Hillary Clinton’s official nomination for president by the Democratic Party marked a historic day for the country. But some Georgia delegates at the National Democratic Convention had mixed feelings about the nominee.
Macon resident Fred Swann, chairman of the 8th Congressional District for Georgia’s Democratic, described how it felt to be on the floor after Clinton received enough votes Tuesday to be named the Democratic candidate.
“There was a ton of excitement, people were very excited. I think that those who supported Hillary were excited that we finally have our candidate but most were excited that it's finally over and we can get behind one candidate,” Swann said. “I know that many of the Sanders people were very sad and there was some crying, but the vast majority of people were terribly excited.”
Quentin T. Howell, of Milledgeville, who is running for a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, said he also was inspired by the nomination.
The moment “was very emotional and tremendously inspiring,” Howell said. “It shows what anyone can do if they put the community and the country first.”
But, during the Wednesday morning delegation meeting, Khalid Kamau, a Bernie Sanders delegate from Fulton County, spoke on behalf of other Sanders delegates in Georgia who were upset about the nomination.
“Personally, I am a Democrat and have been a Democrat my entire life, even though sometimes I struggle with the feeling that this party is interested in my vote, but is not interested in me,” Kamau said. “I have been struggling with that and I really want to believe in this party so much so that I have come to work with our people to try to turn Georgia blue. But I have to tell you, when I go out and talk to people on street corners and in barber shops and in (Black Lives Matter) meetings, the thing that they tell me is, ‘they don’t do politics because it is all rigged.’ ”
Kamau said he has felt a similar distrust in the political process since the start of the Democratic National Convention.
“I have to tell you I have never felt that (distrust) as much as I have felt that these past few days,” Kamau said, “I think that we have been in such a rush to appear united for television, that we haven’t done the work to be united behind closed doors.”
Despite his disappointment, Kamau said he wants to continue the conversation.
“A lot of us are hurting, but I wanted to have the decency to come and tell you to your faces why you might not see my face today and some other faces at the Wells Fargo Center,” Kamau said. “I am open to talk, I want to keep talking, but today I am hurt. Today is not the day, and lots of people need space.”
Vincent Venditti, a Sanders delegate from Warner Robins, was also upset about Clinton gaining the DNC nomination.
“As a lifelong Democrat, I left my party yesterday with a heavy heart,” Venditti said. “The last straw was the nomination of a candidate that may or may not be able to defeat Trump in the general election, but still the party used all its power to make her the candidate.”
Despite the dismay from some of the Sanders delegates, Howell said he has high hopes about being able to unite the party.
“We are truly a big-tent party and everybody is open,” Howell said. “When Sanders stood up on the floor last night and asked the entire convention to vote Hillary Clinton in, that isn’t putting a Band-Aid on the wound that is healing the wound.”