Featuring essays by Elizabeth George on the future of our country
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A LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
MEA CULPA
GIVE THE GOP A LANDSLIDE VICTORY
THE ELEPHANT, THE ROOM, AND THE PEOPLE
PART II
THE ELEPHANT, THE ROOM, AND THE PEOPLE
PART I
MONEY GRUBBING FEMALES, UNITE!
WE AREN’T ELECTING A HOMECOMING QUEEN
DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN
THE TOOTSIE ISSUE
Toddlers 4 President!
CRYING BABIES AND OTHER PRESSING MATTERS OF STATE
Democratic Convention 2016: How It Might Have Been
I’D LIKE TO FEEL THE BERN, ONLY…
AN UNFORTUNATE REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST
On Matters of the Lie, the War, and Judgment
EGO, POLITICS, AND THE PRESIDENCY
On Getting What We Deserve
HOW JANUARY 2017 WILL LOOK
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Democratic Convention 2016: How It Might Have Been


This is what I dreamed the speech would be:

“Here is the beauty of the Democratic process, a beauty that I wholeheartedly embrace: In a democracy, the people decide, and what history has taught us is that democracy can only exist in a climate in which there are decisions made and decisions accepted because those decisions reflect the will of the majority. Our Founding Fathers understood this. While they worried that a Democratic Republic might not survive more than two hundred years, they were willing to take a leap of faith that depended upon Demos. The people.

“Now the tough thing about letting the people decide and about elections in general is that someone wins and someone else loses. But if we are taught well at the knees of our parents, in the presence of our teachers, and in the associations we forge throughout our lives, what we learn is that losing is merely a part of the democratic process. Losing only means that the time is not quite right for the candidate who doesn’t win.

“I have to tell you that I hated to lose this primary season. But I continue to believe in our cause, in our movement, and in our fight. So what I would like to do now is to tell you how we’re going to move forward because, my friends, we are going to move forward. Now, let me warn you: You are not going to like some of the steps I’m going to ask you to take. But I am here to tell you that you must take them because they will lead eventually to where we want to go as a movement.

“First, you must vote for Hillary Clinton. We fought a hard primary—she and I—and it often became bitter. To be honest, I found myself frequently at odds with her and damn angry with her, just as I have been angry for years about the direction we’ve taken in governmental affairs. But I want you to understand clearly that Hillary Clinton is prepared, she is a fighter, and although I have been at odds with her, I can tell you that when you sift through her history what you will see is that no matter the difficulties she has faced—and we all know a hell of a lot of them, don’t we—she has neither faltered nor has she given up and as a public servant she has never refused to listen to people and she has never refused to compromise when compromise was called for. I will also tell you that she has the respect of worldwide leaders, and believe me this is an important detail in her resume. And I will also tell you that for at least twenty-five years, the narrative of her professional life has been defined by people who fear her and people who wish to see her fail, investigating her every which way to Sunday: from travelgate to emailgate and all points in between. They have succeeded in creating a narrative about who she is as a person, and understand me well: You must never believe in anyone’s words--including mine—if that person is attempting to define the narrative of an election. You must yourself be a seeker of truth, and the truth in this case is that Hillary is the only person running for President as of this moment who can and will serve your interests if she is elected.

“But what of our movement? you ask. What of our dreams? What of our hopes? Here’s what:

“I told you that first you must vote for Hillary. After that, you must vote for every progressive candidate on your ballot: from those running for city council to those running for the House and the Senate. Your governors should be progressives; your state senators and representatives should be progressives. Your judges, your sheriffs, your county clerks, your city council members, and your school board members….You must vote only for those whose words and plans tell you that they have heard your call and are willing to take on the progressive agenda.

“Then, you must watch them and listen to them. You must stay informed. I do not mean stay informed by watching television journalism which, as we all know, has been reduced in this country to little more than infotainment. I mean you must read: progressive magazines, progressive blogs, progressive websites. As you do this, you must decide if the path you want the country to take is the path being taken by those you have elected and if it is not, then you must do three things: you must make your displeasure known through writing letters and sending emails and signing petitions; you must vote again and again during every election and you must boot out of office anyone who says one thing to your face and does another thing behind closed doors; and you must gather by the millions in front of the houses of government—as Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. gathered together those who shared in his dreams of equality—and through this means you must make your wishes known.

“Those are the next steps. You must take them. For this is the election of our lifetimes. Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of elections, and I assure you that you cannot and you must not cast some sort of protest vote because you are upset that we lost. You must not do this and thereby throw the election to Donald Trump. This particular election is too important. The future of our country is too important. Your lives, the lives of your children and your grandchildren and your parents and your nieces and nephews and neighbors are too important to be thrown into the pathway of a man who has shown you from the very first day exactly who and what he is: a racist, a bigot, a xenophobe, a compulsive liar, a name-caller, a cheat, an ignoramus, and a bully. Defeating this man and casting him down in such a way that he crawls off and resides under the pile of manure from which he came is the only way to keep America great and the only road to the kind of change you want. Trust me. Understand me. This is the only way forward.

“So I ask you to vote as I intend to vote, as my wife intends to vote, as my children intend to votes. Vote for Hillary Clinton because at this point she knows what you want from her and what you expect to see from her if you help elect her.

“Look, it’s tough to lose an election. You know it, I know it, and everyone who loses an election knows it, including Secretary Clinton who lost an election to President Obama in 2008 but who then went on to serve the country as Secretary of State. She proved what I believe: that losing an election isn’t the end of the world whereas electing Donald Trump President of the United States damn well might be.

“These last months have been an incredible journey for me, for my family, and for you. I hope you understand that the journey does not end here. What happens next is up to you. Make a decision you can be proud of.”

To overwhelming applause, to the shouts, to the screams, to the tears, he waves, he smiles, and he leaves the stage.

Unfortunately, what actually happened was different. Given a period in the limelight and an audience of 25 millions people, he rehashed the stump speech that he’d given hundreds of times, merely ending it this time with a tepid endorsement of his opponent. After that, he went to his seat where he spent the next three days of the convention glowering, staring, half-heartedly applauding, and generally looking like a man afflicted with hemorrhoids.

What I thought was this: How different it might have been had the fate of the country been just a little bit more important to him than his personal and public grievances.

- Elizabeth George
Whidbey Island
Washington State

 

 
 

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