There were two emotional highlights for me last night which were very personal. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraqi war veteran who narrowly lost a bid for Congress, claimed her Asian heritage (her mother is Thai) -- the only Asian-American so far who was given a prime-time spot. She was clearly tapped because she is a war hero (she lost her legs in a helicopter attack), but it meant a great deal to me that as an Asian American, she helped to reinforce the fact that Asians like her are indeed Americans -- proud Americans who understand sacrifice for their country.
The second came when Beau Biden, Delaware's Attorney General, talked about his father's commitment to him and his brother after they survived a car crash that killed his mother (Joe biden's first wife) and sister when he was very young. Joe Biden had just won his first Senate race, had not yet been sworn in, but declared, probably while refusing to leave the hospital where his sons were, that Delaware could get another Senator, but his sons would never have another father.
Beau was four years old at the time. My son Nathan is six and my daughter Naomi is three. I cannot imagine the grief Joe Biden must have felt, and how at some emotional level he must have blamed himself and his political ambition for what had happened to his family. I live with that kind of misplaced guilt all the time in ways that are miniscule compared to what Biden went through. But it happens often enough to require a discipline in my thinking about what I do and why I do it, even as a city councilor who spends nights and weekends out at events and meetings. In the end, it is about my children and their future. It's about their city and the world they will inherit. So I owe it to them to stay balanced and make things work out.
Hearing about the sacrifices of great public servants -- whether elected officials or war veterans -- inspires me and humbles me. I didn't quite expect this convention to have that kind of impact on me personally. Of course, this being my first convention, I really didn't know what to expect.
And Bill Clinton was fantastic. Bill Clinton was the Bill Clinton we all (or at least we Democrats) love. (Apparently his speech was the only speech not vetted with the Obama campaign, reflecting an extraordinary degree of respect and trust that Barack had for Bill.) But Clinton, of his own accord, firmly set the stage for Obama. Our own John Kerry did exceptionally well too. The party is clearly energized.
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