It was at Democrats’ 2004 convention, when John Kerry accepted the nomination for a largely forgettable campaign to challenge then-popular incumbent George W. Bush that the world first was introduced to an ambitious state senator from Illinois, Barack Obama.
Within four years, the apotheosis would be complete, with the then-US Sen. Obama, having barely reached the halfway mark of his freshman term in Congress, ascending the podium in Denver behind a backdrop of Greek columns to a massive audience seeking “hope” and “change.”
The circumstances may have been vastly different, but on Tuesday, Kentucky’s Republican attorney general, Daniel Cameron, made his grand entrance on the national stage with a dynamic speech that held an equally uplifting message for conservatives and other forgotten Americans who may have been abandoned by the political establishment.
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Already, in its first two days, the Republican National Convention has showcased several up-and-comers who—unlike the fossils in last week’s Democrat convention—offer a bright outlook for their party’s future.
In many cases, as with Cameron, those fresh faces also happen to be faces of color.
Appropriately, his participation stuck with one of the major threads of the RNC message: inclusivity, accessibility and unity for all Americans.
“This country’s many faces comprise a family,” he said.
“…Though we fuss and fight, we are not enemies, we are Americans, united by a fundamental faith in our Constitution and of laws,” he continued, likening the country to “an evergreen tree standing tall in a turbulent world.”
Cameron was one of several to invoke the spirit of Abraham Lincoln the first Republican president, in calling for compassion, self-reliance, freedom, equality and justice.
“For Republicans, our heroes are those who propelled an imperfect nation ever forward,” he said.
But even as rioters continued to loot, burn and vandalize American cities, Cameron and others extended an olive branch to those who may disagree with them and still seek common ground.
“We Republicans do recognize those who work in good faith,” he said. “… Republicans will never turn a blind eye to unjust acts, but neither will we accept an all-out assault” on American values.”
Unlike the hodgepodge of Democrats’ production, which hammered home talking points while never seeming to resonate thematically, Cameron’s speech tied in with and helped bind together several of the other memorable moments from the broadcast.
That included Trump’s pardoning of Jon Ponder, a reformed felon who had found Christian faith while serving time for bank robbery.
Ponder later went on to befriend Richard Beasley, the FBI agent who had arrested him but had shown him compassion and humanity afterward by buying him coffee and a doughnut.
After serving his time, being mercifully given a more lenient sentence than he expected, Ponder now works to assist other newly released inmates as they strive to regain their footing.
Recounting his youth working in his parents’ coffee shop, Cameron said he had gotten to know many types of people.
“No matter who you are, everyone wants a cup of coffee,” he observed.
While most of the convention’s first two nights focused on looking forward to a brighter future and outlining Trump’s policy achievements, some also tackled the ugly but necessary task of countering Democrats’ message.
Cameron called to task former Vice President Joe Biden for his many offensive statements that sought to diminish the agency and independent thinking of black voters.
“Mr. Vice President, look at me: I am black,” he said, addressing Obama’s former right-hand man. “…You can’t tell me how to vote because of the color of my skin.”
He criticized the Democrat nominee as “a backwards thinker in a world that is craving forward leadership.”
By contrast, he said Trump had risen to meet the challenges of his office in pursuit of the values of justice and equality for all.
“I believe Donald Trump can meet Lincloln’s mandate, even as Joe Biden is trapped by his own record and by the demands of his radical party,” Cameron said.