If Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention had a unifying theme, it would be "land of opportunity." America watched as Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan father and Kansan mother, spun rhetorical gold with such lines as "In a tolerant America, your name is not a barrier to success." Obama, the Illinois candidate for the U.S. Senate, played up American unity amid diversity and minimized the distinctions between the red states and blue states. And did he really tell people to turn off their TVs? Yowza!
Howard Dean also sought to blast red state-blue state stereotypes, saying this would be the year we'd be "proud to call ourselves Democrats in Mississippi, in Utah, and in Idaho." Thanks for that, governor! The real highlight of Dean's speech, though, was the thunderous, nearly-two-minute ovation he received after being announced as the man who re-energized the Democratic party.
Ron Reagan billed his speech on behalf of stem cell research as non-partisan, but he got in an excellent dig at those who would let the "theology of the few" dictate healing possibilities for the masses. The 12-year-old head of Kids for Kerry was a hoot when she said Dick Cheney ought to get a "time out" for his recent use of "a very bad word."
Teresa Heinz Kerry capped off the evening. Again, the theme was how in America, anything is possible, but she, too, made some pointed comments - without naming names - about the Bush administration's mismanagement of foreign policy. Referring to the thousands of names engraved on the Vietnam War memorial in Washington, she said they show "the awful toll exacted by leaders who mistake stubborness for strength." Some of her best lines, however, had to do with how her husband was committed to "lifting everyone up ... after all, it's the American thing to do."