Former Arizona Representative Gabby Giffords, shot in the head in 2011 as she held a constituent event, set the message for the DNC last evening: “Today, I struggle with speech, but I have not lost my voice. America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words. We are at a crossroads. We can choose to let this continue or we can act.” She implored listeners to vote.
In a somber speech, former President Barack Obama warned that, in this election, American democracy is at stake. He outlined the strengths he sees in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, then warned people not to let “this president and those in power… those who benefit from keeping things the way they are… [to] take away your power. Don’t let them take away your democracy…. What we do echoes through the generations.”
It was a powerful speech—one for the ages, really—and it set up the night’s final speaker, California Senator Kamala Harris, now the Democratic candidate for vice president.
Harris tied Obama’s theme to her own story as the American-born child of immigrants, reminding us that America is a “a beloved community where all are welcome.”
But not everyone sees America that way. “I think we need to ask ourselves, why don’t they want us to vote?” she said. “Why is there so much effort to silence our voices? And the answer is because when we vote, things change. When we vote, things get better…. Years from now, this moment will have passed. And our children and our grandchildren will look in our eyes and ask us: Where were you when the stakes were so high? … And we will tell them. We will tell them, not just how we felt. We will tell them what we did.”
—Heather Cox Richardson
“Don’t forget: Joe and Kamala can win 3 million more votes and still lose,” Hillary Clinton said. “Take it from me.”