Thursday, February 21, 2008

Foundations

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Henry David Thoreau

Hillary's closing remarks from tonight's debate perfectly encapsulate who she is and why she is running. It is about humility about one's own blessings and respect for others. From the CNN transcript:

CLINTON: Well, I think everybody here knows I've lived through some crises and some challenging moments in my life. And...

(APPLAUSE)

And I am grateful for the support and the prayers of countless Americans. But people often ask me, "How do you do it?" You know, "How do you keep going?" And I just have to shake my head in wonderment, because with all of the challenges that I've had, they are nothing compared to what I see happening in the lives of Americans every single day. along with Senator McCain, as the only two elected officials, to speak at the opening at the Intrepid Center at Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio, a center designed to take care of and provide rehabilitation for our brave young men and women who have been injured in war. And I remember sitting up there and watching them come in. Those who could walk were walking. Those who had lost limbs were trying with great courage to get themselves in without the help of others. Some were in wheelchairs and some were on gurneys. And the speaker representing these wounded warriors had had most of his face disfigured by the results of fire from a roadside bomb.

CLINTON: You know, the hits I've taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country. And I resolved at a very young age that I'd been blessed and that I was called by my faith and by my upbringing to do what I could to give others the same opportunities and blessings that I took for granted.

That's what gets me up in the morning. That's what motivates me in this campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

And, you know, no matter what happens in this contest -- and I am honored, I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Whatever happens, we're going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the American people, and that's what this election should be about.

This is a complex, nuanced and very powerful statement. It establishes the foundation upon which her beliefs and acts are founded. She has been blessed in her life, despite the very public trials she has faced, and she is humbled by the struggles of others. The knowledge of her accidental privilege compels her to serve. This is what motivates her to do as she does, not the cynical and destructive accusations thrown at her from left and right. There is no self-pity or excuses. It is a simple, direct and compelling story.

She places herself beside McCain, letting us know what it was they witnessed together, and speaks of the strength of those shattered by the war he wishes to continue for a hundred years. She points out that injury does not mean an end or something to be ashamed of, but rather is a test of the humanity of those who watch.

With grace and savvy, she gives her opponent more than his due, making clear the deep differences of character between them. Where he grudgingly said she was likeable, she declares she is honored to share the stage with him. It is equal parts charm and power.

And then, the closer. We will be fine, she says, drawing Obama firmly within the world of privilege, we have the power, wealth and support to weather any setback. We will not suffer personally, no matter who wins. But, who might suffer if the decision goes one way or the other? Who will not stand up for the wounded and the sick? Who might not care about the child who is hungry, or the woman who is beaten, or the senior who is bilked? Who to you stand with? What do you stand for, you, my opponent, who stands inside this magic circle of privilege with me and who has assailed me so much in recent times?

"I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the American people, and that's what this election should be about. "

The election is about the lives of ordinary people dealing with the simple annoyances and capricious catastrophes that accumulate through life. It is about those without the wealth, power and connections to get through the recession in good shape. There is the foundation upon which the election has been set if you are a Democrat.

Hillary deftly told the haters they weren't going to turn her aside from her lifelong commitment to public service and challenged Golden Boy Barry to be better than his (borrowed) words.

Anglachel

6 comments:

CognitiveDissonance said...

Exactly. That was one of the most moving statements I've heard her make in this whole campaign. It really summed up quite succinctly what this is really about. I just sat there in awe with my mouth hanging open. It was the grand slam of all grand slams.

ccp said...

Her comment was so selfless and heartfelt. I had tears running down my face the second time I watched it on YouTube. I have a feeling it will affect many more people including some undecided voters. No matter what happens at least Clinton supporters know that they supported the best candidate. I just couldn't see what the Obamabots see in their candidate. He always has this arrogant attitude, looking down at Clinton during the entire debate with his nose in the air. But you know, I'm not really surprised anymore. The Democrats had a slew of great, qualified candidates and once again the American people has chosen the person with the least qualified, silver tongue candidate. Deja vu but I never realized that Democrats would make such a huge mistake after 8 years of Bush. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the voters in Ohio see what we see and that she doesn't lose to the white men and Republicans in Texas who will cross over to vote for Obama. Unfortunately this entire election process is working to eliminate our best candidates.

ccp said...

Anglachel, do you believe her remarks were conciliatory? That's what most of the MSM is saying this morning. That she lost pretty and has come to the realization that her campaign is dead. I didn't get that from her remarks last night. I just thought it was a great answer.

Anglachel said...

No, it wasn't a concession, though that is how her opponents are painting it. It was a challenge to Obama to say what he stands for and who he represents, besides himself. She stands for improving the lives of ordinary people in concrete ways.

Anonymous said...

This should be the basis of an ad--ASAP. Should be run from now until the end of the primaries.

Yes, it truly was powerful and summarzies why she wants to be president. Why she should be president. And I say that as one who dearly hoped Edwards would be our candidate. I trust Hillary to fight everyone more than I trust Obama to do so, especially given his array of advisers and tendencies to use Republican talking points.

Along with her plan to fight for universal healthcare, this could be the closer.

Please.
jawbone

Anonymous said...

ccp--I believe the MCM (mainstream corporate media) have had extremely strong influences on who gets to be the party candidates (they tried to gin up enthusiam for Bradley against Gore, but didn't succeed...then) and they were very much in the Republican Party's pocket during the general election in giving Bush the Younger a pass. They worked to get Dean out, then slagged Kerry almost as much as they did Gore. They worked relentlessly to lessen Edwards' favorable ratings, using the usual lies about Dems: flip floppers, too angry, too weak, the men are effeminate (note that Maureen Dowd is at work on the Obambi line, along with comparing him to a Hollywood starlet in one column), and the women are dykes, bitches (Maureen Dowd also made that word acceptable on the Op-ed Page of the NYTimes--where can it now not be used about Hillary? or any uppity woman who doesn't know her place?), and shrill. All Dems are too liberal, it goes without saying...until they need to say it over and over. Oh, yes--Dems who make money or have money are ipso facto hypocrites. Sheesh.

The American people are ill served by their media. They don't yet comprehend that the media does not serve their interests or the country's interests--the MCM serves the corporate interests, hence the "c."

It's sometimes amazing to me that so many people were able to come to their own conclusions about Al Gore, given the ugly attacks made against him for almost two years by the MCM--then resurrected each time he made an important speech--or movie--that they thought might lead to his getting back into politcs!

Were it not for that butterfly ballot and then the work of the Supreme Five, Gore would have been our president in 2001. Think how differently things would have been managed under a President Gore, if 9/11 had even succeeded under a president who cared about terrorism. But thinking that way leads to tears and frustration....

Point being: The voters do not get discussions of issues, of how candidates would handle problems of the day--they get nitpicking, gossip, and horse race coverage. Or unthinkingly glowing reviews of what's "new," the next "big thing."

Help!
jawbone