Hillary Clinton's Speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention
After Tuesday’s Hillary Speech, 8/26/08, Denver, CO, Democratic National Convention
Four years ago I went to a John Kerry fundraiser, where Hillary was the speaker. She was thoughtful, insightful, right-thinking and I left with a yawn about Hillary. She was kind of stiff and pedantic. Many of my friends were Hillary-lovers for years; I just didn’t get it. At the beginning of last year, as I looked at all the candidates, intellectually it became clear to me that Hillary was by far the most qualified to be president. So, since the most qualified person was a woman, why not “support” her, whatever that meant?
The more I saw or heard Hillary in the first half of last year, the more impressed I became with her depth AND breadth. Conversely, other candidates disappointed me, the more I saw them. More due to life-circumstances (not working) than huge commitment to Hillary, I became very involved in her campaign. As the campaign evolved this year, and as Barack challenged her early in the race, I watched Hillary become a better and better campaigner. I believe that the true measure of a person is not how good they are when things are going their way, but how they are when things are going badly. I admired Hillary during the Monica and impeachment debacle. How many people could go through something like that publicly and turn it into something as positive as Hillary has?
Last night I saw Hillary do this alchemy again. She took the experience of the campaign and of Barack getting the nomination, and she grew before our eyes. I really think part of her thinking is, how do I take my experience and rather than being defeated or being a victim, use it to transform myself into someone better, how do I grow from it? All this year, and culminating last night, I saw someone of tremendous talent, unbelievably again increasing the fulfillment of her god-given potential.
Being in the convention hall (again in the nosebleed seats, this time my neighbor was the Australian ambassador to the US and a congressional liaison on his staff, GREAT company!), I was blown away by what truly seemed like the *entire* audience’s response to Hillary. There were clearly Barack supporters, and in my experience, not a small percentage of his supporter have hated Hillary, cheering incredibly wildly, not just polite clapping, and not just when she was saying “that’s why we must elect Barack.” Her personal power as a human being was at a high last night. I think the audience gave her all “10s”!
After these last few months of anxious uncertainty about how the Party and the Obama campaign would “treat” Hillary, her campaign, accomplishments and her supporters up to and through the convention, it was a relief that they celebrated women on Women’s Equality Day, that they celebrated her and what she stood for, and that they acted from courage, not fear, and let her have her say. Beyond relief, it was incredibly moving to have virtually everyone there spontaneously responding as they did. It made me proud to be a Democrat, and proud of what people are capable of.
I am so personally inspired. When I think of my personal future, and the limitations I place on myself when I think about what I might accomplish (my advanced age, my diminishing memory, my introversion, whatever), I am wondering whether I should start thinking rather about how in the second half of my life can I grow myself to truly fulfill all of my god-given potential, not just the easy part of it. And how, like Hillary, might I do it in service to others, with a vision that can help and inspire?
Who says there’s no reason for political conventions anymore?