The Kansas City area emerged from the Democratic National Convention looking pretty good.
Of more than 150 speakers who addressed the crowd in Philadelphia and the national television audience, at least four either lived here or had roots in the Kansas City area. Most notably was Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick, Tim Kaine.
Kaine, a U.S. senator from Virginia, grew up in Overland Park and graduated in 1976 from Rockhurst High School. He earned points at the convention, making fun of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s constantly sayings, “Believe me.”
“Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth,” Kaine said Wednesday night in front of the convention audience. “Our nation is too great to put it in the hands of a slick-talking, empty-promising, self-promoting, one-man wrecking crew.”
He left out flame-throwing con-artist, but Kaine’s right.
On Thursday at the convention, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who also was Kansas City’s first black mayor when Bill and Hillary Clinton were in the White House in the 1990s, went into a full whooping black United Methodist minister preaching mode, saying Hillary Clinton had bounce-back qualities when confronted with opponents and adversity. Cleaver won applause and cheers when he said: “You better get ready for a woman who won’t stay throwed.”
Also on Thursday night, Bonner Springs teenagers Jensen Walcott and Jake Reed told the convention and television audience about the wage discrimination they confronted on jobs at a pizza restaurant, where they had worked until June when they were fired. Walcott was paid 25 cents an hour less than Reed for the same job at the same restaurant.
Walcott said no explanation was ever given for the wage disparity. But it is something women contend with all of the time.
Women on average make 79 cents for every dollar that men are paid.
“I may have lost my job, but I am proud that I spoke up for myself,” she said. “And I am glad Jake stood with me, too.”
Walcott explained that the story of what happened got Hillary Clinton’s attention. Clinton tweeted encouragement to Walcott, which led to the convention speaking invitation.
Reed said: “Our story isn’t just about fighting for equal pay. It’s about doing the right thing.”
Walcott added: “I don’t think anyone should be discriminated against. Whether it’s race, or gender, or sexual orientation, or disability, or anything like that.”
She’s right. Pay disparity for any reason should be viewed by everyone as being un-American. Maybe when Clinton becomes the nation’s first women president, she can mke that happen.