but it did, and we came together to rebuild it,” Klobuchar said Tuesday night as she stood before that rebuilt span over the Mississippi. “That’s what Joe Biden will do as president, he’ll build back better.”

Rhode Island’s Calamari

Rhode Island’s state dish got prime placement during Tuesday’s roll call as the state’s Democratic Party chairman, Joseph McNamara, bestowed a new motto on the region:

“The Calamari Comeback State.”

Montana’s Cows, The Northern Mariana Islands’ Flowers And Hawaii’s Beaches

The virtual pinball across the country showcased America’s vast size and natural beauty, from the beaches in Hawaii to a cow pasture in Montana.

“Without reliable internet, there’s no remote learning, no virtual doctors appointments and just try starting a small business,” Montana’s delegate said, speaking to Biden’s pledge to help bring internet access to America’s rural communities as she stood before a herd of cattle.

Delegates from the U.S. territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands were also featured, as were representatives standing in front of natural marvels in the Southwest and up to Alaska.

Delegate Roll Calls In Languages Other Than English, And Representation For Indigenous Communities

Puerto Rico delivered its roll call entirely in Spanish, calling out Trump’s lack of action to help the territory recover in 2017 after the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.

“We Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, something that Donald Trump seems to have forgotten as our island faced its most difficult times,” the island’s representative said. “Joe Biden has always supported Puerto Rican causes, and as president, he will be our ally in the White House.” 

In New Mexico, Derrick Lente was one of four Indigenous speakers to share their delegate counts.

“New Mexico is a diverse state, home to 23 Indigenous, sovereign nations, with a rich multicultural history,” he said. “We are all united by the love of this beautiful place that we call home, and we believe that we owe it to the next generation to protect the natural and cultural resources that are their inheritance.”

Power To The People

In Nebraska, a meatpacking plant worker pointed to the ongoing efforts for such workers to supply American grocery stores throughout the coronavirus pandemic with little or no paid sick leave.

“I work at a meatpacking plant making sure grocery store shelves stay full,” the delegate said. “They call us essential workers, but they treat us like we’re expendable. … We are human beings, not robots, not disposable.”