CHARLOTTE, N.C. — From the floor of the Democratic National Convention, Mark Keam says he can understand how Americans might see the proceedings as a charade, or some type of made-for-TV infomercial.
"Most Americans will be cynical about politics because government doesn't work as well as they would like it to work," said Keam, a delegate from Virginia who is also a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Those who have never lived in another country, like he did in Korea before coming to the United States as a child, have never seen how badly other governments can treat their citizens, Keam said.
"The Constitution that we learned in law school, all the evidence and procedures, those aren't just words in the book," said Keam, who works at Verizon as a senior adviser for strategic affairs.
Keam said he also finds it amazing that someone like himself can be on the floor serving as a delegate. His family bounced around Southeast Asia and Australia, following his father, a Christian missionary. He lived under a dictator in South Korea.
His family got a chance to come to America, work hard and become part of the middle class, something they never could have achieved there, he said. Keam first met Barack Obama when Keam was chief counsel to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) when Obama joined the Senate.
This is the second convention he has served as an Obama delegate.
"To be able to see someone like me, with no background, no connections, being able to participate in the American democratic process, tells me that the government does work the way it's supposed to and our country's democracy works the way it's supposed to," Keam said.