Posted by Kristin McCarthy on July 29, 2016 in Blog

Last night, Hillary Clinton took the stage to accept the Democratic Party's nomination marking the end of the two-week long infomercial that was the 2016 presidential nominating conventions. Here it is, your last AAI Daily Dispatch from the fourth and final day of the Democratic National Convention:

Arab Americans at the Convention

  • INTERVIEW: 21 year old Syrian immigrant Ayla Kadah explains what she thinks it will take to get Bernie supporters united behind Hillary.
  • Arab American PLEO delegate Jack Hanna, was interviewed by Early Returns and highlighted how his Syrian ethnicity has informed and empowered his political organizing.
  • Ruben Kihuen - Nevada State Senator and candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives - took to the convention stage to share his own story as an immigrant striving for the American dream. Kihuen, a Mexican-Lebanese immigrant,  spoke about the need for immigration reform and the important of immigrants to our national character.

On the Convention Floor

Hillary Clinton's big night was indeed a big night. By the time the first woman Democratic candidate took the stage to make history, speakers had successfully riled up the crowd into a patriotic frenzy. And Hillary Clinton made the most of it in her acceptance speech.

Rolling out the greatest hits of the Hillary Clinton domestic policy playbook, the candidate articulated key elements of what she calls the Party's most progressive platform ever: advancing universal healthcare, continuing education reform, and addressing climate change. She also spoke passionately about some of the major policies that the Bernie Sanders campaign brought into the primary and the Party's official platform. She called for Citizens United to be overturned, for debt free college, for raising minimum wage, and she voiced opposition to trade agreements that send jobs overseas. Though she did not mention opposition to the TPP by name, her comments pointed in that direction.

Clinton did briefly mention her steadfast support for Israel from the podium, but it was quick - as if she knew it would draw more boos than applause from the crowd. A simple remedy would have been to also acknowledge Palestinian humanity but since that didn't happen, chants of 'Hillary' were necessary to drown out the displeasure of many in the hall. She also got in a few hard punches on Donald Trump's credibility domestically and internationally with stinging criticism. She even quoted former First Lady Jackie Kennedy to get in a jab. After the Cuban Missile Crisis had ended, Jackie Kennedy said "what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started - not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men - the ones moved by fear and pride."

Our jaws were on the floor long before Clinton's history making moment. When the parents of slain U.S. Army captain Humayan Khan took the stage, you could hear a pin drop in the convention hall because the room was that enraptured with his father's words. In a moment that is bound to last well beyond this convention, Khzir Khan held up a copy of the US constitution to the camera to blast Republican candidate Donald Trump's unconstitutional proposals including the so-called Muslim ban, mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, torture, and more. Khzir, who lost his son, said with righteous anger to Trump, "you have sacrificed nothing." His message and delivery were disarming and effective. The Khan's, in their tragic loss, put a face and story to the importance of this election for voters who care about our nation living up to the ideals we aspire to.

Reverend Dr. William Barber of North Carolina, who spoke before Khan, was really the speaker who set the night on an emotionally charged course with his powerful, sermon-like speech. Barber called for a "moral revelation of values" to revive our democracy. Included in his call were: restoring the voting rights act, immigrant rights, renewing justice in the criminal justice system, implementing a ban on military style assault weapons, and more. In a national political speech that many in our community will never forget, Rev. Dr. Barber twice mentioned Palestinians in his call for moral leadership in the United States. His first reference to Jesus as a "brown skinned Palestinian Jew," was likely to shock many, but his second reference was breathtaking. He said, "when we love the Jewish child and the Palestinian child, the Muslim and the Christian and the Hindu and the Buddhist and those who have no faith but they love this nation, we are reviving the heart of our democracy." It was dignifying, and it was historic.

But, Rev. Barber wasn't the only one to bring the Israeli Palestinian people to the convention, but we are not going to applaud the other two speakers for doing so. When Representative Ted Deutch (D, FL-21) made his case for supporting Hillary Clinton, he included among his reasons that Clinton is the only candidate, "who will always stand by Israel and the Jewish community and not offend it." A pretty simple statement, but we should be concerned that "offending" Israel and the Jewish community does not become the new bar for being pro-Israel. Israel must be criticized for its occupation and discrimination against Palestinians. Then, during New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's speechCodePink took the opportunity to do what CodePink does best: protest against elected officials who have used their office to disenfranchise and dehumanize people across the world. Gov. Cuomo recently issued a condemnable Executive Order that blacklists businesses associated with "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction" actions that seek to end Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine. CodePink protestors on the convention floor unfurled several signs that read "Boycott Israel" and "I Support Palestinian Rights" - and they were kicked out for doing so.

There was one more disruption last night and it came during the fiery speech of Ret. U.S. Marine Corps General John Allen. Like Wednesday night, voices from the Washington and Oregon delegations began chanting "No More War!" only to bedrowned out by their fellow delegates with chants of "U-S-A." Gen. Allen's speech was heavy on military bravado, and his vision for U.S. military leadership abroad is far more assertive than the typical Bernie Sanders supporter is.

After the Conventions

Now that the primary is over, we're switching gears to the general election, 101 days away on November 8th. Our Yalla Vote campaign will be in full swing as we organize voter registration drives, host debate watch parties, recruit volunteers, and more! Stay tuned for a lot more from us!

 DNC Daily Dispatch Archives:

RNC Daily Dispatch Archives: