Witness: Democracy’s Present Meets the Past

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It was an incredible sea of humanity in front of Independence Hall last night. Thousands came out for the rally for Hillary Clinton. It is, however, true that many showed up for a free acoustic set from two legendary Jersey boys:  Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.

As I snapped the picture above I could not help but think about the history I was witnessing. This column is not about partisan politics. While the event itself was obviously partisan, the symbolism was truly and uniquely American.

Those scores of people saw the first black president in what will likely be his last public appearance in the city where our democracy began.  Just across the street from where President Obama spoke is an outdoor museum marking the site of the President’s House.  It is where Presidents George Washington and John Adams lived.

It was the nation’s first mansion for a chief executive, and where Washington brought several African slaves to live and labor.

More than 200 years later and you have the first African-American president speaking one block away from that spot, built by slaves.  Wow.

On top of that, Obama ceremonially passed the torch to Hillary Clinton, on the verge of becoming the first female president.

All of this happened in the same city where Clinton became the first woman to head a major party’s presidential ticket. That brings me to this photo from the Democratic National Convention this past summer.

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What you see most of here is the political leaders; the delegates who nominated Clinton in July. Some call them elites who may or may not be in touch with the real people across our land. The Republicans have theirs too. But then consider this as you look at the first picture I posted.

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Most of the people I saw here were “regular folks.” Most did not have any political pedigree. They were not the inside-baseball analysts you see on TV. Most of them were either stacked and packed on the media risers with cameras, or staying warm in posh New York studios.

The people in that sea of humanity were We The People.

Sure, most were Democrats because of the nature of the event but some Republicans may have been there too, just trying to get a look (or take in some good old fashioned rock n’ roll).

But think about this: that picture represents a microcosm of 2016 Americans who will use the freedoms enshrined in that great hall behind them: most notably the rights to peacefully assemble and to speak freely.

What a thing to see!

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