It's Not All About Hillary Anymore
I sat down to watch Hillary's big speech this morning feeling angry that she had waited so many days to deliver her very necessary concession speech. Why necessary? To let the public know that she had (finally) seen reality: that Obama has won, fair and square, the right to be the Democratic Presidential Nominee who will run against McCain.
When it was clear that she would arrive more than thirty minutes late, I felt irritated. Given her Tuesday evening performance, I was already anxious that her trumpeted "endorsement" of Obama would be half-hearted, and that the speech would be devoted more to self-congratulatory rhetoric and continuing distortions of the truth than to a convincing and ringing endorsement of Obama.
Imagine my shock when, early on in her speech, I found myself moved to tears. Those heartfelt tears fell, in part, because I, too, am a woman who understands that she is deeply indebted to all those suffragettes who so courageously and pro-actively marched and spoke out against the denial of equal rights for all women. I am a woman who appreciates that those courageous actions eventually obtained, for all women, the right to vote and to have more choices in decisions profoundly affecting our lives.
I listened with a growing appreciation for each of the differing, but essential, sections which make up her speech. She began and concluded by thanking her supporters and family, and spoke about (some of ) what motivated her in seeking to become our nation's first female president. She allowed herself some self-congratulatory comments, but, to her credit, she avoided repeating the untrue statement that she had received more votes than any other candidate. And, she included a few sentences devoted to rehabilitating Bill's legacy, while making the case for electing Obama. But, throughout the speech and with ever increasing conviction, intensity, and passion, she pledged her support for Obama. And, she convincingly and urgently invited her supporters to join with her in accomplishing the hard work necessary to assure that Obama is elected.
In the end, she delivered a speech that was all that it needed to be. It has helped to assuage a bit of my anger at her for the hostile, hurtful, and unnecessarily destructive attacks she increasingly made upon Obama during this far too long campaign. She did give a truly awesome speech - and I thank her for that. I don't believe she has transformed herself from the narcissistic, ambition-driven person that she revealed herself to be throughout this campaign, but I respect and appreciate that her endorsement of Obama was strong, convincing, and believable!
Finally, I want to acknowledge that I recognize that for Hillary to arrive at a place, emotionally, where she could deliver this gem of a speech, had to be an enormously painful and difficult journey. I find myself wondering if she was enabled to find the emotional space needed to deliver today's speech by picturing Chelsea as that first female president to inhabit the Oval Office. Such wonderings aside, I think that Hillary's speech demonstrates that she could be a terrific running mate...but...Sadly, I remain concerned about how sincerely supportive she and Bill could/would prove to be over the long haul of a national campaign and throughout the eight years of an Obama Presidency, which I so hope our country will get to enjoy.
I wish I could want to see her as the perfect choice to be Obama's running mate. Regrettably, I cannot.