DNC 2016: John Fetterman Tells Sanders Supporters to Rally Around Clinton, John Lewis Gives One Hell of a Handshake, and Other Observations From Day 2
The delegate roll call began quietly inside the Wells Fargo Center. Far less people roamed the concourse on Day 2 than on Day 1 as each state verbally pledged their delegates and nominated Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States.
However, as delegates began exiting the floor, notable figures appeared. The media swarmed and people began filing in from the outside. The concourse became jammed with reporters and politicians.
Green Party Candidate Dr. Jill Stein casually walked through the arena surrounded by reporters and photographers. As she approached one section where delegates had been exiting the floor, she was met with a large group of supporters who began loudly chanting “Bernie or Jill.”
One man seemed to take offense to this chanting began yelling at Stein. About 100 people clustered around Stein, a reporter who was interviewing her, and the yelling man, many with their phones streaming video. But cooler heads prevailed and the crowd dispersed.
Spirit News spoke to several delegates in the arena. The Honorable Jacquelyne K. Weatherspoon, an elected delegate from New Hampshire, spent time working for the state department in the 1990s during the Bosnian War. She served in the New Hampshire legislature for 6 years. According to her, she has worked hard to support civil rights in her state and across the country. She is a supporter of Hillary Clinton.
“I worked in Bosnia-Hertzegovenia for the State Department. I lived there for the entire civil war,” Weatherspoon said. “[Hillary Clinton] has a proven record. I also worked with her in the Baltic States, when those were preparing their entry to the EU. So I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it, and she just empowers women. I wasn’t thinking of her being president, I was thinking she’s something to me and she’s saying you can serve, you can do this.”
Weatherspoon believes Hillary Clinton is qualified to be the next president and is proud to see a woman nominated by a major party.
“This was 240 years in the running. I cried,” Weatherspoon said. “I’m very happy, I’m very emotional, I’m very excited.”
As Weatherspoon and I mingled in the crowd, we soon found ourselves face to face with legendary civil rights activist and Georgia Representative John Lewis. In the 1960s, he was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was a keynote speaker at the “March on Washington” in August 1963. Lewis gained even more notoriety when he recently staged a sit-in with House Democrats where they demanded congress vote on gun legislation.
I extended my hand to the 76-year-old congressman and asked him why this election was important to him. Lewis did not let my hand go as he stared straight into my eyes, answering my question in a way that only someone of great poise and eloquence could. The swarm of people around us quieted as he spoke.
“We hear over and over again, that a certain election is the most important one in our lifetime. This one is. There’s forces on the other side that want to take us back, want to divide our country,” Rep. Lewis said. “As I said, and I second Hillary Clinton, we’ve come too, far we’ve made too much progress to go back. As one people, as one family, the American Family. We all live in the same house, the American house, and we will not be divided.”
A few steps away from Lewis, we caught up with Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, who was a speaker at the convention, and asked him the same question.
“Trump has said he is anxious to appoint someone like the late justice Scalia. He (Scalia) was not a friend to minorities,” Cummings said. “We can not be about the business of rewarding someone who calls women bad names, who says that John McCain was a good soldier, but when he got caught suddenly wasn’t a great soldier. That’s not who we are. We need folks that will help us be united as opposed to turn ourselves against each other”
John Fetterman, the towering Mayor of Braddock, Penn., who ran a tough Senate primary race, snuck up right behind us. He was an outspoken Sanders supporter during his campaign, but now he’s supporting Clinton.
“I have three young kids. We as a party need to get behind Hillary Clinton and do everything we can to make sure she’s the next president and that Donald Trump isn’t the next president,” Fetterman said.
Fetterman also hopes Sanders supporters will look at him as an example of putting differences aside to unify the Democratic party.
“I ran the as most progressive candidate in my race and I came up short,” Fetterman said. “You have to do what’s right for your country, your family and you have to defeat Donald Trump. The Bernie or Busters, I would just implore them as a fellow Sanders supporter that we’ve got to evolve, and we’ve got to get behind Secretary Clinton.”