Vol. 7    No. 19
SEPTEMBER 20, 2012

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000

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The Capital City Hues
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Madison, WI 53725
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(608) 241-2000
Advertising: Claire G. Mendoza


Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual,  & Martinez White
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                        Reflections on the DNC
It’s one of those funny things about our tax code. I had lost what for me was a lot of money last year as one
of the partners in The Capital City Hues that because of the ability to deduct that loss from my income, I didn’t
owe as much money as I normally would. Have no fear Mitt Romney, I still paid federal and state income
taxes even though I feel like I am a member of the 47 percent.

So when it came time to pay my taxes after receiving a check for some work that I did this summer, I
experienced a windfall of sorts and later found a use for it.

I applied for press credentials to the Democratic National Convention last March. The deadline for applying
was April 15th. I didn’t hear back from them for quite some time, so I figured that I wasn’t one of the chosen
few. But lo and behold, at the beginning of August, I received an e-mail requesting additional information and
a few days later, I received my notification that I would be granted credentials. And I received one of the last
rooms available of the hotel rooms that had been reserved by the DNCC Media committee. I was bound for

It was pretty cool attending the convention in Charlotte — I’m sure the same holds true for the Republican
convention as well. The city of Charlotte made sure that everyone felt welcome. On Labor Day, they hosted a
street festival called Charlotte Fest, the brainchild of Charlotte’s African American mayor, the first Democrat
elected mayor there in decades.

The Democratic National Convention was the gathering place for the rich and powerful in the Democratic
Party as well as the every day people who make up the core of their delegates. Congress people and
cabinet secretaries would walk on by. Rosario Dawson, the actress who starred with Will Smith in Men in
Black was at the Latino Leader Network luncheon along with Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm
Workers of America. Rev. Jesse Jackson was prominent in the African American Caucus, but he didn’t
have a speaking role at the convention.

On Monday night, I had the good fortune to get myself invited to the APIA Vote reception. One of the
speakers, Congressman Mike Honda of California, one of the elders of the Asian Pacific Island American
delegation to Congress, remarked that it was the biggest gathering of Asian Pacific Island American elected
officials that he had ever attended. It was certainly a privilege to be sitting in on and recording this
historical moment.

It was clear from those who spoke that the largest contingent of APIA  elected officials come from the West
Coast, particularly California and Hawaii. However, there are APIA elected officials from across the country.
Tammy Duckworth, the Congressional candidate from Illinois was there. Duckworth was a co-pilot of a
Blackhawk helicopter that was shot down in Iraq when she lost both of her legs. She was such a source of
inspiration and courage. Later during the formal proceedings of the convention, Duckworth’s walk across
the stage with out use of her wheelchair drew tremendous applause from those in attendance.

During all three days of the convention, we sat through six hours of speeches and performances. I hate
sitting through speeches myself, but I have to admit that the time passed quickly for the vast majority of the
speakers were gifted orators. On Tuesday night, I was able to get a floor pass and so, I got relatively up
close when San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro gave his keynote speech and First Lady Michelle Obama gave
her tender and personal story about President Obama and why she is supportive of him. Each of them held
the audience in the palm of their hands and you could see the light shine from their eyes as they knew the
delegates were totally with them.

It was also cool to go down into the pit where the entrance to the floor was. This is where the media base of
operations was for the major networks. I saw CBS’ Bob Schieffer walking the halls and rode down the
elevator with MSNBC political commentator Joy Reid.

For years, I had been watching many of the figures walking around on television and now here they were
doing their thing, whether it was appearing at the convention or reporting on it.

During the many speeches that were given, it became clear that President Obama has accomplished much
during his four-year tenure. Much of that can be forgotten over the course of time. When he first took office,
the first bill he signed was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Affordable Care Act has already impacted the
lives of those with pre-existing conditions or those who had hit the ceiling in their health care policies. It
was stated that of the 35 million Americans who now have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act,
dubbed Obamacare, nine million are Latino, over one of every four.

And one couldn’t help but be impressed with how multicultural and diverse the Democratic National
Convention was. No matter where you looked or what level of the Democratic machine you looked at,
people of color were well represented. And all up and down his appointments, President Obama has
appointed a significant contingent of people of color to important posts. Diversity at the Democratic National
Convention wasn’t for show. It was just the every day business of the convention.

As one got closer and closer to prime time, the status of the speakers became more and more prominent.
And so Julián Castro, Michelle Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton spoke
and gave speeches that received thunderous ovations. One of the most animated and crowd rousing
speeches was given by former Michigan Mayor Jennifer Granholm. As she emphasized the positive impact
on jobs that the auto industry bailout had, she would point at a delegation, let’s say from Ohio, and proclaim
how many jobs were saved or created in Ohio and the Ohio delegation would stand and applaud. She did
this with 6-7 states and the cheering kept rising until the crescendo of her speech. It was remarkable

And of course the highlight of the convention was the acceptance speech of President Barack Obama,
which was held in the Time Warner Cable Auditorium instead of the stadium that serves as the home of the
NFL’s Carolina Panthers due to the threat of rain. Tens of thousands of volunteers and others who came to
Charlotte just to see the President speak in the stadium were disappointed by the decision and President
Obama promised to come back during the campaign and speak with them. I felt privileged to be one of
18,000 who saw him speak in the arena.

I have watched President Obama give speeches since I first saw him at the NAACP National Convention in
Milwaukee in 2005. This was probably one of his more subdued speeches in comparison to the others. As
he himself remarked, he was speaking to them this time not as a candidate, but as the President of the
United States. It was incredible to reflect on that fact, especially in light of John Lewis’ speech earlier in the
evening. President Obama’s speech was, I guess I would say, presidential. The soaring vision of 2008 was
tempered by four years as President.

Nonetheless, his speech showed us that we have come a ways since 2008 and there is a lot more to be
accomplished. At the end of his speech, it was touching to see him with Michelle and their daughters on
stage, an example of to the nation and the world what a nuclear family should be and what it can

I couldn’t help but feel that President Obama did get a bounce in his poll numbers from this masterful
convention. But he will need to count on the energy of the delegates and those they represent to get the vote
out in his favor if he is to win re-election for he will be outgunned when it comes to the purchase of political
television ads by Mitt Romney and the superPACs that support him.

I felt that I was a witness to history during my five days in Charlotte. It is something that everyone should
see up close and personal during their lifetimes for it is political conventions such as these that determine
who will exercise governmental power over their lives for at least a four-year period. This is a key
component to democracy that everyone should experience first hand. Now on to November.
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