Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I have been there!

I immediately recognized the woodwork
Today Hillary gave an important speech about race and she chose the venue well. Illinois' Old State Capitol is where Lincoln gave his House Divided speech, where Barack Obama announced his run for the Presidency, and then returned to introduce Joe Biden as his running mate.

I have had happy times visiting that venerable Springfield landmark -- as a school girl, on trips with my oldest friend and playing tour guide to my nephew. I was supposed to go last month with John, but his illness prevented it. Hopefully we will try to make the trip in spring 2017.

John -- like all my friends of color -- is 100% with Hillary. In fact, before he checked himself into the hospital in May, he reassured me, only half joking, that he had no intention of dying until he voted for Hillary for President. So I look forward to walking the Old State Capitol halls with him.

The speech was important to me because she named the names. She gave proper respect to the five police officers killed in Dallas -- Brent Thompson, Lorne Ahrens, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Smith and Michael Krol. She also named Philando Castile, the St. Paul school employee shot to death during a traffic stop.

Most important to me, she remembered to name Laquan McDonald and Sandra Bland. Those two deaths have left a raised bruise on Chicago.

"There is too much violence and hate in our country. Too little trust and common ground. It can feel impossible to have the conversations we need to have to fix what's broken," she said. Thinking back on the last year, I realize the willingness to have this conversation is what my black and Hispanic friends have pointed to in explaining their consistent support for Hillary. Right now, those friends don't really care about climate change, tuition reimbursement, or reforming Wall Street. To the POC in my circle, concern about those things* feels like a luxury.

Clinton went on to invoke Abe and his commitment to economic equality. "He deeply believed everyone deserved – in his words – ‘a fair chance in the race of life.'"

She also said that now the GOP is in danger of changing from The Party of Lincoln to The Party of Trump. That sentence alone should make everyone want to support her. As a nation, we simply cannot have that man in the White House, and this obviously imperfect woman is now our last line of defense.

Meanwhile, back in the Old State Capitol: Hillary grew up in suburban Park Ridge. I wonder how many times in the long-ago 1950s she went down to Springfield as a girl. I wonder if it ever occurred to her that she'd give a speech in Lincoln's shadow en route to the Presidency.

*As well as my my priorities: protecting the separation of church and state and a woman's right to choose.

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