Diane Abbott's Daily Reports from the floor of the DNC: Day One
Supporters of Hilary Clinton often lament that, the possibility of her becoming the first female President of the United States has never been seen as momentous an achievement as it should be. There are reasons for this, and they are not all to do with misogyny.
Partly it is about optics. Families who look like Hilary Clinton's family have occupied the White House ever since it was built. Hilary herself lived in it for eight years when her husband was president. But a black family in the White House is still extra-ordinary and special. I have seen Hilary step on and off Air Force One for years. But I still remember the thrill I felt when I saw a black man come down those steps as President of the United States.
The special nature of the Obama presidency was illustrated once again, by the rapturous welcome he received from the Democratic Party faithful at last nights Democratic National Convention. There were thousands of people in the arena; black and white, old and young. But everyone's face glowed with pride. Even the Bernie Sanders supporters were quiet and respectful. In return Obama took the opportunity, in his speech, to recommend the Bernie people's passion and hard work to the rest of the party.
Some argue that there are things to criticise about the Obama presidency. The use of drones and an alleged obeisance to Wall Street are amongst them. But ordinary Democrats know that they and they alone, with their hard work and faith, did that extra-ordinary thing and put a black man in the White House. And for one brief shining moment, before the inevitable white backlash kicked in, the American Democratic party showed to the world what American democracy is capable of. So, whatever criticisms there are, Democrats will always be incredibly invested in and incredibly proud of the Obama presidency.
This National Convention is all about Hilary. But last night Barack Obama gave his last speech as President of the United States of America to a Democratic National Convention and, as he put it, "passed the baton on" to Hilary Clinton. It was a great speech. But, above all, Obama was urging his supporters to strain every nerve and sinew to elect America's first woman president. Just as they had thrown everything into putting a black man into the White House. A house built by slaves.
Diane Abbott is the shadow health secretary and Labour MP for Hackney North. She is currently attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as an international delegate representing the Labour PartySuggest a correction