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Sands: Local delegate's view of convention's final days

On Tuesday, we made history: We nominated Donald J. Trump for president of the United States.

Each state delegation was called on to give its vote totals. If your state delegates were “bound” to vote for a candidate, they had to be counted as such.

We, in Illinois, were bound. Our chairman correctly announced Illinois’ totals. Some states tried to circumvent the rules. They announced different totals. The convention chair did not allow that. The totals recorded were the bound totals.

Many states that had “nonbound” delegates went unanimously to Trump. It was great to see the unity. After New York state was given the honor of putting the vote total for Trump over the top, the stadium erupted into cheers! Donald had done what was thought to be impossible. He is the Republican nominee for president of the United States.

Tuesday – ‘Make America work again’ 

To make it happen, we need someone who has actually created jobs. Donald Trump Jr. spoke eloquently about the accomplishments of his dad. He has watched his dad in the business boardrooms and construction sites since his early childhood.

When someone said to his dad “it is impossible,” Donald took the challenge and made it possible. When they told Trump that it was impossible to win the Republican nomination, Donald willed it to happen! To see a son so proud of his dad and to hear a son talk in such glowing tributes about his dad, it literally inspired every mom, dad, daughter and son in attendance on the floor.

We also heard from the Washington Republican leadership of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The convention floor was overwhelmingly pro-Trump, and Ryan and McConnell received a lukewarm welcome. It was encouraging to hear them talk about the need for unity, but most delegates wanted more out of the leadership team.

It won’t be long before the Trump Train stops at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and President Trump will expect them to get to work and stop the “do-nothing way of doing business.”

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was a great speaker. As a former prosecutor, he used his skills to put Hillary Clinton on trial before the delegates and the nation viewing at home. Christie laid out a number of charges against Hillary. He asked the convention crowd to rule “Guilty or Not Guilty” to each charge. Of course, after each indictment the crowd in unison answered “Guilty.”

After about the second guilty finding, someone in the Illinois delegation started yelling, “Lock her up, lock her up,” after the guilty finding. Soon the whole floor was chanting after every guilty finding, “lock her up, lock her up.”

I guess we, in Illinois, have learned where to put our crooked politicians over the years, in jail. Christie smiled profusely after each chant! It was not planned, it was totally spontaneous and Christie loved it! (You know Hillary grew up in Illinois.)

Wednesday – ‘Make America first again’

The night started off with a rousing speech by Laura Ingraham, conservative political commentator. She asked all of the other 17 Republican primary candidates to honor their pledge and support Donald Trump.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was very well-received. His support of Trump was very, very solid. His theme was “America deserves better.” He described Hillary as the most liberal insider in Washington. In a time when the majority of the nation is supporting outsiders (Trump and Bernie Sanders), here we have the ultimate insider in Hillary Clinton.

Ted Cruz received a standing ovation as he came on stage. We were glad the Trump campaign had reached out to Ted, as a sign of unity. We were glad Ted accepted the invitation to speak, moving the process forward.

About halfway through his speech, we began to sense that he was not going to mention Trump by name. Uneasiness grabbed the delegates. Repeated calls for Cruz to say Trump’s name soon became boos, which grew louder and louder!

Ted just smirked and kept on talking. Even Cruz delegates were booing him. Boos turned to yells of “Get off the stage!”

Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, tried to smooth over what had just happened, but the delegates were not in a forgiving mood.

Newt, a Republican favorite, geared up the crowd with his attacks on the Democrats. He talked about the current administration sleepwalking in their response to terrorism. Trump is right, we must change course to win the war on terrorism. To the delight of the crowd, Gingrich said, “No bureaucrat will get in the way of a veteran and his doctor,” during a Trump administration.

Next up was vice presidential nominee Mike Pence. Very soon into his acceptance speech, the delegates were chanting, “We like Mike.”

Most of us knew very little about Pence, but he became an instant favorite. He called for no-nonsense leadership and said the Democrats and the media need to wake up and realize that despite their best efforts, Trump is still standing tall.

Pence explained how Donald turned a longshot campaign into a movement. Mentioning that our country is restless for change, Mike called Clinton the “secretary of the status quo,” nothing will get done or change, resulting in four more years of Obama. Pence will make a great vice president.

Thursday – ‘Make America One Again’

It was a thrill.

We were actually there as Donald J. Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president. Notable speakers before his acceptance were former NFL quarterback Fran Tarkenton, Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Peter Thiel, business leader, and of course, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who spoke passionately about her dad.

The building was packed past capacity. People stood shoulder to shoulder on the convention floor.

As Ivanka introduced her dad, the crowd exploded with passion. You could feel the love and respect the delegates have for Trump.

We had heard that the media had been playing up the disunity all day. But when Mr. Trump came onto the stage, the building erupted as one. It was the moment we all had waited for. Emotion ran high. Pride ran high. 

As he announced his acceptance of the nomination, we realized that history has been made. America had a non-politician as the Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump!

After the speech, the Trump and Pence families joined on stage. Music blasted as the balloons and confetti flowed down from the rafters, so thick on the air that it was hard to see.

Everyone was smiling, laughing and dancing. Delegates lingered on the floor. Most of us will never be at another convention. We wanted to enjoy every moment.

Kathy and I would like to thank the DeKalb Daily Chronicle for allowing us to give the readers insight into history in the making. Having a front row seat has been an honor and a privilege. We would also like the thank the readers of the Chronicle for their concern for our safety and for their support.

Next train stop is the White House. All Aboard!

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