Diane Orley: Witnessing History At The DNC

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By Diane Kaplan Orley

I’m not sure what first propelled me to go to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Aside from knowing my daughter, Amanda, was volunteering there for the week, I had planned to watch from my couch.

After securing a ticket through a friend in Texas and knowing I had a place to stay (with my daughter in a private home), it hit me that I was going to experience history being made with the first female nominee and share the experience with my daughter.

Upon arrival and walking in to pick up my credentials, I found the buzz and feeling overwhelming. So many people, so much movement, security, organization of events. It was a real thrill.

Our first stop was an art event put on by Truth to Power, an exhibition run to draw attention to issues like gun violence, police brutality, women’s rights, student and national debt, LGBTQ rights and climate change.

A lot of the art was done by Russell Craig, a man who taught himself to read, write and draw while in prison. Celebrities (Ashley Judd and Shailene Woodley) and folks from all walks of life were there. Powerful and thought-provoking images.

Amanda and Diane Orley at the Democratic National Convention

From there, we headed to the convention center to get a seat before it filled up. The 21,000 seats were not enough to go around so it’s a good thing we did.

While walking around, the people-watching was fantastic. Kids, parents, grandparents, Bernie supporters. Recognizable faces such as Ralph Nader, Cecile Richards and Joy Behar, to name a few. The energy in the room was electrifying, and so many were moved with emotion, with tears flowing from men, women and children.

We sat next to a political consultant who answered our many questions. What was a delegate? How are they chosen? Who did she feel was going to win the election and why?

Besides some of the amazing speeches, hearing “What the world needs now is love, sweet love …” sung by 40 Broadway stars was incredibly powerful and probably my most memorable moment.

To witness such an event with my 25-year-old daughter was beyond exciting. The quote from Hillary — “With no glass ceilings the sky’s the limit” — was really empowering, especially being with my daughter. Hillary speaking of her mother’s influence on her life and Michelle speaking about raising her daughters during their formative years in the White House was quite moving. Michelle’s quote about living in a house built by slaves was a great perspective of this moment in history.

No matter who wins this election, it is still a momentous time to see a woman accepting the nomination. My daughter and I feel very lucky we could share this together.

Diane Kaplan Orley lives in Bloomfield Hills.

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