Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Supplier Diversity Experts At Creating Opportunity Conference


Perhaps the most poignant moment of the Democratic celebration in Charlotte was former Congresswoman Gabriel Gifford’s recitation of the pledge of allegiance. Slow and halting, at first it sounded like a child. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible…” And then it was obvious that the slight slurring of the words and the deliberate pace were the result of her painstaking, herculean effort to overcome the brain damage done by the deranged gunman who shot her at point blank range and killed 6 others. All wrapped up in the few seconds of her presentation were all of our hopes and fears – the courage, the will to overcome adversity, the senselessness of violence, the eternal triumph of the human spirit. Every morning by 8:00 a.m. each state held delegate meetings. D.J. Johnson, the former basketball player and now Mayor of Sacramento came by to share his hilarious trepidation at leaving his ID behind when invited to visit the White House. Our own Atlanta Mayor and Meet the Press Super Star Kasim Reed and Rev. Jesse Jackson and Dr. Joseph Lowery also came by to cheer us on. Given the late adjournment time of the official sessions, the early morning meetings and the late night parties, sleep was in short supply. On our first night the Congressional Black Caucus held a nice party at Charlotte’s Epicentre and served barbecue. I was forced to explain to culturally deprived Georgians that the only proper way to eat barbecue is with Cole slaw. I kept looking for Leader Clyburn, but never saw him come it. I did get to dance the Wobble with a bunch of people, including a few members of Congress and their wives. The Georgia delegation sat in front of Vermont. When Senator Patrick Leahy came down to greet his constituents, none of them was any more ecstatic than I was to see the hero of the Senate Judiciary Committee – the man who did more than any other to reduce the crack/powder sentencing disparity. Joe Biden oversimplified what’s at stake – “GM is alive and Bin Laden is dead.” Rev. Jackson reminded me at breakfast that the U.S. has not traditionally supported assassination of foreign leaders, e.g. Castro. And for anyone who thinks Janet Granholm acted like a crazy lady on stage, she has a right to exuberant enthusiasm. I can remember how she seemed near tears begging Congress to send aid to Michigan at the beginning of the recession when she was still Governor of Michigan. If anyone has the right to be over-the-top glad that President Obama bailed out the auto industry, it is she. I don’t know if the TV audiences got to see all the musical entertainment. It was as eclectic as the delegation. From James Taylor, to Mary J Blige, to the Foo Fighters, there was something for everyone. And that is just like the Democratic Party. President for Life Bill Clinton put it best, “Do you want a country where we are all in it together, or do you want to go it on your own?” Food for thought and inspiration to vote. Words cannot adequately describe the excitement, anticipation, pride and unmitigated joy that pervaded the hall when President Obama took the stage. There was so much cheering and flag-waving that it felt that the whole world was rooting for the President’s re-election. I was so happy that a friend was able to wrangle a couple of press passes for my sister, Davida and my cousin Ann. Looking at the crowd every night in the Time Warner Arena you could see America. Not just on the stage, but in the seats. Democrats are old, young, able, disabled, black, white, Latino, Asian, male, female, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, agnostic, straight and gay. They made me proud to be a Democrat. For those few days in Charlotte, we were one nation, tied together, not by race, ethnicity, religion or gender, but all loyal to a Republic based upon an idea, as ephemeral and substantial as they come – liberty and justice for all. Based on today’s news and polls, the President looks like a shoo-in. But supporters of President Obama should not be lured into complacency. The President is enjoying a nice post-convention bounce. It will wear off in the weeks ahead and the polls will tighten. Use these last few days of the campaign to call, text and email your friends and neighbors in North Carolina and Florida. Visit those states if you can. Vote early in your own elections, because all the races are important. Take the time to help someone get their ID in order. Do more than cheer - vote. Remember, we get the kind of government we deserve. Janice L. Mathis, Esq. Vice President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition