When They Go Low

Today, thrown against the house by wind from the south, rain pours down. In the middle of two storm systems, I’m grateful to be home, enjoying each and every lamp lit against the gloom, relishing a warm house, and all the easy comforts of electricity – knowing a power outage could darken us at any time.

Yesterday, having business on Bainbridge, (last Thursday by the time this reaches “Her spirits rose…,”) I left home early and spent the day in the car listening to the news cycle, and found myself in tears more than once.

That morning’s announcement of the death of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol colored my thoughts. I knew the Sweet Bride would be so sad, I kept thinking how she, and even her mother, had known this good king their entire lives. As I drove, BBC told stories of his benevolence and concern for his people, a kind and respectful leader.

And then closer to home, the ongoing, orange-tinged insanity continued. Offensive is much too mild a word to describe the disrespectful spewings of venom toward other human beings by the Republican nominee. We have endured this for months, but this day reached the nadir with revelations by his victims.

By midday, bits and pieces of Michelle Obama’s heartfelt, furious speech began to be broadcast. I want to link the whole thing here, because Michelle put into words what we felt, both her disgust at what’s happened and her belief that “real men, strong men” don’t do this. FLOTUS’s speech in New Hampshire.

Listening to the whole speech, I realized that even in her anger, she left me with hope as she described her involvement in the U.S. Government’s initiative to insure education for adolescent girls around the world – “Let Girls Learn.”

I keep picturing Michelle at the podium literally pushing up the sleeves of her navy-blue sweater as she spoke of her hopes for young women (some of their smiling young faces in the audience) – making us want to protect them (and all children) and help them, never, ever disrespect them.

The Nobel Committee also lifted me up that day. The car echoed with the music and memories stirred by the selection of Bob Dylan to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature!

The honorable King Bhumibol, Dylan, and Michelle Obama. I want to fill my mind with their lessons, encouraging us always to “Go High”!

origami-1

If She Does Or If She Doesn’t

Hillary – she’s damned either way. In a recent New York Times Op-Ed piece, David Brooks explored why Hillary’s numbers in the “dislike” column continue to creep upward (her orange-tinged adversary has similarly high dislike numbers, but we know painfully well what causes those).

While not politically in step with Brooks, I did write about his book, “The Social Animal” (to the horror of a progressive reader). But in this Op-Ed Brooks asks the same question I wonder about all the time. How did we get to this vicious place where so much venom pours on the head of a woman who has devoted her life to public service, performed with grace and calm in trying situations, possesses the experience and knowledge to sort through our problems, and is respected around the world?

Brooks avoids the gender elephant, but posits the dislike is driven by Hillary Clinton’s failure to reveal herself as a person with interests beyond policy and government. She’s seen as someone who works too much and is overly serious. Though praised as warm and loving by people who really know her, Brooks says that the public knows nothing about Hillary’s free time activities. (Given how desperate this election is, what free time I wonder).

Golf or basketball games (anything involving balls either manipulated or watched) seem legitimate for the free time of other public figures, but a little yoga, a walk in a garden, FaceTime with a granddaughter, figuring out a present for a special person would surely draw ridicule as too feminine or too something negative. Apparently the fact that Hillary revealed she eats a hot red pepper each day to ward off colds was mocked as phony.

A therapist once told us that we like people for their flaws. But even if Hillary got self-deprecating and told stories about her flaws – and you know she has them – that would somehow backfire.

I hope she has a secret vice – watches “Nashville” or “The Good Wife” late at night to escape the relentlessness of this campaign. But if she reads briefings in bed, that’s OK with me.

It must lift her spirits when she receives photos of her granddaughter from her daughter, she seems to relish being a granny. And who better to care about where the nation goes (for people on the left), specially when that loving mother and granny is a respected senator, successful Secretary of State, and an incredibly hard working, smart, experienced liberal (she seems to recognize more than some these days that change takes time and negotiation to accomplish).

I don’t know how she keeps it up, but I wish her well – all the way to the White House!

H for Hillary