Opening day of the Democratic National Convention was tumultuous and leaders of the Democratic Party were noticeably anxious for a better part of the day.
Early in the day, protesters owned the streets; the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairperson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was booed by her own state delegation and forced into resignation in the wake of the DNC email scandal; Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, selected to gavel the session to order in lieu of Wasserman Schultz initially left the podium without executing the traditional pounding of the gavel; and, Bernie Sanders’ delegates wreaked havoc on the convention floor while outside oppressive heat and a thunderous downpour seemed to reflect the overall mood inside the Wells Fargo Center.
Many Sanders’ supporters, who represented approximately 45 percent of the delegates in attendance would not be cajoled or swayed to get on board the Hillary Clinton train despite repeated attempts by Sanders and others to persuade them to do so—many believe it is more the responsibility of Clinton to win them over.
Interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile offered an official apology on behalf of the committee for the email fiasco. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email. These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process."
As the day slid into evening and prime time speakers one after another took the stage, although many Sanders supporters did not shift their position or temper disappointment, the mood in the center was slowly elevated and the day ended on a high note.
From NAACP CEO Ben Jealous to Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren to Senator Sanders himself the speakers lifted the name and promise of Hillary Clinton and acknowledged the accomplishments of the Sanders revolution that resulted in the most progressive DNC platform in history and successfully changed the rules to severely limit the impact of Super-delegates in future elections—all major victories owed to Sanders and his supporters.
However, the evening was clearly owned by First Lady Michelle Obama who delivered a speech wildly heralded as one for the ages. View it online at youtube.com/watch?v=4ZNWYqDU948.