Grandma and mom were under a lot of pressure last night. The family table isn’t big enough anymore. Uncle Joe and the honorable Barack and Hillary have been opening the doors of the house to people outside the family for years. Last night they showed up. Picnic tables were set up in the backyard, the kids table had a smaller kids table, and the people just kept coming. Like the loaves and fishes, pasta multiplied and everyone got fed. The conversation was all about Hillary, and for once the family was close to one voice. Uncle Bernie’s kids got a bit disruptive, but as always, no one shushed them or booed them. They had their say. Then Barack and Joe threw in the clincher: Barack said that even he and Bill had less experience or preparation for the job than Hillary. Everyone nodded. And so it was. She was chosen the new leader of this big, unwieldy, loud family of differing opinions, huge hearts and plans. Hillary is the one everyone turns to for a cool head, a sifting of the facts and a consensus, but that would not have been enough. The family knows she always starts with heart. She has brought so many people in the door from grieving parents to displaced persons to the unemployed and grandma counts on her to find the will and the way to shelter them all. Now, she also has to shelter those whose family has been destroyed by a little Napoleon from New York. The patriarchs and matriarchs of the Republican Party stayed away from their family dinner in Cleveland, but they were welcome to ours in Philadelphia.
My Mid-Western family fought fiercely over politics. My mom’s family, the Turnocks from Indiana, were farmers, plumbers and pipefitters and teachers. Union advocates all, they were grassroots Democrats. Their ancestors built parts of Notre Dame with the rocks from their farms and their skills. My dad’s family, the Amrheins from Illinois, were Republican, business owners, Catholic, and skeptical at best of the Union movement. They sent my dad to Notre Dame. Rarely were they on the same side of an issue, but there was great respect. In Illinois, the party of Lincoln was a strong tradition. Here we are, watching helplessly, as the party of Lincoln is hijacked by a loud-mouthed, self-absorbed, egomaniacal demagogue.
Speaking at the convention, once Republican, once Democrat and now Independent former mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, said: “I’m from New York. I know a Con when I see them.” He told the Democrats that it was their job to elect Hillary and save us from disaster. Retired Generals are speaking of the horrors that will occur should DT (he who shall remain nameless) be elected. Retired General Hutson warned that DT is a “walking, talking poster child for ISIS.” Joe Biden reminded us of the great pleasure DT takes in saying his two little words: “you’re fired.” But President Obama said it best. “We don’t like to be ruled.” He reminded us of his Kansas grandparents who taught humility, truth and kindness and abhorred braggarts.
Both he and Joe Biden talked about the respect Hillary commanded when she was Secretary of State and reminded us of the utter bewilderment felt in the rest of the world as people gathered to celebrate the wacky world of DT in Cleveland.
My thought was that Cleveland needed to be cleared energetically after the convention! The dark, sticky energy of hate and intolerance that flowed from that convention was like seeing the sludge in the Gulf of Mexico after the oil spill. Compare that to the beauty of the moms who had lost children, the survivors of the Charleston shootings, and the daughter of Sandy Hook’s principal gathered in Philadelphia. The energy in the hall was filled with light, music, laughter and courage. The protests for peace when Leon Panetta spoke were not interrupted. There has never been a starker contrast between the parties. May all those strong and loyal Republicans who are wondering where their party went, find peace and a home for their hopes and dreams by voting for Hillary. They will soon rebuild their party, but for now, it is about country first.