"If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.
If they're shouting after you, keep going.
Don't ever stop. Keep going.
If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.
Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going."
That paraphrase of Harriet Tubman was intoned by Hillary Clinton as she moved the nomination of Barack Obama to be the party's torchbearer at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
These words of perseverance, tenacity and steadfastness sum up what Clinton's supporters deeply admire about her -- as well as reflect the energy and passion of the Bernie Sanders campaign as it fervently works to stretch and challenge the Democratic Party to do better.
The New York Times captured that magical moment of unity eight years ago: "The unanimous vote made Mr. Obama the first African-American to become a major party nominee for president. It brought to an end an often-bitter two-year political struggle for the nomination with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who, standing on a packed convention floor electric with anticipation, moved to halt the roll call in progress so that the convention could nominate Mr. Obama by acclamation. That it did with a succession of loud roars, followed by a swirl of dancing, embracing, high-fiving and chants of 'Yes, we can.'"
Yes, we did. And we will again.
What is past is prologue. Democrats came together in 2008, and unity is in the cards again for 2016 because the alternative is terrifying. The stakes are simply too high. A Trump all-white house of cards will collapse.
Look no further than Vacationland to see what happens when a wild card is given the power to govern. Maine has a chief executive playing with a few cards short of a full deck, and we are losing.
We are losing money. We are losing people. And most damaging is that we are losing faith in institutions and our collective ability to make progress, solve problems and live in peace. It's depressing and demoralizing to live under a LePage administration, and Trump Nation would be even worse.
Trump laid his soiled cards again on the table last week, accusing Clinton of playing "the women's card," after he said last week Tubman's face isn't worthy of appearing on the $20 bill.
A pair of strong women beats a Joker, of course, but we can't risk electing a boor. Even one with big hands.
Say what you will about the foul smell of party politics, but you can't deny the dignity displayed by Democrats this election season -- and dignity has extrinsic value, like fresh air. Clinton and Sanders fiercely debate while respectfully addressing each other by their formal names. Formality is a hallmark of the United States presidency because being president is an awesome responsibility. Sophomoric name calling has been the hallmark of the Republican contest and their candidates should be ashamed of themselves.
It is a safe bet that Democrats will coalesce around their nominee because their contest is one of ideas, not personality, and it's ideas plus action that make this country strong.
"We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe," said Obama in 2008, and then he proved it.
"The United States flag does not belong to an ideology or political party," said John Kerry in 2008, and what came next were eight years of a scandal-free administration and beautiful first family who serve as shining beacons of hope around the world.
"Democracy is not a guaranty but rather an opportunity. Will we seize this opportunity?" asked Al Gore in 2008, to which we responded with a resounding "yay," and the American economy is better for it.
"The private sector has added jobs for 73 consecutive months -- some 14.4 million new jobs in all -- the longest period of sustained job growth on record. Unemployment, which peaked at 10 percent the year Obama took office, the highest it had been since 1983, under Ronald Reagan, is now 5 percent, lower than when Reagan left office. The budget deficit has fallen by roughly $1 trillion during his two terms. And overall U.S. economic growth has significantly outpaced that of every other advanced nation," according to Andrew Ross Sorkin in The New York Times.
So let's call a spade a spade. Donald Trump is not a strong leader, has no viable plan for growing our economy, does not bring people together and will not protect us or improve the quality of our lives. He lacks a moral compass. He's a fake, and his presidency would be a disaster.
It's up to the Democratic nominee to call Trump's bluff, and she or he can only do that if everyone who believes in equal opportunity and justice ante's up after the convention and places their chips on the winning candidate.
"People are more impressed with the power of our example than the example of our power," said Bill Clinton in 2008.
"Last night Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything she can to elect Barack Obama," Mr. Clinton also said. "That makes two of us."
Democrats need to follow suit in 2016 to stack the deck against Trump.