Great American dream

THE US presidential nomination conventions are invariably carefully choreographed affairs with well-rehearsed speeches. Which is hardly surprising, given the number of delegates and the stupendous media attention they attract.

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Published: Wed 27 Aug 2008, 10:19 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:55 PM

Yet no presidential convention in recent memory has had gotten off to such a spontaneous start as the Democratic Party convention in downtown Denver has. And no one could have opened the convention and set the right mood with a more stirring and moving speech as Senator Ted Kennedy did last night. The scion of Kennedy clan and brother of the late John F Kennedy, America's most popular and charismatic president ever, Ted Kennedy has been seriously ill and has been fighting a brain tumour. In fact, there were serious doubts about him making it to the convention.

Which is what added great poignancy to what he had to say at the convention. With his niece and JFK's daughter Caroline Kennedy standing behind him, the widely respected and liberal lion of the Democratic party reminded the party faithful and the Americans why they should throw their weight behind Barack Obama. A great deal has been said and written about the great American dream and how the first African American candidate has come to represent and epitomise it. However, the way Kennedy put it in his quavering voice at a time when he is fighting a life and death battle lent this typical American tale a surreal quality: "This November the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans. There is a new wave of change all around us. The work begins anew. The hope shall rise again. And the dream lives on."

Indeed. The dream lives on. And Obama is and stands for quintessential American dream. Like Caroline Kennedy put it: "Leaders like them come along rarely. But once or twice in a lifetime, they come along just when we need them the most. I have never had someone inspire me the way people tell me my father inspired them, but I do now, Barack Obama."

Stirring words, words that reflected the aspirations of the Democratic party members as well as American voters. And Michelle Obama's speech revealing the presidential candidate's 'family side' and how both of them come from ordinary and working class backgrounds: "Each of us also comes here tonight by way of our own improbable journey."

But it's what she said at the end of her speech that touched the people present at the convention and beyond: "I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president." Obama convinced his party that he would make a great president when he beat Hill and Bill Clinton at their own game. Whether he can convince the Americans and beat the Republicans at their game remains to be seen.

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