There were rumors on the internets and from the mediates that there was the potential for 1968-style demonstrations at this years' Democratic Convention, but so far it's been the feel-good event of the summer, right after the Olympics, murder aside. Sometimes it seems there's a Leon Klinghoffer on every cruise. And instead of angry crowds chanting "The whole world is watching," the masses are gathering around the brightest new media star, Rachel Maddow, and chanting "MSNBC." A younger generation assumes everybody is either watching already or can catch highlights on YouTube. And on Maddow's new cable show, they should make Pat Buchanan play her Ed McMahon. He's the perfect foil, but can he say "Hi-yo?"
Melody and I like to watch the direct feed from C-Span, without the commentary about what we are currently seeing for ourselves, or distracting graphics on a crawl like, "Senator McCain sends Cindy to Georgia to access civilian casualties." Barbie is going to wake up in Tbilisi and wonder what happened to the uprising in Marietta and Buckhead. I wept through most of the Kennedy portion and felt it was Teddy's finest hour. I imagine that you have to be of a certain age to feel the full impact of seeing the last of the Kennedy brothers in his final campaign. It tugs at your own mortality to comprehend that the legislative accomplishments of the younger Kennedy, who was kicked out of Harvard and who's own presidential ambitions drowned with a young girl in Chappaquiddick, dwarfs the combined lasting achievements of his martyred brothers. It's nearly enough to erase a lifetime of personal sins. When Michelle Obama spoke, Melody noted that the only people crying were African Americans, women, and me. But I cry at old Gene Autry songs, too. I have the emotions of a woman trapped in a man's body, and she's pissed and wants them back. But, how could you not love those two children who were, literally, adorable?
We watched tonight's featured attraction, the Hillary Moment, after hearing James Carville say the Democrats "wasted a day," by not attacking BushCain enough. What's the point? This country's on the precipice and everyone knows it. In any case, first blood was drawn by Montana's Governor Schweitzer, who used a rapier rather than a bludgeon, and then we settled in for the main event. After watching Hillary's speech without punditry, I thought her endorsement of Obama was lukewarm and Melody said, "It was all about her." When we switched back to MSNBC to see what the gang was saying, Keith Olbermann called it "a 5-run home run," and Eugene Robinson declared it a "turning point." At first I wondered if I had watched a different speech. I felt portions of the speech were very moving, especially the Harriet Tubman bit, but even that seemed directed at her own supporters. But after hearing all the superlatives heaped in her direction, I started questioning my own experience.
Perhaps I've grown so cynical that I can't see sincerity in a politician anymore, or maybe it annoys me that after 35 years, Hillary still stomps all over her own applause lines, but I do not understand the emotional investment a lot of woman had placed in her candidacy. I'm not a woman, but I thought I was a feminist. I have some knowledge of the Suffrage Movement, but I believed that Hillary, in her Senate record and in her candidacy, ill-served the feminist ideal by being a war hawk with our children and presiding over a sleazy attempt to villainize Barack Obama, which his opponents are now using against him. If John McCain had a lick of sense, he would now nominate a woman to be Vice President, but he doesn't, so we don't have to worry. Still, the most significant line of Hillary's speech was, "Were you only in it for me?" She did what she needed to do and then some, and she became, like Teddy Kennedy, a potentially formidable force in the Senate, while still keeping her options open for 2012, or even 2016.
If Obama is elected, and that is no sure thing for sure, perhaps Hillary, like Kennedy, can be liberated in the Senate to allow her true self to shine through without the political calculations. Then she can begin to sponsor progressive legislation, rather than flag burning amendments and sabre-rattling in the Middle East, and with such a record, she could again ascend the heights and still become the first woman president. She made a good speech tonight and began the process of reconciliation among the Democratic factions. I wrote in a previous post (6/5/08) that had Hillary voted against the war in Iraq, she would be the nominee today. But she didn't, and she's not. Barack Obama is the nominee, and if half the voting population wish to protect their hard-won gains, voting for John McCain is antithetical to the cause. For the future of feminism, "Now is the time for all good women to come to the aid of their party."