New Jersey Senator Cory Booker brought Democrats to their feet during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday (25 July), as he received a resounding ovation for stating the love of countrymen was the true measure of patriotism. Senator Booker also declared that "America will rise" in his endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
"Patriotism is love of country. But you can't love your country without loving your countrymen and countrywomen," said Booker, who last spoke at a Democratic convention when he endorsed President Obama in 2012.
"[We] don't always have to agree, but we must empower each other, we must find the common ground ... We are called to be a nation of love" Booker said during a passionate speech.
The message was in marked contrast to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's repeated evocation of suspicion and fear of immigrants, in his presidential nominating speech during the Republican National Convention.
Booker, a powerful star in the Democratic Party — whose name had been floated as a potential running mate for Clinton — repeated a refrain throughout his speech based on a famous Maya Angelou poem, entitled Still I Rise, saying several times: "America, we will rise!"
Booker noted that the true wealth of a nation is not "measured by how many millionaires and billionaires we have, but by how few people we have living in poverty."
He also brought up his Jersey roots in an attack against Trump's business record and his casino troubles.
"Now, I take particular interest in the fact that Trump says he would run our country like he has run his businesses. Well, I'm from Jersey. I'm from the great Garden State, and we've seen the way he leads in Atlantic City. He got rich while his companies declared multiple bankruptcies ... and stiffed contractors," said Booker.
"We in America have seen enough of a handful of people growing rich at the cost of a nation, sending it into crisis."
Booker concluded: "America we will rise," bringing the crowd to its feet with chants of "We ... will ... rise."
"Here in Philadelphia let us declare again that we will be a free people, free from fear and intimidation," he added. "Let us declare that we are a nation of interdependence, and that in America love always trumps hate ... We are the United States of America; our best days are ahead of us. We will rise."