DENVER ” I write this from the Democratic National Convention in Denver as a Clinton delegate representing Oklahoma. Only halfway through the week’s events, I have heard Sen. Hillary Clinton at three events already, Michelle Obama at two, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. I’ve also heard speeches from numerous other male and female dignitaries, both elected and private citizens.
I’m sure you have heard reports from the convention whether you are Democrat or Republican. I won’t repeat the news accounts. I certainly won’t go the path of rumor and innuendo.
What I do want to talk about is a central and constant theme of this convention as voiced by Hillary, Michelle, and many leaders as they addressed audiences throughout the city of Denver. The theme is one that is very close to my heart and, in fact, is the center of my life’s work. That theme is our nation’s children.
Michelle Obama said it perhaps most eloquently: “Barack and I want all children to enjoy the same privileges that our children have.” Listening to and watching her with their two young daughters makes it clear that her role as mother is never far from her mind or the depths of her heart.
Hillary Clinton said this election is not about today; it is not about us. It is about the future our children will inherit.
Frequent words this week have been “hope,” “promise,” “fairness.”
Barack Obama talks about the too frequent disconnect between “who we can be” and “who we are” and that we should not settle because who we can be is possible and attainable. He sees that as one of the major challenges he brings to his anticipated presidency: the promise of fairness and opportunity for all.
Could it be that in an Obama administration all children will have necessary, available health care? That all children will experience the privilege and promise of high quality education with well-qualified and professionally salaried teachers? Could it be that social services will be sufficiently funded so at-risk children are truly protected and their families receive needed services so that reunification, if appropriate, is efficiently obtained? Could it be that all U.S. youngsters achieve the dream of post-secondary education?
Could it be that the future all parents dream of for their children becomes reality, not just a mirage?
Only time will tell, assuming Barack Obama is our next president.
I do know this: Never before in my lifetime has the political syntax and election platform been so targeted on children and, thereby, on families and basic American values of hope and opportunity.
Dare I believe? Dare I hope? If behavior reveals our values more than words, then what the Obama family is showing us in the consistency of their actions and words is that the reality of all children benefiting in this society can be attained. Children enjoying the privileges of a stable family, developing within the arms of firm and loving guidance, thriving in a healthy environment and with good nutrition, and blossoming through high-quality education is “who we can be.”
Boyd, a former state legislator and 1998 Democratic gubernatorial nominee, is owner and chief executive officer of Policy and Performance Consultants Inc.