Bill Clinton is the last President who showed a flair for letting the good times roll: economic prosperity, budget surpluses, a nation at peace with the world. The party wants us to remember that they, too, were behind the good times as Clinton makes a primetime speech, the night before Obama’s actual nomination. Democrats want us to feel the love we had for the popular former President, even if we sometimes shake our heads over his misadventures.
Elizabeth Warren will also speak in primetime that night, just before Clinton. She gives today’s voters exactly what they need in uncertain times: understanding, sympathy, protection, and a promise to invoke the helpful spirit we expect from America. She speaks so clearly to our issues, to our current struggles, and identifies so closely with the middle-class, that citizens from across the nation are opening their wallets to boost her campaign for Senator from Massachusetts. President Obama is tuned in right along with us, having adopted much of her rhetoric in his own campaign.
Then there’s the keynote speaker, Julian Castro–the man who will set the tone for the whole convention when he speaks on opening night. While many of us were left asking Julian who?, the White House has had their eye on this rising Latino star–the 37-year-old mayor of San Antonio, Texas–for a couple of years. During Castro’s term, San Antonio has become the nation’s seventh largest city. It boasts a healthy economy and a vibrant Latino community that makes up 60% of San Antonio’s population.
Although raised by a single, activist mother who promoted the power of Latinos in the Southwest, Castro is described in a New York Times profile as a pragmatic politician. His mother, Rosie, hates San Antonio’s premiere tourist attraction, the Alamo, for what it symbolizes to Mexican-Americans. Julian sees it as an asset in promoting the tourism trade. She describes herself as Chicana; he describes himself as Mexican-American. As mayor, he helped get explanatory signage for the Alamo placed on city property. “I don’t want to turn my back on my mother’s generation,” he said. “But we are less burdened.”
A graduate of both Stanford University and Harvard Law School, Castro has all the right credentials for higher office. As a pragmatist, his ability to see conflictual situations with a clear eye and to get things done provide plenty of reason for hope. He wants to remind the nation that our continuing investments in people like himself are essential to achieving the American dream.
Past, present, future. Love, understanding, hope. A white man, a woman, a Latino. The Democratic Party wants us to remember that it has–and embraces–it all.