Thursday, August 28, 2008
By Jessica BramSpecial to WestportNow
Denver—Several readers and people back home have asked me whether I’m finding it true here at the Democratic National Convention that there’s division among the Democrats.
Is it true that there is unrest among Hillary Clinton supporters over ceding the nomination to Barack Obama? Were the hurt feelings real? And could there be an insurrection on the floor, as some have predicted?
Or was all this just the usual hype by the press, seeking to stir up controversy in the age-old ploy to boost ratings?
Westport’s Martha Aasen, one of Hillary’s pledged delegates among the Connecticut delegation, expressed a common perspective. “I really feel that the press in exaggerating the idea of a disgruntled opposition. What does exist is a minority,” she said.
I tended to agree with her. Conflict does, after all, make for headlines and viewer attention.
In my few days here in Denver, I saw a good number of protests. Anti-abortionists. Protesters with “Homo Sex is Sin” placards and bullhorns. Plenty against the war in Iraq. There was even one from a PETA-affiliated group proposing to reduce global warming by banning the eating of meat.
But nothing loud or visible from angry Hillary supporters.
Not that the streets aren’t filled with hordes of Hillary devotees. Hillary-for-President buttons, along with Hillary-Supporter-for-Obama buttons, are ubiquitous. As I stood on long lines waiting to get through security checkpoints and into jam-packed elevators, I found myself in conversations with a good many of them.
“Oh, of course we’ll get in line, women always do,” sighed Tess Banyon, a 50-something red-haired delegate from Kansas wearing two Hillary Clinton buttons.
Kelly Jacobs, a delegate from Tennessee covered in a coat of several hundred Hillary buttons and bearing a chest full of broken homemade fudge pieces with the sign “I’m Sweet on Hillary—Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” waxed philosophical.
When asked by a DNC whip to halt her petition for a full roll call vote, she complied. “I’ve got my Obama coat ready,” she said. “This election is too important.”
And yet, when asked by a reporter who was listening in on our conversation what else Hillary’s supporters hoped to accomplish here, Jacobs choked up. “It’s also a chance to say goodbye,” she said.
I sensed more than the usual tension in the Pepsi Center as we waited for Hillary’s appearance at the convention Tuesday night.
When she stepped on stage, the ovation was unlike anything I had ever seen. The crowd was more than galvanized. People were near hysterical with admiration – even adoration – for this woman in the Creamsicle orange pants suit.
When the crowd finally quieted down and let Hillary begin, I knew I was in the presence of something remarkable. I had heard Hillary speak live twice before. She had always been brilliant, always spoken without hesitation, never consulting a script.
But this time something was strikingly different. Here was a woman who had truly come into her own. Never had I seen someone who seemed so utterly confident, so fully in charge of the moment. She had us in complete control, as she did of every perfectly articulated word and phrase.
It was nothing less than awe inspiring.
But it wasn’t until this afternoon, when I managed to get an “exclusive” invitation along with several thousand others to a separate rally at the Colorado Convention Center in which Hillary would address her pledged delegates and other supporters, that I realized the full impact of Hillary’s presence in Denver this week.
As the crowd surged to the podium where Hillary would address her delegates and formally “release” their pledged votes, it became clear what the press had been intimating. Yes, there were some hurt feelings. Certainly there was disappointment.
But most of all there was passion – unlike anything I had ever before seen. I knew then, to the bottom of my soul, that I was in the presence of someone this Democratic Party, and this country, would hear from again.
This woman will be president one day. There isn’t the slightest doubt in my mind.
Westporter Jessica Bram is a writer, radio commentator and founder of the Westport Writers’ Workshop.
Posted 08/28/08 at 12:53 AM Permalink
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Thanks, Jessica, that was a wonderful piece to read; you captured an historic moment with some beautiful, heartfelt writing.
Wow, Jessica! I felt I was there. There is much magic in words. Yours and hers—spoken and written.
for your vivid, colorful commentary! Your words capture
the pulse of what it’s like to be at the convention….and
you keep it REAL. Listening to the nightly speeches, I feel the democratic party is the essence of America. As the lovely Martha Aasen said, I feel very proud to be a democrat. Hillary and Obama have made history
but the best is yet to come…and it’s been a loooong time
Smiles, Sandra Wendler