There may have been a headline-making hiccup over the placement of God in the Democratic Party platform, but the delegates were taken to church whether they wanted to or not at their convention Wednesday when Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, went off-script and whipped the crowd into a frenzy.
Drawing on his other calling as a United Methodist pastor, Rep. Cleaver urged the crowd to help reelect President Barack Obama while defending the Democratic Party and its ideals.
“Now I greatly respect my Republican colleagues and their ideas. But make no mistake: I am proud to be a Democrat. I am proud to be a member of this great party,” he said in Charlotte. “And we have, in many instances, been hit: ‘They are liberal, they are progressive.’
“Look, if being liberal and progressive means that I care for children and whether they go hungry, color me! Color me a Democrat!” shouted Cleaver in one of many adlibs from his prepared remarks. “If being a Democrat means I’m concerned about our seniors in the sunset of their life, color me Democrat! Color me liberal! After all, we are the ones who protected Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, who fought for fair wages and who ended ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ We are Democrats! And don’t you ever forget it!”
Cleaver also invoked hope, a theme that was central to Obama’s 2008 campaign.
“There is something essential in the human spirit that searches for hope. We are driven by hope,” said Cleaver. “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 fervently protects its greatness.”
Cleaver then improvised, again, in one of the highest points of his speech.
“Yes, Mr. President, hope on. Continue to hope, Mr. President,” he said, to rousing ovations and applause. “No matter what, Mr. President, you continue to hope! As long as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sits on the throne of grace, hope on! Hope on! Hope on! We are people of hope, Mr. President! Hope on! Hope on! When everything else is gone, hope on!”
These words on your screen don’t do it justice. Watch the video below to get the true experience.