I wonder if Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address was as good in person as it reads on paper?
I didn’t watch Hillary Clinton’s speech to the Democratic National Convention last night because I don’t really like convention speeches as delivered. They’re full of applause lines and rehearsed spontaneity.
But take the same speech and read it off a printed page later, and the beauty of the writing shines, regardless of whether you agree with their meaning.
So today I picked up a copy of the transcript of her speech at the convention press office, and read it on the light-rail ride back to the hotel. I’m sure it was powerfully delivered, but I’ll bet it was more powerfully written.
Here’s the line that I found compelling in its simplicity:
“My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election year my daughter got to vote for her mother for president.”
Forget about Obama vs. Clinton and Obama vs. McCain for a second and let’s ponder this pretty powerful point.
Today, Sen. Clinton released her delegates so they can vote for Barack Obama in a show of unity. In the end, they’ll nominate Obama by acclimation in the belief that such an action will somehow make a difference to someone who isn’t strutting about Denver this week.
Sen. Clinton, whether you agree with her or not, has done something over the last two years that no other woman in history has done — she came close to being nominated to run for president by her (major) party.
Now the discussion I hope you’ll have here: Pretend you’re a delegate pledged to Mrs. Clinton. You’ve worked for two years and you believe her accomplishment is as meaningful as that vote her daughter got to cast for her. You’re at the end of the road and you have one opportunity to tell your grandchildren that you did something particularly meaningful in the history of the country’s politics.
How can you not cast that vote?