You’ve all heard the the lyrics to Tina Turner’s Grammy-nominated song “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” The answer is: Everything in 2016!
Although Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker didn’t grace the enormous blue stage, last night was full of emotional and passionate speeches from a myriad of elected officials, celebrities and everyday people whose stories not only inspired, but had the crowd on its feet cheering. And, the much anticipated speech of Bill Clinton–I’ll get to that.
The lovefest began when Hillary Clinton’s lifelong friend, Betsy Eberling, delivered Illinois’ delegates during the roll call. She spoke with an intensity about her friend and the relationship that they have shared over several decades. She gave us a glimpse of the caring and compassionate Secretary of State that we rarely get to see.
The crowd erupted into cheers when Hillary passed the magical number to receive the nomination, but it was on its feet again when the Mothers of the Movement took the stage. I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with Trayvon Martin’s mom over the last couple of years, and I know how difficult it was for her to be on that stage, but at the same time, I know that she is committed to real criminal justice reform, and because of that, she was proud to talk about why supporting Hillary Clinton is the only choice for her. There could not have been a more moving moment then watching ten African-American women express the enduring love for their deceased sons, all killed by White police officers.
There were so many other moving stories that show the love and compassion that Hillary Clinton has displayed for so many throughout her 40 year plus years of social justice work. From helping those with severe disabilities to starting the first legal aid clinic in Arkansas, sitting in the arena last night made it clear: this is a woman that loves hard and works harder for causes that she believes in and for the most marginalized people in our society.
And then there was Bill! I’ve had the honor of hearing the former President speak in person on numerous occasions. I had prepared myself for one of his long and often complicated dissertations that made me feel as if I needed to go back and study every civics lessons I had been given from fifth grade on. But this time was different. There was very little talk about policy and very few polysyllabic words. This was Bill straight from the heart.
Bill told a story about a man who loves a woman. He told a story about supporting and encouraging the woman through all of life’s obstacles and challenges. He talked about buying their first home; having their first child; and making some of the most important decisions of their lives.
I sat in awe as he told one of the best kept secret romance stories.
This is a story that I would bet none of us sitting in the Wells Fargo Arena had ever heard. But it was a story that almost all of us could relate to.
Some pundits criticized the President and characterized his speech as self serving. Others going as far as to call it sexist. In my opinion, they got it wrong. And as someone that was sitting in the arena as the story was told, I can say with confidence that the pundits are mistaken.
This election is not just about what each candidate will do. But it’s also about how we feel about the candidates. Knowing that Hillary Clinton has been a fighter for underserved people and that she has loved the people she has worked for deeply matters. Knowing that she has a husband that has been with her through obstacles, and despite his infidelity, they are still together, that matters.
No relationship is perfect.
Life isn’t perfect.
It’s not easy.
Governing the country won’t be easy.
It’s going to take all of us working together to reach a better place. With love.