I didn’t quite know what to think when I first heard from the OC Democratic Party about the Unity BBQ that happened last Saturday. How would Barack Obama fans and Hillary Clinton supporters get along now that Democrats have a Presidential nominee in Obama? And what else would happen? Well, I guess I wasn’t quite prepared for what was about to happen.
There were hundreds of Democrats from all over OC that descended upon Hart Park in Orange around high noon that Saturday for the BBQ. There were Obama fans and Clinton fans all getting along, and all discussing how to win back the White House this fall while also helping local Democratic candidates here in OC. Oh yes, and there were even some Independents and Republicans who were fed up with the GOP nonsense and ready to join us all in working for real change.
Oh wait, and how could I forget the candidates?! Debbie Cook (46th Congressional) arrived early to let folks know about what she’s doing to beat “Crazy Dana” Rohrabacher this fall. Steve Young (48th Congressional) was there to show everyone how all Democrats benefit from local grassroots organizing. Bill Hedrick (44th Congressional) was there to let folks know that there’s not only one competitive race for local activists to get involved in. And of course, we saw many more local candidates for everything from State Legislature (like Gary Pritchard, Ginny Mayer, and Judy Jones) to city council and school board races. It was quite encouraging to see enthusiasm not just for Obama, but for all the downticket races as well.
Shortly after 1:00 PM, the speeches from the special guests began. Frank Barbaro and Melahat Rafiei from the DPOC encouraged us all to work our hardest to help Barack Obama win OC this fall, and to make sure he has strong enough “coattails” to carry local Democratic candidates to victory as well. Obama OC organizer Giovanii Jorquera thanked all his fellow Obama activists for all their hard work, and warmly invited Hillary Clinton supporters to join the team. State Assembly Member Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) responded to that call by declaring that he and other Hillary Clinton supporters will now work hard to help Obama win. Irvine Mayor Beth Krom reminded everyone again not to forget all the hardworking local Democrats who need our help to get elected and make OC a better place. And finally, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood) got everyone on their feet cheering “Yes We Can!” as she shared with the audience her own experience in George Bush’s Washington, and why Barack Obama is needed in the White House to start making real change happen.
After the speeches, the people grabbed more food, talked more with the local candidates, and connected more with each other. Everyone seemed enthused and energized as they all eventually left for home. All in all, Saturday’s event looked like a real success for OC Democrats.
Hopefully, all that energy and enthusiasm I saw on Saturday will remain now through November. And hopefully now, all OC Democrats realize that what holds us together is far stronger than what ever threatened to pull us apart. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and all the rest of us Democrats believe in a stronger America, in social and economic justice, in a sustainable future and a clean environment, in making the world a better place for everyone. Hopefully, we’ll all remember this as we work together for victory nationally and locally for November and beyond.