I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to put it together, but last night, while watching her speech accepting the Democratic nomination for President, I had a sudden revelation. I know who Hillary is, and chances are you know her too.
Methodist, activist, thoughtful, but not flashy. A listener and a doer, not a grandstander. Witty and funny, but mostly with her friends and family. Smart as hell, but self-effacing.
I turned to Eric and I said, “She’s your mom!”
Let me explain.
She organized your church trip to Central America to work on women’s issues, she wrote the church newsletter, even when she didn’t have time, she knows the name of not just every member of the church, she knows their kids’ names and their grandkids’ names — she knows their birthdays too and possibly remembers their birth weights. When her neighbor broke their ankle, she drove them back and forth to rehab appointments, because even though she was working full time, “no one else really has time.” And when she retired she was busier than ever.
“I sweat the details of policy, because it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid — if it’s your family. It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president.”
You know how she is. You know her.
She’s pragmatic, and can’t keep still, which drives people crazy. “Sit down and let someone else do it,” is what people say to her all the time, but she can’t stop herself from wanting to fix things. Can’t keep from stacking the dinner plates and silverware at a fancy four-star restaurant just to “help out” even though the servers are like, “seriously, I get paid for this–don’t stack the plates.”
None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone. America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger. I believe that with all my heart.
You know how she is. You know her.
She gets tetchy with fake people, lazy people, selfish people–but never cusses them out. “Well, I just don’t know about so and so,” she’ll say, even though she knows perfectly well, but she’s too much of a nice person to call them an asshole.
[Donald Trump] spoke for 70-odd minutes — and I do mean odd.
You know how she is.
She makes speeches when she has to, not because she likes to get up in front of people and orate, but because someone has to do it. Somebody has to speak up.
…most of all, don’t believe anyone who says: “I alone can fix it.” Those were actually Donald Trump’s words in Cleveland. And they should set off alarm bells for all of us.
Really? I alone can fix it?
Isn’t he forgetting? Troops on the front lines. Police officers and fire fighters who run toward danger. Doctors and nurses who care for us. Teachers who change lives. Entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem. Mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe. He’s forgetting every last one of us. Americans don’t say: “I alone can fix it.” We say: “We’ll fix it together.”
Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do.”
No, Donald, you don’t.
You know her.
And when she speaks, she hates talking about herself, so she always starts with other people.
We heard the man from Hope, Bill Clinton and the man of Hope, Barack Obama….We heard from our terrific vice president, the one-and-only Joe Biden, who spoke from his big heart about our party’s commitment to working people. First lady Michelle Obama reminded us that our children are watching, and the president we elect is going to be their president, too. And for those of you out there who are just getting to know Tim Kaine — you’re soon going to understand why the people of Virginia keep promoting him: from City Council and mayor, to Governor, and now Senator. And I want to thank Bernie Sanders.
Because she’s generous, and she knows that even when she’s in the spotlight, there’s a lot more to the story than personal ego. You know her.
The truth is, through all these years of public service, the “service” part has always come easier to me than the “public” part.
You know how she is.
Maybe people think she’s pushy because she pushes them to do the right thing. Maybe they have issues with her “temperament” because she stood her ground and pointed out hypocrisy, but didn’t yell or scream to do it. Ultimately, she really walks the walk, whether or not people believe her.
“Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”
You know her. I sure do. She gets stuff done and isn’t afraid to dig in and do the icky, grinding, boring work. She sends you the quick email saying she’ll be out of touch for a few days because she’s on a mission to Honduras or wherever. She also remembered to mail your birthday card before she left.
She reminded you when you were arguing with your little sister over something petty that you have responsibilities and she made you think about other people.
She’s not afraid to admit if she makes a mistake, but then insists that it has to be fixed. Let’s not waste time. In fact a lot of her suggestions start with some variant of “Let us…”
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job.
She never backs down from things she believes in and she believes in the goodness of people and the importance of bigger things than just ourselves.
Let our legacy be about “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” That’s why we’re here … not just in this hall, but on this Earth. The Founders showed us that and so have many others since. They were drawn together by love of country, and the selfless passion to build something better for all who follow.
You know her. She’s your mom, your grandma, that best friend from school, the spouse of your colleague who’s always raising funds for Convoy of Hope to bring clean water to Flint, Michigan or shelter trafficked women in Thailand. That’s your uncle the Episcopal priest who taught you to be a global citizen, and that other guy who volunteered with some crazy San Francisco community organization and went to Bolivia to build houses. The person who does as much good as they can for as many people as they can, as long as they can.
I know her. And I’m with her.