Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hillary's Grace

(Photo Credits [except for the bottom one]: Moose; Senator Hillary Clinton announces suspension of her presidential campaign, National Building Museum, Washington, DC, 6/7/08)

Roxie’s World had three sets of eyes on the scene this afternoon for Hillary Clinton’s incredibly graceful exit from her history-making presidential campaign. Through fortunate timing and clever reading of the situation, Moose, Goose, and Candy Man ended up on the main floor of the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, probably about 20 feet from the podium where Clinton spoke. The floor was packed, and heart-broken but enthusiastic supporters lined two tiers of balconies overlooking the stage in the middle of the magnificent late-Victorian building. They gathered on a searingly hot day to honor and to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishment of the first woman in American history to contend seriously for a major-party presidential nomination. They gathered to mourn the fact that her gutsy effort ultimately fell short and to hear the former candidate exhort them not to give up – on this election, the Democratic Party, or their own dreams.

Moose cried, but the woman of the hour did not. Far from it. She took the stage shortly after 12:30, accompanied by her husband, daughter, and mother, and calmly took command of the occasion. Every word and every gesture made it clear that the formal suspension of her campaign will be but a brief pause in her remarkable journey and that she is by no means exiting the stage of American political life.

To which Roxie’s World says: Thank dog.

Clinton beautifully demonstrated today what the nation will miss if it never has her in the Oval Office. From her opening line, which so gently acknowledged her own defeat and disappointment, Clinton went out of her way to honor and console her supporters. “Well,” she deadpanned when the thunderous cheers that greeted her had died down, “this isn’t exactly the party I’d planned, but I sure like the company.”

Her supporters were weepy; she was serene.

Her supporters were reluctant to embrace the opponent who barely beat her; she was emphatic and enthusiastic, even borrowing his signature “Yes, we can” line to underscore a point she often made on the campaign trail about restoring America’s can-do spirit.

Her supporters were still looking back, still wondering what might have been; she urged them to look and to move forward. “Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward,” she reminded them. “Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be.”

Some came with heavy hearts, and her optimistic, encouraging words lightened them. Some came with bitterness toward her opponent or the often misogynistic media, and she exhibited a determination to root out the remaining barriers and biases that impede the full equality of women.

She was motherly, yes, but she showed that maternal empathy or solicitude is in no way at odds with strength, with self-possession, with the capacity to lead. Perhaps in time we will all realize that the great accomplishment of Clinton’s campaign is the incontrovertible evidence she offered that the traditional roles of mother, daughter, and wife are wholly compatible with the duties and demands of the nation’s highest office. She opened our eyes to the possibility that a woman might in some ways approach the office differently, but thanks to her many of us can see that those differences might be assets rather than liabilities.

In the days to come, Roxie’s World will let you know if we’ve decided to heed Senator Clinton’s call to support and campaign for her erstwhile opponent. For now, we pass along a link to the transcript of her marvelous speech, a few photos Moose snapped before her camera battery died, and our heartfelt thanks to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton – for moving us, teaching us, inspiring us, and expanding the political horizons of our nation.

Godspeed, Senator – We look forward to working with you again soon to realize the dream of a better world.

Update: Video of the speech is here. If you haven't seen it, you must.

(Photo Credit [bottom]: Reuters)

14 comments:

  1. Roxie:

    I cried reading this, along with Moose -- thanks for the beautiful account.

    Laura

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  2. RutgersAlumna6:36 PM EDT

    Saw it on HD-TV (the closest I get to the big time), and you told it rightly, Rox — what a fantastic thrill it must have been to stand in that hall with people you love on such an historic day!

    I noticed Bill, Chelsea and Hillary were all wearing black (not sure what the mom had on?), but it did not seem to symbolize mourning — instead I thought they looked rather like a troupe of musicians, I imagined for sax, piano and cello, and the music was grrrrrand !!

    Thanks to Moose for the great photos!

