Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Sisters' Sunday

It was a great game and the commercials were entertaining. People around here seem to like nearly anyone named Manning, and the brothers made their own history. My sympathies to my kith and kin in the Northeast since Memphis is also partial to the Patriot's "Flying Elvis Head" insignia. I've heard of leaving everything on the field, but the losing coach left his entire team out there. And what was the deal about going for it on 4th and 14? For the only pro football game I've watched in its' entirety all year, this was a good one, but I've been more fixated on the other contest.

Earlier in the day, instead of watching beefy, steroidal men without necks exchange their opinions about what was only just about to happen, I watched C-Span so you don't have to. There was another sort of pre-game pep rally going on at UCLA, where thousands packed an auditorium for an early morning Barack Obama campaign event. While the men were tailgating, four strong women orchestrated one of the most significant political events of the year. Energized by Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg's endorsement of Obama in last week's New York Times, the women made a full frontal assault on Hillary's claim to "California Girls," and the rally began to take on the air of an evangelical tent meeting.

Caroline Kennedy spoke first. At the risk of sounding sexist, there is a certain sweetness to her in the discomfort she feels in the spotlight, and I understand what Neil "The Real Deal" Diamond had in mind. Motivated by her children, this is the first time Kennedy has taken so active a role on behalf of any candidate, so her boldness is thus meaningful and admirable. Saying that this was "the first time I get to introduce someone who's not my Uncle Teddy," Caroline brought out the undisputed champ; Oprah Winfrey. I've discussed Oprah's influence in an earlier post, but nowhere was it more evident than in California. A confidant Oprah strode to the stage to thunderous applause and worked the crowd like the pro she is, with lines like, "I have followed the truth and it has lead me to Barack Obama," and "I'm not voting for Barack Obama because he's black. I'm voting for him because he's brilliant." A rapturous, rainbow-coalition audience responded with delight to the most influential media figure in America, who then introduced Michelle Obama.

Any doubts I had about the perceived reluctance of Michelle to stand by her man were forever put aside by her electrifying address, which was part advocacy and part defender against the Clintons. Entering the arena with Stevie Wonder on her arm, Michelle provided the first serious drama of the day. While ascending steps to the speakers' platform, Stevie slipped and fell sideways off the staircase. I was reminded of a similar event in the North Hall of Ellis Auditorium in 1963. Unlike that shocking memory, someone was there to catch him this time, and after retrieving his glasses he was non-plussed about the whole thing. Stevie spoke of peace and love and sang his new Barack Obama chant. Stevie Wonder is another person who's influence should not be dismissed. After all, who was mainly responsible for the MLK holiday?

Michelle Obama displayed an informal earthiness along with the gift of communication that reflected her Princeton education and had the crowd on its' feet with every poignant remark. She opened by saying that, "Only in America could Michelle Obama follow Caroline Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey, and Stevie Wonder." She made the case that Barack did not concoct his convictions on the eve of a Presidential run, and his choice to work in the communities on Chicago's South side, rather than Wall Street, made him better qualified to understand the realities of life than any other candidate. She even made a lawyer joke. Michelle repeated Barack's truthful observation of a "deficit of empathy" in this country, and is the only politician or political advocate who has publicly said that a society is measured by how we treat "the least of these" since Jimmy Carter. She also came up with the line of the day; "Americans can handle the truth. Sometimes we don't know what the truth looks like because we haven't seen it in so long." Every sentence was punctuated by Michelle's graceful pianist's fingers making her points in the air.

The surprise of the day, after Stevie, was the introduction of Maria Shriver, who claimed to have arrived from a horse show with her daughter without changing clothes or applying make-up. Shriver said her daughter had told her, "If you feel like you should be at UCLA," to officially endorse Barack Obama, "You have to go." So there was yet another dynamic Kennedy, standing with Michelle, Oprah, and her cousin Caroline, in a picture of feminist unity that must have sent chills through the Clinton campaign of quite another kind than the ones experienced by those in attendance. Also, the endorsement of Obama by California's First Lady pretty much terminates the buzz over Arnold's endorsement of John McCain.

These four women, all with something to lose, were putting themselves on the line for a cause. Kennedy-Schlossberg must step out of her comfort zone and sacrifice her anonimity; Oprah, who has never campaigned for a political candidate, puts her considerable clout and reputation at risk; Michelle Obama sacrifices time as a mother and a professional for a greater good; and Maria Shriver shows personal and political courage by "following her heart," and standing in opposition to her husband. On this "Super Sunday," while the men were making beer runs, a small coterie of women were trying to wrest the female vote in California away from Hillary Clinton, and if they succeed, as Maria Shriver said, "As California goes, so goes the nation." Now that the game is over and the Giants are the champs, we can refocus on the real contest, Super Tuesday. Don't look now fellows, but today, while you were staring at a zombie jamboree collectively known as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the ladies might have gotten together and wrapped this whole thing up.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

For every woman I know, I say "Hell Yeah!" Finally the "girls" have spoken and now the world will see what we can do.As a strong woman myself I do believe this is where sisterhood has to jump in with both feet and support this amazing man.Brilliance does not come around often and if we as women and mothers don't take this chance to make this nation better for our children, then shame on us. Come on girls as the Beatles said, "Come together,right now."Change looks young and good to me.Hell I'll even sign my name to this one. Melody Haspel

cindy said...

amen.

