When the Democratic National Committee announced their national convention’s keynote speaker, the murmurs began, “Why did they put a mayor in center stage?” ” Why did they put someone from red-state Texas out front?” The keynote is usuallyreserved for powerful, national candidates. While mayors have appeared before the Democratic national convention in the past, such as Mario Cuomo’s powerful 1984 speech; it has been more the exception than the rule.
The 38-year-old Julian Castro, however, is symbolic of a bright future.
Raised by divorced parents, he worked his way up through both Stanford then Harvard Law School. A grandson of a Mexican orphan, he came in to this world with the deck stacked against him. A bright student, he skipped the sophomore year in high school, and graduated ninth in his class.
He ran first for city council, then for mayor of San Antonio, Texas. His 2011 re-election he won 82% of the vote, unheard of for a Democratic mayor in what is considered red-state Texas.
His choice for the keynote was not for his political connections, or for his oration skills, but for his genuine and heartfelt story. He came before the convention to tell his story. Instead of driving a stake into the heart of the Romney campaign, he barely touched on the Republican candidate; discussing the Republican party platform, before going in to his own story. This will not win him fans from those on the Right, and likely will gain him ridicule from the racists to be found there. But it mattered where it counts, in the hearts and minds of the American people.