FORSYTH COUNTY -- Melissa Clink was one of thousands helping make history last week.
The Forsyth County Democrat wrapped up her fourth day at the Democratic National Convention Thursday as the event in Philadelphia came to a close. Clink represents Georgia’s 9th Congressional District and was the county’s sole Democratic Party member to attend.
Although she is a pledged Bernie Sanders delegate, Clink said she fully backs Hillary Clinton for president.
“Bernie Sanders met with us the first day of the convention and asked us to get behind Hillary, and that’s what I’m going to do,” she said. “At the core of it, we all believe the same things and want to see the same things for our country. Uniting and being able to make the changes that we want to see or make the processes that are already in place even better is where we need to focus now.”
But it is not just the Democratic Party that needs to unify, Clink emphasized.
“It was amazing to hear from the mother and father of the Muslim veteran who gave his life for our country,” Clink said. “Those voices are not often heard enough, and it’s important to realize that we have people of all different faiths and all different races and genders who have put their life on the line for [our] country.”
The reality of the country’s diversity was apparent, she said, as retired Marine and four-star general John Allen led a group of veterans on stage Thursday night. The veterans – young and old, black and white, Muslim and Christian – stood together in support of Hillary, but also in support of America.
While chants of “USA, USA” resonated throughout the building, DNC attendees were repeatedly reminded of the deep fault lines that run through the country.
“We talked about so many issues, and it’s important we didn’t talk about just one,” Clink said. “We touched on a little bit of everything, and that’s what’s important because that’s what is happening in our nation now.
“We need to make sure we stay focused on the issues that are affecting all of our daily lives now.”
One of those issues, she said, becoming increasingly commonplace is police brutality – that, too, was covered at the convention.
“It’s something we need to continue to talk about,” Clink said. “We need to work on our community and policing regulations and relationships and acknowledge that there is a problem.”
In his keynote address Wednesday night, President Obama also acknowledged the issue while expressing his confidence in Clinton.
“Hillary knows we can work through racial divides in this country when we realize the worry black parents feel when their son leaves the house isn’t so different than what a brave cop’s family feels when he puts on the blue and goes to work, that we can honor police and treat every community fairly,” he said. “And she knows that acknowledging problems that have festered for decades isn’t making race relations worse. It’s creating the possibility for people of good will to join and make things better.”
Clink, too, is confident in Clinton’s ability, should she be elected as Commander-in-Chief.
“The message that was shared throughout the convention was that [Clinton] is one of the most qualified people to ever run for this office, especially in comparison with Trump.” Clink said.
“I haven’t really heard any kind of general plan when it comes to Trump,” she said. “I think the fact that Hillary has actually made policy decisions makes her abundantly qualified for this position.”
Clink stressed, however, that casting a vote, regardless of a person’s political views, is essential in this election.
“Even if you never pay attention to politics, politics will always pay attention to you,” she said. “It’s important to be a part of the process, especially as a woman, because we didn’t always have that right. That’s why I feel so passionately about being involved.”