    RA

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  3. Goose here, simply to say, what grace, what leadership--most impressive to me was that she didn't let the media bully her out of talking about sexism, yet when she did so she did not personalize this grave problem but spoke of it as a systemic problem on which she will be more focused. I appreciate that. And I appreciate that she mentioned the gay community not once, but twice, and nothing about her mention seemed forced or the politically correct thing to do. THAT's why a majority of queers are in HRC's camp: we're not being pandered to when she mentions us. She cares about us. The Presidency is not a prize to her, but a service position through which she can tend to our needs and lead others to do so. She talked about others today. . .not herself. As always, she wouldn't let us fawn with "Hillary Hillary Hillary." What a mensch!

    Here's to HRC, the most admirable woman--excuse me, Person--in the world.
    --Goose

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  4. I was thoroughly impressed and moved by her speech today. I was sitting in a room of devoted Obama supporters, and I can say without exaggerating that there was not a dry eye in the room. I think her most salient point, and what made me realize what an asset she is to the party, was that her supporters would be wasting an opportunity to see her dreams and hopes realized if they actively work against the Democratic Party this year. Yes, you might think we're all a bunch of Pudd'nheads, but her point was strong and unequivocal: how dare you support me through thick and thin, and then fail me in the end by denying Democrats the right to the White House again.

    Her message must have been tough for her to deliver, but I have no doubt in my mind that she feels strongly now that Obama must be elected. She said it perfectly -- the stakes ARE too high to squander the future of the country over what will be seen in 6 months as the petty details of an old competition. I rarely if ever approved of the cynical and incompetent campaign she ran, but after today I can easily imagine her as a VP. In 8 years, she might not even be too old to run again. We'll see.

    I can't imagine working for and supporting Hillary for a 16 month campaign, and believing so firmly in the possibility of a woman president, and then turning around and helping an old white man -- the very symbol of the wrongheaded conservative patriarchy you wanted Hillary to smash through -- become our nation's next president, keeping us in Iraq, failing to help the economy, and launching a pre-emptive war with Iran. How any staunch, feminist Dem could choose a crusty old man with a creepy Botox wife over the most liberal Senator in Congress when the freaking SUPREME COURT hangs in the balance is beyond me. You may not like Obama, so just imagine in the voting booth on November 4th that the ballot says the following:

    [] Wire-hanger abortions
    [] A woman's choice

    I think six months is enough time to learn the benefits of putting a Dem in the White House, even if it's not the one you wanted.

    All the best,
    (possibly) your favorite antagonist, Eitan

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  5. Dearest Roxie,

    Thank you so much for this. I had to work a double at work today and so could not come. But I watched it on television and I was so proud of her, and so proud to support her. Hopefully she will still be our president someday. In my heart she already is. Classy does not even begin to describe her today. Nice pictures Moose! That sure is some fancy camera.

    She is such an amazing leader.

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  6. Rox,

    As QTA says--"in my heart she already is [President]"--and she is in my heart, too, QTA. I've never had a candidate who so specifically and clearly stood up for me, QUEER ME!!!

    Thank you QTA. Yes, she is a leader, an amazing one. The office of the Presidency is not everything (as Chris Rock says, even a retarded person [sic: I'm not responsible for Rock's insensitivity about the mentally challenged] can be President. . . .as George the II has proved.

    Hillary commands a respect that can't be ordered by the DNC. The humility, the grace -- no one has ever done it as has HRC.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    --Goose

    Goose

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  7. Candy Man10:55 AM EDT

    Dear Eitan,

    As a sometime dabbler in literary criticism, it strikes me you've misread the tone of Roxie's latest post. With great eloquence and feeling, Roxie points to the qualities that have made -- for so many of us -- HRC an inspiring, moving candidate. Now having reached the end of her campaign, many of us need time to reflect, to come to terms with what we think about it all, and (eventually) to decide what to do next.

    My personal recommendation to you and other Obama supporters: give it a break. You've won. Congratulations. Trying to force-feed Obama to the rest of us isn't going to work. Many of us will eventually vote for him, but there's a certain bad taste in the mouth after this primary season, and it'll take some healing to get rid of it. Aggressive arguing -- with ultimatums attached -- doesn't seem to me a recipe for success.

