Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hillary Is Here! (But Dennis Is First!)

A huge moment for me was seeing my ideal candidate, Dennis Kucinich, on the floor of the Convention giving the speech of his life, and almost every person there (from my TV angle) seemed to be wildly shouting, waving banners and screaming their approval. What a reception! If only I could have been there to thank him for all he's done to restore my faith in the Democratic Party and shake his hand. Later, after hearing Mark Warner (who said his "biggest criticism of President Bush is that he never tapped into our greatest resource: the character and resolve of the American people,") Bob Casey, Jr. ("McCain votes with Bush 95% of the time. That's not a maverick - that's a sidekick!") Montana Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer, Lily Ledbetter and many others who gave excellent speeches declaring that they were proud Democrats who supported Barak Obama for President of the United States, and then gagging while bearing witness to the slimy David F. Brooks impugning their speeches as banal from the auspices of public-financed PBS on the Jim Lehrer-chaired Convention coverage. . . . The Convention was once more on its feet! Hillary was in the house and on the stage!!!! I'm proud of Hillary's personal and (some of her) political accomplishments and what they signify for all women. I do have some problems with how I see and her husband selling out to the powers-that-were during the 90's instead of protecting the people at and of the base of the Democratic Party, but I'll let that go for tonight and just say that she presented a figure that most women could be proud of. I even felt (unbidden) tears in my eyes several times during her speech. (At heart, I guess I'm a softie.) And I couldn't have been more pleased when she said, "The time to unite is now - as a single party with a single purpose! We are on the same team . . . and it's a fight we must win together!" Okay, I'm a Hillary girl! She got me. And I couldn't have been more amazed as it was mainly because she just exuded the much-desired message of unqualified support for Obama and that special term "Unity." Even I believed her when she urged everyone to work for Obama's victory in November. So, she's either seen the light or I've seen a fantastic vision. There have been no cheering moments in this Convention (counting the loud and rolling applause for Michelle!) like tonight's. She owns this crowd. Hillary says "No way, no how, no McCain." And the house goes berserk with joy resounding throughout the Pepsi Center!!!! She says it comes down to you and your children's futures; that you taught me so much. She praised a woman with cancer who had lost her health insurance along with much else that she needed for a decent life, who asked her to campaign for her and her children's ability to get healthcare. Hillary even gave a shout out to "her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits!" What working woman could resist that? All right - obviously I'm speaking of Democratic working women. She then let her mood mellow as she gave fine tributes to Arkansas State Democratic Party Chair Bill Gwatney (who was murdered by a right-wing fanatic before the Convention began) and to that fabulous prosecutor, ex-judge, dynamic advocate for victims of sexual and domestic assault, reproductive justice and animal rights: the first African-American woman to represent Ohio in Congress, who had served five terms and was expected to easily win her sixth term, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, who died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm right before the Convention. Hillary then suddenly switched gears and began to address the issue that had everyone staying up past bedtime to grasp the final Clue puzzle piece when she asked "Were you in this campaign for me? Or were you in it for all the people of this country who feel invisible? She said that "there are no limits in the United States of America" and then began to list what type of President we needed, saying that "the genius of America had always depended on the genius of the people . . . . " She continued by saying that "Barack Obama knows that government is about the people, not the favored few." A remark that I was surprised to hear applauded so vigorously in this newly uncritical crowd. Hillary then declared forcefully that we had done it before under President Clinton and that we would do it again with President Obama, and that she couldn't wait to see the healthcare plan that covered every single American signed by President Obama. At that point she seemed to lose all discretion as she began to praise Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and even his wife, Jill Biden. I was so proud of her. What would she have done differently if she had been chosen as Vice President was the thought that was running constantly through my mind. "John McCain was my friend," she said, "but we don't need four more years of the last eight years." The applause had reached thunderclap volume at these words. And so she had figured out how to finesse that earlier faux pas with a grand gesture to their prior relationship. She even joked that it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities because "they are pretty much the same - you can't tell them apart!" And then she memorialized the anniversary of the achievement of the passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for American women. She said "My Mother was born before women had the right to vote and my daughter got to vote for her Mother for President of the United States." "If you want a taste of freedom, keep going!" Her enthusiasm was genuine and contagious. Every person in the Pepsi Center seemed to have caught her disease (quite happily) at one time or another during her speech. "We have to get going to elect Barack Obama," she stated as an end note. "Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance." I was surprised that Bill didn't immediately rush the stage to join her at this her last moment of victory during the Convention, but she got her solo moment in the sun. And the crowd went wild for her. Hillary Clinton: first woman Senate Majority Leader of the United States of America. And you thought the Convention wasn't going to be fun. Suzan ________________________________

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