The Democratic National Convention started out feeling like a breath of fresh air. Like the air around the Great Lakes before the industrialization era. The environment was light-hearted, jovial, with music laughter, and dancing for all to enjoy. We kicked off the Convention in one of my favorite settings – a panel featuring women of color. I had a chance to meet a respected social media star and activist – @FemenistaJones, and to be in such an affirming space, at the very beginning of the Convention, was truly special. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect start.
As we dove into our activities of the Democratic National Convention, I enjoyed some more, and I learned some more. Following the panel, we entered the most affirming space I’ve ever been to – an art gallery at 990 Spring Garden Street. It consisted of a beautiful collection of progressive pieces depicting major American issues like gun violence, police brutality, and the criminal justice system. Every single piece of art touched me, and I was speechless as we toured the provocative sections, documenting the experiences and viewpoints many Black Americans feel daily. I will never forget this space.
I’ve found that these political conventions are special. Despite a difference in ideologies, the way these Conventions are constructed, you get completely absorbed in one person: the candidate. Trump saw a spike in his support after the Republican National Convention. He even had me rethinking my liberal values by the end of the Convention. This oversight was most likely due to our demanding schedule, yet I could not help but recognize the powerful nature of Conventions, confirmed by the end of the RNC, a power that is already evident at the DNC – by night two. The message is infectious, and the structure of the Convention begs the crowd to agree. Delegates and other attendees spend four days immersed with others who value what they value. We’re plunged into panels and discussion forums where we dissect the very cornerstones of our party, and constantly remind ourselves why we are liberal or conservative in the first place. Conventions bring the Party together not only to discuss the four-year platform and to secure to nomination, but they offer attendees a chance to explore Party politics in various forms – all in the name of democracy. In addition to spending time in the actual convention hall, our cohort has gone to a progressive art gallery, visited the senators of North Carolina, met with delegates who are alumni from Wake Forest, and sat on various panels across the political spectrum. We remained politically engaged the whole time, and I think this is an aspect of the Conventions that is largely underrated. They become increasingly affirming spaces for Party members – spaces that allow members to reexamine their politics and become more entrenched in the Party they belong to.
As a liberal Democrat, the DNC is a much better space to be in than the RNC was. Though I found the RNC to be thought-provoking and powerful, I cannot help but acknowledge the special influence the DNC has for me that the RNC could not. It has allowed me to spend time with other Democrats, reexamine my allegiance to their politics, and celebrate being in a like-minded space as people who think similarly to me. Not to mention the comfort of being in a space where actively hating others is not on the agenda. The DNC has been everything I want and more after a week in Cleveland; I can’t wait to see what it has in store over these last two days for Wake the Vote.