The nominating conventions are over. What a tremendous two weeks it has been. We experienced dissent from the podium in Cleveland and the convention floor in Philadelphia, but the match-ups are in place.
The politically untested Donald J. Trump and his pious sidekick Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will face off against former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her Hispanophile ballot-mate Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
Many have framed the 2016 election in absolute terms. Each pair of hopefuls has vastly differing views of the current state of affairs in this country and distinct prescriptions for the direction in which our nation should head.
Last night, the Democrats aimed to accentuate those differences as Hillary Clinton accepted her party’s nomination for President of the United States. An appeal to conservatives was also apparent, as dozens of former military personnel and members of military families took to the stage.
One of the most effective denunciations of the various xenophobic positions espoused by Donald Trump came from the father of a Muslim American United States Army Captain who died in a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2004.
Trump has continuously called for a travel ban on Muslims and has gone as far as contemplating a Muslim national registry. Khizr Kahn, whose son died as a U.S. soldier in Iraq, spoke with power and emotion to the delegates, flanked by his wife, about his son and forcefully took issue with Trump’s propositions.
“Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” exclaimed Kahn as he pulled out a copy of our nation’s founding document.
The crescendo of the night reached its peak as former and possibly our next First Daughter Chelsea Clinton introduced her mother. Her story line for the night was a personal description of “Hillary Clinton, Mom.” A side that we rarely see from the stately public figure.
We heard about the “wonderful, thoughtful, hilarious mother,” as Chelsea gave an intimate but studied speech.
Hillary Clinton took to the podium as the first woman to address a major party as a presidential nominee. The historical significance of the event cannot be overstated.
Her speech was well-delivered and impeccably written. She argued in favor of her abilities and against the rhetoric of the GOP nominee. “In the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: that America is great -- because America is good. So enough with the bigotry and bombast. Donald Trump’s not offering real change.”
In terms of presentation, the Clinton women don’t have the star presence on stage we saw during the first few days of the convention, or from the Trumps in Cleveland last week.
But the election isn’t a contest of oration or bluster. It’s a contest of ideas and ideals, of knowledge and poise. Either Clinton or Trump will be the face of our country and spearhead policy for the next four years. Let’s hope America elects someone we can be proud of.