The welcoming speeches to open the 2020 Democratic National Convention were delivered in an online video feed.
The welcoming speeches to open the 2020 Democratic National Convention were delivered in an online video feed by Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, lower right, and a host of Milwaukee area civic and elected leaders. (Screen image from DNC/Democratic Party of Wisconsin site)

Delegates miss an arena, but still get to be in ‘the Zoom where it happens.’

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley talked about how excited his three daughters were about Kamala Harris being the candidate for vice president. Lieutenant Gov. Mandela Barnes gave a special shout-out to younger attendees. And delegates heard welcoming remarks from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Common Council President Cavalier Johnson, County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson, and DNC Chair Tom Perez.

It’s just that the remarks were delivered on a screen instead of inside the Fiserv Forum, in the hour prior to the Democratic National Convention being formally gaveled to order.

“Oh, I sure wish you all were here in the city of Milwaukee,” said U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore of her hometown. “This is a city where blood was shed for labor rights, where a fugitive slave was freed from prison, where women’s right to vote was first ratified.”

Crowley said he was disappointed that the delegates “are missing out on the experience of all Milwaukee has to offer.”

Perez tried to console a state filled with downhearted Democrats whose chance to shine was cut down by the coronavirus outbreak.

“This is not the kind of day we had in mind when we awarded the convention to Milwaukee,” he said, “but life sometimes throws you a curveball.”

He said simply winning the convention was great for Milwaukee’s standing. “The world knows about Milwaukee. This was a David and Goliath battle. You were the underdog. You were prepared. You were hungry.”

Barnes directed his comments at those who, like himself, decided at a young age to become involved in politics.

“There is a place for you, and there is no better moment for you to step up and demand change than now.” 

Gov. Tony Evers, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and other Wisconsin Democrats will address delegates throughout the convention.

Read the Associated Press wrap-up of Monday’s keynote speakers HERE.