It's really a shame this speech was not made in prime time, because he really said what many others said, but in a way that you felt as though you should fly when he was done. It was healing to hear him talk about how the cynics have tried to kill hope, while calling for hope to be our main motivator. Here's the text from that part, which is at about 4:00 or so.
There's something essential in the human spirit that always searches for hope. We are driven by hope. President Barack Obama has been lampooned for speaking of hope. Hope for a better America.
I want to encourage our President and all of us to continue to hope for an America that remembers, recognizes and federally protects its greatness. Yes, Mr. President, hope on. Continue to hope, Mr. President. No matter what, Mr. President, you keep on hoping! When everything is gone, you continue to hope.
As long as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sits on the throne of grace, Mr. President, hope on! Hope on!
Mr. President, we want you to speak of hope to the American people because it is impossible for hope to overdraw its account in God's bank. The tough times our nation faced may have caused us great pain but they must not and will not cause us to lose our hope.
The C-SPAN video doesn't do justice to the reaction of the crowd at that point. It was deafening and electric. Everyone was on their feet, reaching for something besides criticism and bitterness.
And they had a reason. It isn't like there hasn't been change over the past four years, which Cleaver listed in the opening moments of his speech when he declared it was just fine to "color me liberal; color me Democrat." He, like most of the speakers at the convention, wrapped themselves around the too-long demonized term "liberal" and wore it like a robe.
Now for those of you out there who might be saying, "Hope, meh" I suggest you watch this video and especially watch the faces of the people hearing Cleaver.
Cleaver's call to "march on" recalls the civil rights era, and rightly so. Reminding everyone of Republicans' current rush to suppress the vote, Cleaver reminds that everyone has to get out and vote, and get everyone out to vote.
It was difficult to settle down after his speech and overall, it was one of the convention highlights for me. It wasn't that the themes were new. They're age-old. But he didn't simply speak those words, he drove them into everyone there as if he was inoculating them against the coming hate onslaught. His words of inclusion and unity were a message everyone needed to hear, there and across the nation.
Out of many, one. March on.