I believe Rodney King said it best

I must admit to being a naughty little liberal by not watching coverage of the Democratic National Convention.  While I certainly don’t mind seeing my candidate and his supporters speechamafying, it’s the commentary that bores the shit out of me.  It’s like John Madden interrupting the Super Bowl to analyze a single play, you just want to shout at the television “We saw that part a dozen times already, can we just move on?” I don’t care to watch a bunch of political analysts listen to a thirty second snippet of speech and then try to translate it into easy to read words, as if the viewers don’t possess the mental faculties to try to figure it out for themselves. I definitely don’t care to watch right-wing pundits play the speeches backwards so that they can hear the Satanic messages in it, or the uproariously shitheaded Karl Rove claiming that Michelle Obama’s speech on Monday night didn’t prove enough that she loves America.  These are the kinds of things that make me think maybe the people who spend their days walking around on subways yelling about Jesus aren’t so crazy after all.  Maybe they watched too much Sean Hannity one day and just snapped.

I gotta say though, after reading the transcript of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech from last night, I’m rather impressed.  It’s everything a good political speech should be: engaging, eloquent, moving without being mawkish.  She demonstrated pride in American values without beating the constituents over the head with the notion of capital-p Patriotism.  It offered sincere (or at least, sincere sounding) endorsement and support of her one-time political rival Barack Obama.

Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.

This is a fight for the future. And it’s a fight we must win.

I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women’s rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

No way. No how. No McCain.

Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our President.

Tonight we need to remember what a Presidential election is really about. When the polls have closed, and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you — the American people, your lives, and your children’s futures.

That’s some good stuff right thar.  I’d love to have those first three lines put on a t-shirt or tote bag.  Later in the speech, Clinton seemed to speak directly to those who were so disappointed in her loss of the Democratic nomination that they are now swearing to not vote at all, or worse, vote for McCain.

I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

Now if that doesn’t get people to stop whining and get motivated about winning this damn election, I don’t know what will.  While Clinton’s loss may have been taken as a huge blow to feminism (though as a cynical feminist I’m still shocked and pleased that she got as far as she did), it’s hardly time to pick up your ball and go home, we still have over two months of game left to play.  If anything the hope, the potential for real change is still there.  She might have lost to a man, but she lost to an African-American man.  I’m still relatively young, but if you had asked me some years ago if that was possible, that the Democratic nomination would come down to a woman and an African-American, I would have said “Well, it’d be nice, but don’t count on it.”  History has already been made here, and we haven’t even gotten to the actual election.  Am I cynical enough to believe that McCain has a very good shot at winning? Hell yes, especially if he goes with Mitt Romney as a running mate, in order to appeal to Republicans who actually think he isn’t conservative enough (and there’s a thought more terrifying than any Saw movie).  That’s why we have to stop with the whining and the grumbling and get our shit together.  If we can’t win, we can at least put up a hell of a good fight.  Even a cynic can have some hope.

 We are Americans. We’re not big on quitting.

But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.

We don’t have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.

Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.

I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come election day. And think about the choices your parents and grandparents made that had such a big impact on your life and on the life of our nation.

We’ve got to ensure that the choice we make in this election honors the sacrifices of all who came before us, and will fill the lives of our children with possibility and hope.

That is our duty, to build that bright future, and to teach our children that in America there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great – and no ceiling too high – for all who work hard, never back down, always keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and in each other.

Votes cannot be expended, or go unused due to sour grapes.  No one has really “lost” yet, but we will if we can’t look past our own motivations in why we wanted a particular candidate to get the nomination.  Howard Dean was my candidate back in 2004.  I wasn’t big on John Kerry personally, but when he won the nomination I supported him without question, because it wasn’t about what was best for me as a woman, or a working class white person, but as an American.  And I gotta say I really loathe making these kinds of flag-waving “do what’s best for your country!” speeches, it’s generally out of character for me.  I’ve spent the majority of my life living in or near urban areas, I may not be the best authority on what is best for my country as a whole.  But if it can motivate people to move beyond selfishness and apathy, and really understand what it means to have a voice in this world, I’m willing to risk looking a little foolish.  And probably a little dramatic.  And hypocritical.  Just do me the service of waiting until the first Wednesday in November before calling me out on it.


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