Former Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe (who spent his 7th and 8th grade years in New Mexico) spoke at the final breakfast of the Arkansas and New Mexico delegations to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this morning. Beebe reiterated the key themes of Barack Obama’s speech yesterday evening endorsing Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
Beebe said that only cynicism — leading to citizens’ disconnect from politics and low voter turnout — could harm America’s commitment to democracy. While never mentioning Donald Trump directly, Beebe suggested (like Obama) that this year’s election is not just another quadrennial decision of the electorate but a battle over whether the United States will continue to its commitment to self-government.
Alluding to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s promise to “bury” the United States, Beebe said that “we are the only persons who can bury us.” The answer, according to Beebe, is engagement with those who express cynicism about government “politely and constructively.” This was the former governor’s charge to Democratic activists after the Convention. It is telling that both Obama and Beebe — neither of whom is prone to hyperbole nor drawn to drama — suggested the stakes in this election were so great within 12 hours of one another.