Convention energizes Democrats
Party candidates and leaders urge civic
By DANIEL BUSH
For the Mountain Express
BOSTON—At the conclusion of
a weeklong convention to rally the country behind him, Sen. John Kerry accepted
the full weight of his party’s hopes upon his shoulders Thursday night. And, in
the wake of a unified Democratic Party, Kerry is being asked to prove equal to
the task of establishing a better tomorrow that for once lives up to its
"People know that this (the Bush)
administration is doing a bad job. They want to hear what John Kerry has to
offer that is different," said Boise attorney and Idaho delegate Dan Williams.
He added that by Thursday night the convention had certainly "laid the
foundation for John Kerry to do so".
The strongest layer in that process was
cemented on Wednesday, when Sen. John Edwards accepted his nomination as the
party’s candidate for vice president. In a powerful speech, Edwards invoked many
aspects of the American dream, stressing America’s traditional potential of
equality and opportunity: "We choose possibilities over problems, optimism over
cynicism. We choose to do what’s right even when those around us say ‘You can’t
The people responded wildly, shaking long,
red Edwards posters. The hall looked like a field of overgrown red blades of
grass waving in a furious wind.
The hall was so packed with energy that
the crowds broke into chants in the midst of an Edwards’ sentence like fans
starting chants mid-pitch at a ball game. A serious, business-like Edwards
simply kept on, enumerating in startlingly clear and simple details the specific
changes the new administration would impose.
"John and I believe at our core," Edwards
said toward the end, "that tomorrow can be a better day."
Vermont Gov. Howard Dean addressed the
Washington, Democrats Abroad, and the Idaho delegations on Wednesday at the
Radisson Hotel, the morning after his convention hall speech.
Dean said he "wants people out there
running for office, voting is not enough." Dean urged citizens to run for local
office and state legislature, and help in their communities in any way possible.
His message was simple: To see change, Americans must not sit back and simply
watch their politicians deliver stump speeches, but need to take it upon
themselves and exercise their civic responsibility and power.
"I’ve already signed up to help out with
my local Democrat running for Idaho Congress" an inspired Kasey O’Brien, 17,
said. O’Brien, from north Idaho, is part of the Junior Statesmen of America
program. She went on to add, "I’m going to find voting registrations, and get
them handed out and encourage people, because I think that’s the first step."
The Democratic Party has emerged this week
with an interestingly well-balanced power base. Kerry and Edwards seem to be
providing the greater vision and infrastructure, and politicians such as Dean
and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio advocating the power of individual
responsibility and activism.
The convention has inspired and energized
many who look toward the battle in the next three months leading up to the
election with renewed vigor.
"There’s a real feeling of unification,"
said Idaho House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, of Ketchum. "We’re behind the
candidates and we’re ready to go home, tell their story, and get them elected."