Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a Democratic National Convention like no other began on Monday with a common call of uniting the country and defeating President Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election on November 3.
During the convention, the party is to formally nominate former vice-president Joe Biden (77) as its presidential candidate and Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris (55) as his running mate.
The four-day convention is being held virtually in view of the coronavirus that has so far killed over 170,000 people and infected 5.4 million in the US. On the first day of the convention, several speakers including Senator Bernie Sander, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Former First Lady Michelle Obama, shared their vision about affordable health care, housing and education and Trump’s response to COVID-19. Here’s what all was said on Day 1:
Nero fiddled while Rome burned: Bernie Sanders
*Our great nation is now living in an unprecedented moment. We are facing the worst public health crisis in 100 years and the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. We are confronting systemic racism and the enormous threat to our planet of climate change. And, in the midst of all of this, we have a president who is not only incapable of addressing these crises but is leading us down the path of authoritarianism
*This election is the most important in the modern history of this country. In response to the unprecedented crises we face, we need an unprecedented response—a movement, like never before, of people who are prepared to stand up and fight for democracy and decency—and against greed, oligarchy, and bigotry. And we need Joe Biden as our next president.
*This president is not just a threat to our democracy, but by rejecting science, he has put our lives and health in jeopardy. Trump has attacked doctors and scientists trying to protect us from the pandemic, while refusing to take strong action to produce the masks, gowns, and gloves our health care workers desperately need.
*Nero fiddled while Rome burned; Trump golfs.
*His (Trump’s)actions fanned this pandemic resulting in over 170,000 deaths and a nation still unprepared to protect its people.
*The American people have caught on that this president and his administration are, to put it bluntly, frauds.
Trump is the wrong president for our country: Michelle Obama
*It’s a hard time, and everyone’s feeling it in different ways. And I know a lot of folks are reluctant to tune into a political convention right now or to politics in general. Believe me, I get that. But I am here tonight because I love this country with all my heart, and it pains me to see so many people hurting.
*I am one of a handful of people living today who have seen firsthand the immense weight and awesome power of the presidency. And let me once again tell you this: the job is hard. It requires clear-headed judgment, a mastery of complex and competing issues, a devotion to facts and history, a moral compass, and an ability to listen—and an abiding belief that each of the 330,000,000 lives in this country has meaning and worth.
If we want to end the chaos and division—and keep alive the possibility of progress on the issues we hold dear—we’ve got to vote for @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris like our lives depend on it. Register today by texting VOTE to 30330. https://t.co/xPu5o0SYLJ
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) August 18, 2020
*More than 150,000 people have died, and our economy is in shambles because of a virus that this president downplayed for too long. It has left millions of people jobless.
* Too many have lost their health care; too many are struggling to take care of basic necessities like food and rent; too many communities have been left in the lurch to grapple with whether and how to open our schools safely. Internationally, we’ve turned our back, not just on agreements forged by my husband, but on alliances championed by presidents like Reagan and Eisenhower.
*And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a Black life matters is still met with derision from the nation’s highest office. Because whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division, and a total and utter lack of empathy.
*So what do we do now? What’s our strategy? Over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me, “When others are going so low, does going high still really work?” My answer: going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that’s drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight.
*So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.
*I know Joe. He is a profoundly decent man, guided by faith. He was a terrific vice president. He knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic, and lead our country. And he listens. He will tell the truth and trust science.
We need a leader who can unify, not divide: Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor
*Our nation is in crisis. And in many ways, COVID is just a metaphor. A virus attacks when the body is weak and when it cannot defend itself. Over these past few years, America’s body politic has been weakened. The divisions have been growing deeper.
*The antisemitism, the anti-Latino, the anti-immigrant fervor, the racism in Charlottesville where the KKK didn’t even bother to wear their hoods, and in Minnesota where the life was squeezed from Mr. Floyd. Only a strong body can fight off the virus, and America’s divisions weakened it.
*Donald Trump didn’t create the initial division. The division created Trump.
*The virus had been attacking us for months before they even knew it was here. We saw the failure of a government that tried to deny the virus, then tried to ignore it, and then tried to politicize it.
*Americans learned the critical lesson, how vulnerable we are when we are divided and how many lives can be lost when our government is incompetent.
*Now, we need a leader as good as our people, a leader who appeals to the best within us, not the worst. A leader who can unify, not divide. A leader who can bring us up, not tear us down.
*Joe Biden can restore the soul of America. And that’s exactly what our country needs today.
America is at a crossroads: John Kasich, Former Governor of Ohio
*America is at a crossroads. Sometimes elections represent a real choice, a choice we make as individuals and as a nation about which path we want to take when we’ve come to challenging times.
*The stakes in this election are greater than any in modern times.
*I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country. That’s why I’ve chosen to appear at this convention.
*I’m proud of my Republican heritage. It’s the party of Lincoln, who reflected its founding principles of unity and a higher purpose. But what I have witnessed these past four years belies those principles.
*Many of us can’t imagine four more years going down this path, and that’s why I’m asking you to join with me in choosing a better way forward.