For Pat Cannady, Arizona delegate from Tucson, Wednesday at the Convention was one big weep-fest. "I started crying during the roll call. I cried when our veterans told their stories. I cried when Bill Clinton took the stage and I was balling my eyes out during Joe Biden's speech." The retiree added, "I haven't cried this much in years." On the flip side, Cannady added, "And I danced like crazy! I was either crying, or dancing, or crying while I was dancing! What an emotional day!"
But Cannady thought it wasn't just speeches that caused the outpouring of tears. With pre-convention press coverage swirling with rumors of angry Clinton supporters and the constant use of words like disunity and disgruntled, Cannady wonders if those tears were a sign of relief. "You could feel it in the hall: the disunity never materialized, the speeches were wonderful, so yes I think there was a great feeling of relief."
Like Cannady, graduate student and volunteer Erin Cheuvront found Wednesday's proceedings emotional, and both delegate and volunteer mentioned how moved they were by the veterans who spoke, particularly Tammy Duckworth. Duckworth, a veteran who lost both legs in the Iraq war, delivered a strong attack on the Bush administration which elicited great praise from Cannady and these strong words from Cheuvront: "Duckworth said what needed to be said, that the Bush administration has let our soliders down. I don't know if you could see it on television, but let me tell you, the crowd was absolutely with her. You could tell she wasn't a pro like Bill Clinton, and we all loved Bill, but we loved her too, we were with her 100%."
Unlike Cannady, Cheuvront didn't spend Wednesday in tears, yet her recounting of the experience was full of just as much emotion. During the roll call, Cheuvront couldn't help but notice the difference between those that were crying and those that weren't: she didn't see anyone her age, in their thirties, breaking down in tears when Obama was officially made the Democratic nominee. For Cheuvront that wasn't a negative, far from it. Chuevront called it "one huge positive statement about America," and went on to explain why: " Of course I know why everyone's crying. I know a lot of people never thought they'd live long enough to see this day. But for my friends and I, honestly, it doesn't matter what color Obama is. We look at him and we think: this is a great man who deserves to be president. It's what Martin Luther King Jr. talked about, he wanted people to be judged not by the color of their skin but by their character. My friends and I don't see him as black. We see him as a man that we want as our president because he's a great leader and a great man."
Tonight Barack Obama officially accepts his party's nomination as candidate for President of The United States. The retiree from Tucson and the graduate student from Boston will be there, and at homes and at parties, at neighborhood gatherings and Democratic offices, millions of people will be there in spirit. And if someone were to suggest that the spirit of those who fought for justice and equality will also be there tonight, well, this blogger wouldn't disagree.