    Also: Roxie never said anything about voting for McCain. She knows everything you do (and probably more) about the Supreme Court and why it's important not elect another Republican president. Lecturing her -- and the rest of us -- just irritates. It's downright condescending, and it's not the way to win the hearts and minds of HRC's supports.

    Leave it alone. Let Obama speak for himself. We'll be listening. And a good number of us will vote for him in November. Especially if he does the right thing and picks HRC for VP.

    Candy Man

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  8. Dudley the beagle12:02 PM EDT

    Brava, bravissima, Senator! A spectacular speech! I want to jump in here in agreement with Candy Man in respectfully suggesting that Obama supporters follow the advice of I-forget-which-Obama-supporting blogger: basically, can we all just put a sock in it for a couple of weeks? This was a heavy-duty primary, lots of us on both/all sides got very involved with our candidates, and adjustment time is needed--for all of us. It would be the same if Clinton were the nominee, and in that case, I have no doubt that Roxie would be generous in giving Obama supporters time to adjust. The Republicans will still be there in a couple of weeks, and it's not like McCain is going to sew up the election in that time, given that his most immediate need is to get someone on his staff to look at a frickin' color wheel and see if they can find something that works better for him than, um, lime green?

    In the meantime, this beagle wants to say a loud "Amen!" to this suggestion from an Obama supporter (noting that the suggestion is very specifically directed to Obama supporters, not just Clinton supporters).

    (CAVEAT: as I have emphasized to my human, the money shouldn't come from the dog treat fund, because decreasing the Strategic Treat Reserve is just, y'know, wrong. Cat treat fund? Knock yourself out!)

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  9. historiann7:58 PM EDT

    I also want to second Candy Man on everything. Eitan isn't the worst offender (by far!), but over on my blog, the "sore winner" phenomenon has been a major source of irritation for me and my Clinton supporting readers. And, the tendency to lecture, as though it was illegitimate or evidence of some kind of character flaw, to support Clinton for all of the reasons outlined above.

    Also, please consider how it sounds to bludgeon Clinton supporters with the spectre of a reversal of Roe, when the candidate we supported has always unequivocally supported Roe, whereas the presumptive nominee considered supporting John Roberts only until the political folly of that vote was pointed out to him. It strikes us as opportunistic, at the least.

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  10. For the record, John Roberts stated unequivocally during his confirmation hearings:

    "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent."

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  11. Dudley the beagle10:05 PM EDT

    Good point, historiann. Just to add one thing: I've been reading a fair number of ill-considered comments on various blogs on both sides. The one thing to remember -- everybody! -- is that approximately 10 percent* of everybody are idiots, and it is that ten percent that is going to be unable to resist arguing, whining, gloating, snarking, etc., about whatever.

    It doesn't matter what the subject is: they'll be sore winners, sore losers, whatever. You might do what Hilzoy has done over on ObWi and simply declare that the discussion won't happen. (Not that that stopped it, but hey, she tried! And I think it gave those who didn't want to have the argument at least something to wave at those determined to be annoying.)

    Eitan, I don't include you in that 10 percent, as I see in your posts just enthusiasm and a desire to get everybody moving. Admirable, but probably a bit off in the timing, as Candy Man has pointed out.

    _________________________
    *I made up the figure, and it might be low. Could be 15, could be 20. Probably not lower than 10 percent, though.

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  12. For the record, conservative nominees to the Supreme Court have been saying b.s. like that ever since the nomination of Robert Bork went down in flames in part over concern that he had insufficient respect for precedent.

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  13. historiann10:33 PM EDT

    Good point, Roxie. And if Obama was foolish enough to believe what Roberts said in his confirmation hearings, then I hope y'all enjoy that bridge to Hope and Change you just got sold!

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  14. Obama and Clinton both voted against Roberts' confirmation. (They also both voted against Alito's confirmation.)

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