I was at the airport checking my bags in today when the man who was checking me in asked me how I liked the Convention. After I answered I asked him if he had been following the Convention on television. He said he had watched it but that he was a Hillary supporter who, after the primaries had decided not to vote for Obama.
This episode reminded me of the apprehension I came to the Convention with. I didn’t know what to expect. All the press around the divide between Clinton supporters and Obama supporters was concerning. The first couple of days, I found that there was a tense energy around, as if people did not know what to expect either. This could go really well or it could go terribly wrong.
I have been an Obama supporter from the very beginning. However, as a woman, and as a fellow Democrat, I was trying to learn, understand and truly appreciate what Hillary’s supporters were going through. I listened carefully to my Hillary supporter friends throughout these days. What I observed after Hillary’s speech on Tuesday- which in my opinion was extraordinary – and the meeting she had with her delegates to turn over her votes to Obama, was a process of healing that was very much needed. It became more palpable as the days went by.
For me, the most touching moment for me was when Hillary came on the floor to give the NY delegates and to request suspension of the floor count in order to officially nominate Obama the Presidential candidate for the party. I was so moved and so proud of her leadership. She truly shined. I turned around to see what others in our delegation were doing. I saw tears, but most of all, I saw people embracing each other, smiling, excited, holding hands, with proud faces: we are Democrats and we are to going to win this together. I cannot say that everyone is fully on board and united because that would be misleading. What I do know is that there is a sense that some healing has begun to occur.
And so it has. After he checked my bags, I asked the Hillary supporter what he thought of Obama’s speech last night. After a reflective pause he said: “I needed that speech. Now I’m voting for Obama!” I gave him a big Puerto Rican hug, thanked him and breathed a sigh of relief.
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