Disunity in the City of Brotherly Love

The Democratic National Convention takes a dramatic twist.

On Sunday the show was “Run DNC,” with the email scandal that toppled Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and confirmed for many that, as Donald Trump contended, the system was rigged and Bernie Sanders didn’t have a chance. Monday it was Ladies Night in Philadelphia, and the story took a dramatic twist.

Leah Daughtry, CEO of the DNC, set the tone early explaining that the goal was to break “the highest and hardest class ceiling” and elect Hillary Clinton. But from the start, chants of  “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie” rang through the arena. Those chants persisted even as Linda Sanchez, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said that Hillary Clinton was “bad-ass and ready to lead.”

“As a pretty, kick-ass woman once said, ‘it takes a village,’” said comedian Sarah Silverman, appearing with Senator-comedian Al Franken, who told the convention that she had been “feeling the Bern” and supported Senator Bernie Sanders and his ideals. Many in the stands wondered how this conflict was to be resolved.

“Hillary Clinton heard the passion of the people behind Bernie and brought those people into the platform,” said Silverman, and this was an example of democracy in action.  So Silverman would proudly vote for Hillary Clinton as “the only person to be overqualified for the job as president.” Still, the “Bernie” chants continued.

For American Federation of Teachers boss, Randi Weingarten, shaking with emotion, Hillary was “the most qualified candidate for president in our lifetime.” Therefore, “we must elect Hillary.”  For actress Eva Longoria, Hillary Clinton was “the most qualified presidential candidate ever.” Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in the NBA, said “we must elect Hillary Clinton as the next president.”

This mandate to elect Hillary came across as some kind of civic duty, with prophetic force, yet the chants of “Bernie” “Bernie” continued.

John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, told Sanders’ supporters that “this is your victory too.” Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley told the conventioneers “we owe enormous debt to Bernie Sanders, and his “bold solutions.” In fact, “Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have forged most progressive platform in our party’s history.”

The speakers also understood that good villains make for good drama, and many speakers targeted Republican nominee Donald Trump. Trump “ripped off people,” Podesta said. For Merkley, Trump “got rich by taking advantage of workers and cheating,” therefore “he is the problem.” The AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka told the crowd that Trump was “wrong wrong wrong” and “a phony.”  AFSCME boss Lee Saunders described Trump as a “thin-skinned bully who puts himself first.”

Illinois Representative Luis Gutierrez called Trump a “bigot” and for Elizabeth Warren Trump was a “cheat” who “never sacrificed, cares only for himself, every minute of every day.” Above all, Warren said, “Donald Trump is a man who must never be president of the United States.” That brought cheers, but the chants of “Bernie” never subsided.

The chants briefly changed to “Black Lives Matter” during the speech of First Lady Michelle Obama, who told the convention that “police officers and protesters” in Dallas, “all desperately want to keep our kids safe.” Likewise, as Secretary of State, Hillary “traveled the world to keep our kids safe,” and she was “the one person I trust” for presidency, the First Lady said.

Still, the chants of “Bernie” continued and Bernie Sanders his own self would get the last word. He thanked his volunteers and contributors and told them “no one is more disappointed than I am” in the result of Democrats’ selection process. That brought the strongest response yet from Bernie’s supporters.

The election, Sanders said, was “not about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump” or other candidates. His supporters had “begun a political revolution to transform America, and that revolution continues.”

Some in the crowd might have recalled that in 2008 Democratic candidate Barack Obama vowed to transform America. The nation had since “come a long way,” Sanders said thanking the president, but after eight years apparently the nation still needs to be transformed.  “I will be part of that struggle with you,” Sanders said, and it was all about leadership.

“Based on her ideas and her leadership,” Sanders told the convention, “Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.”

So despite all the shouting, the disappointed socialist was down with the result. There was no conflict inherent in the system, after all, and Hillary “must” become president. Even so, as the evening wound down, they kept chanting “Bernie” “Bernie” in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.

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