Paul Simon, of the iconic folk-rock group Simon & Garfunkel, surprised the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa. with a moving rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”—an appropriate choice for the occasion, which oversaw the merging of the many conflicting voices within the Democratic party that emerged during a fiercely divisive primary, one of the harshest the party has experienced thus far.
A “bridge over troubled water” is an apt metaphor for the party’s current efforts to unite around Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, despite the vocal opposition with which she was received by a good portion of her party during the primaries by supporters of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Advocates of the “Bernie or Bust” movement still staunchly support the progressive politician, refusing to vote for Clinton despite Sanders’ decision to drop out of the race and throw his support behind the former First Lady and Secretary of State.
At the DNC last night, in accordance with the theme of “United Together,” Al Franken, a Clinton supporter, and Sarah Silverman, a once-vociferous Sanders supporter, urged attendees to abandon the “Bernie or Bust” faction and unite around Clinton, citing the enormous stakes in this particular election as the reason for the necessity of Democratic unity. The current division within the party could skew votes away from Hillary, making Trump’s presidency an all-too-real possibility. Silverman’s comments received some jeers from Bernie supporters in the crowd, to which she responded, “Can I just say to the Bernie or Bust people—you’re being ridiculous.”
Current first lady Michelle Obama and senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and finally Bernie Sanders all made speeches along the same lines, emphasizing that advocating Hillary means condemning Trump, a notion that all Democrats, no matter their personal beliefs, can hopefully get behind.
The 74-year-old singer’s performance was critiqued after the event as being a little shaky, but it’s the conviction behind Simon’s performance that truly matters, and the first night of the DNC kicked off with a bang. Other performances included Philly natives Boys II Men and Demi Lovato, who used the platform to suggest improved mental health legislation. Watch Simon’s performance above and stay tuned to Paste for continued coverage of the Democratic National Convention.