Sitting there, the pomp and circumstance of an event that I did not feel a part of blaring before me, I waited. I sneered at sign waving spectators, scoffed at commentary on certain figures and I waited. It was unclear if I was waiting to hear Hillary or waiting to feel more anger toward Obama. I was angry at a country that seemed to be staring down two dead ends. My unwillingness to not vote had me musing that maybe, just maybe, I’d cross party lines.
As the video rolled and I saw footage of a young woman, heard the narrative of a life lived with the belief that anything could be achieved, I began to weep. I thought of my daughters and their future. I remembered being a young girl myself and rallying for Mondale and Ferraro in Eugene, Oregon. I revisited images of my mom railing at the tv while Phyllis Schlafly spoke. Then Chelsea Clinton took the stage. She was radiant and calm, her voice clear.
And a child raised to believe she could be anything she wanted.
“My hero. My mom. Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
And there she was. My breath caught as I watched history being made. Full minutes passed as she waited for the audience to quiet, so that she could address the expectation, realize or defy the theories of the talking heads. Her brilliant orange suit stood in stark contrast to the blues and reds of the stage. She walked back and forth, and as I watched I felt the weight of what that must have been like, to have fought so hard and then to be there in a kind of defeat. My eyes burned with fresh tears, and then she began to speak.
She was so much more than I could have ever hoped, but in fact she was everything I had believed her to be. She was sharp and insightful, strong and passionate. There was pragmatism and optimism, concession and challenge. I listened to almost every word, stopping only a few times to be angry, to debate why she wasn’t giving a different speech. As she asked us to consider why we were there, whether it was for her, or for parents without health care, for children with unemployed parents, everything changed.
My anger faded. My resolve went. And my mind changed. Last night, as my heart broke, the direction I must take became clear. Last night Hillary Rodham Clinton, mom, hero, Senator from New York, daughter, wife won me over again and in doing so she secured my vote for Obama.