David said...

Last night I watched the third alternative to football and political shout outs. This was the "Puppy Bowl" on the animal channel. I hope it is rerun. This is a 3 hour show where puppies of various breeds are put in an area decorated like a football field and urged to wrestle each other. They fight over various stuffed toys and there is a sound track of music and crowd noises. The puppies are introduced like "Here is Whiskers, he is a yorkie who loves shoes".

Every so often a man in a ref's outfit will call a foul for "piddling on the field". I watched in peace for three solid hours. WHISKERS FOR PRESIDENT!!

Anonymous said...

Sputnik and Melody! You know how much I love and respect you...but watching "California girls" on C-span on Super Bowl Sunday borders on sacrilege. Even my strong woman was watching "Miss Austin Regrets". It was about Jane not Stone Cold. This is wrong! Or maybe it's me. There is something in me that wants to be on American Gladiator... not as a competitor but as a gladiator. Last night something wonderful happened. Eli and Petty sang "I Want Back Down!" while transforming the NFL's MVP Tom Brady into "An Ammerican Girl"

davethedog said...

One last comment. On the Bill Maher show, he was arguing with someone about the Clinton/Obama thing. The topic was who was DUE the presidency, women or blacks. I usually like him, but he went off in his smug way and said "EXCUSE ME, but I think the blacks are due, because they have had it much worse than women." What an asshole. I guess he forgets that blacks have only been slaves for 400-500 years. John Lennon knew what our problem was with the treatment of women.

Democrat in Dallas said...

Can anybody tell me exactly what Obama has said he is going to do to bring about all this "change" he is talking about?

Anonymous said...

vhgBack to me(anon.9:48)...Eli and the Giants Turned the "Greatest Team In The History of Football" into the New England Sisterhood. I will vote for Obama Tomorrow not because of his brilliance or because he has Oprah's support...I will vote for Obama because of his HANDS! Obama's hand gestures are identical to Hulk Hogan's when he speaks. MACHISMOBAMAPATRO

Anonymous said...

Gregg here----I'll tell you, RJ, this thing has been rolling since early 06. It began before Obama truly appeared as a possible candidate and we started feeling just the beginning waves of the Democratic backlash against the awful embarrassment of being represented here and abroad by people who Democrats didn't just distrust, dislike, and disdain, but also these same Democrats (who were hiding under their beds and slinking around behind the pictures of JFK and FDR in the anterooms of their souls) were boiling that there were so many of their countrymen who could be so easily fooled by the devil in Cheney's clothing in 2004. How long could anyone of conscience continue that shadowy slink while watching on their TVs the theory of Cheney's and Delay's and Rumsfeld's and Wolfowitz's that if we just talk about the fact that we stand for something then we don't ever really have to do anything for anybody except ourselves?----I mean, because really now, most of those folks out there are so stupid we can just do whatever we want with their stupid stupid asses and their stupid stupid votes. "Hey, by the way, let's move that alert up to Orange for a couple of days but,yo!! people!! get out there and shop.....you are such idiots. Watch those idiots jump---- Boo!!!." Awl right!!!

It became too "Sour to the People", too obviously rotten to the core to the people, and we are now seeing the people say, "adi-fucking-os!" to the the besmirchers of what we hold dear. This thing we hold dear is what we want to think about ourselves, what we wish we were, what we admire in others, maybe in our heroes, that which we honestly want to emulate. Nobody in their right mind would ever want to emulate GW Bush or his gang of thugs.

So, this is a mostly subliminal thing going on here. I say "Democrats" because that defines the group that is more aware of this mess. But the "Independents" are going to make this election and a lot of them have moved their subliminal discomfort up front into a conscious awareness that the reason they feel so shitty about their country is that its elected leaders who define our face are ugly ugly ugly ugly.

So why should we be surprised that the people who carried us around in their uterae and breathed for us for 9 months, who clothed us and dressed us and made us eat our vegetables, who do not ever want us to die before they do, and want us to be the embodiment of the hero that they have in their heart's mind....why would we be surprised that when the subliminal wave beginning to lift anyone with a reachable soul off of their collective feet that it wouldn't jazz spectacularly the chests of the people of ovaries who will be out there saying, "Oh, Yeah!!! Kick the bastards out!! Bring somebody in who'll make this place some place that my babies can live in with some goddam grace!!!"

And the skinny black kid from Shy-town, Illy Noise, has that melody in his veins and the lyrics to that song in the People's hearts is coming out of that hot alto sax below his nose and above his chin. This wave is gonna crash on the beaches of the Besmirchers sometime in early November. Adi-fucking-os, Besmirchers. AMF.

Anonymous said...

Greg, for godsakes get your own blog man.Are you long winded or what? By the way, what are you on??

Uncle Gene said...

R.J. The only way Operah will influence most men's votes is if she gives us all Pontiacs!

Uncle Gene

Wintermute said...

Surely you're not jealous of Tom Petty, Sput.

"Back to back, belly to belly
I don't give a damn
'Cuz I done dat already
Back to back, belly to belly
At the Zombie Jamboree"

Randy said...

The good Padre caused me to think that the female followers of Hillary Clinton should be named the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pantsuit.