Writing left handed

DNC Day #3: When All Eyes Were on Vermont

I’ve been through enough breakups (and failed real estate bids) to recognize the 5 Stages of Grief when I see them: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

Well on this day, the third of the Democratic National Convention, upon which a woman officially holds the presidential nomination of a major political party, it’s safe to say that I’ve passed from denial to anger.

Denial was fun. Denial was collecting signatures and circulating petitions and registering for credentials and tuning in, with baited breath, to conference calls with hundreds of other Bernie delegates across the nation.

Bernie speaks to Delegates at DNC

Senator Sanders speaks to his delegates at the DNC

Denial was thinking, “This is it! This is when he’s going to reveal his secret plan and give us directions to the rendezvous point!”

Denial was thinking the endorsement came so early for a reason, that it was just a rouse– just a cover for the real revolution– and that soon we’d get a signal and, quite likely, a set of paratrooper style uniforms delivered to our hotel rooms, just like in the Hunger Games.

Denial was thinking that the Hillary delegates would come to their senses, due, in no small part, to our shining personalities and charming small talk on the elevators. They’d realize we’re not just a bunch of hipsters, or worse still hippies, because we’ve played the game and dressed professionally and shown up on time, even though it’s been nothing but a patronizing, condescending, now you’d better toe the line brand of so-called “appreciation” from the beginning.

Denial was thinking they’d come to see the light, one by one, and that the convention would play out just like it did on West Wing, the irony being of course that the real DNC was (and probably always will be) more scripted than Jed Barlett’s version.

Denial was thinking that a miracle was actually possible, that the numbers might somehow add up differently this time, when in truth the decision was made months ago and was never actually ours to begin with.

Corey Booker at PA Delegation Breakfast

Corey Booker addresses the PA delegation at breakfast

Even after the reality sank in, after we realized their was no secret plot, no rendezvous point, no uniforms awaiting us in our hotels rooms, denial was still fun for a little while.

Friends were posting adorable little anecdotes on Facebook about their daughters doing victory dances, taping handmade “I’m with her” signs on their bedroom doors and saying cute things like “Daddy, I’m happy there’s going to be girl president because so far, we’ve only had boy presidents.”

Even my mother-in-law sent an email to both of her sons and their wives, subject line “Hooray!” with an attached photo of herself in a Hillary hat and a Hillary shirt holding what appeared to be a Hillary Prescious Moments figurine.

I love my mother-in-law, and the joy on her face made me smile. I imagine she probably feared that she’d never see a woman in the White House during her lifetime, just like my mother feared she’d never see a black man.

And I get that my generation enjoys (and often takes for granted) many rights and privileges that previous generations fought for: the 19th Ammendment, Title IX, Roe v. Wade and so on.

I get that this is a herstoric moment.

And for this reason I found myself suddenly hoarding Hillary signs for my future daughters, granddaughters and nephews (because they need to be feminists too). I even snagged one for the spunky daughter of a friend in New Hampshire who happened to be the lone Hillary supporter in a family Berners.

“Here is an authentic piece of history from the convention floor on the night that a women won the nomination for President,” I wrote on a piece of hot pink paper to mail along with the sign. The educator in me compelled me to add, “Maybe you’ll be next!”

I was sitting at my dining room table crying the whole time, feeling so much pride to have been a delegate for Bernie, to have been there when all eyes were on the Vermont delegation, to have seen him make the ultimate sacrifice, on international television no less, and to know that I played a role, however small, in that.

Bernie sign at DNC.jpg

And denial made me feel another type of pride: pride in having been a delegate at the DNC the year that we finally nominated a woman. Pride to have finally broken the ultimate glass ceiling. Pride to have witnessed the democratic process in action.

Except, as I dragged myself out of bed this morning and caught sight of my wilted mascara in the mirror, I realized there was nothing democratic about this particular brand of the democratic process. The corporate lobbyists, Super PACs, Super delegates, election fraud, media bias and voter suppression comprise just the tip of the iceberg. And now that I’ve been “on the inside” for a past few days, I’m starting to see just how big and ugly the rest of the iceberg is.

And I’m angry.

Hello Stage 2 of the grieving process.

21 Responses to “DNC Day #3: When All Eyes Were on Vermont”

  1. susan macbride

    He anger is necessary to continue to mobilize the grassroots revolution. It is long, hard work. Keep it up. I am proud to know you!

    • Kat Richter

      Thanks, Susan. I wish you had gotten the chance to have served as a delegate as well. But yes– anger is good when you can make it useful.

  2. Talya

    My sister is also on the Hillary bandwagon. When I asked her why- she said “it’s because Hillary is the lesser of two evils, and we can’t let Trump win.” That’s it. Not that she actually LIKES Hillary, but because we can’t let Trump win. And there are a lot of people of that mindset.

    It’s a little sad, really.

  3. David

    I enjoy your posts, the reasoned narrative and the humor.
    I’m all in for a woman president. I want one that doesn’t display all the worst traits of all the worst men to precede her though.
    I was brought to your sight by a post about Jacob George, remember him and all the other victims in your anger. Hillary not only gave away her authority to Dubya, she advocated for war (crimes).

    • Kat Richter

      Oh goodness David, I had just finally stopped crying today but then I read Jacob’s name and started all over again! But thank you for repeating it, it is name worthy of repeating again and again. And I have been saying consistently all week that I don’t care about Hillary’s “inauthenticity” because she’s a woman operating at the highest level a woman’s ever managed to operate in a still very patriarchal society so her robotic and seemingly constantly changing personalities are necessary evils. Same with the corporate lobbyists: yes, she is bought and corrupt but that is how the system currently works and you have to play the game to stay in the game. But what I can’t overlook is the fact that she’s a war hawk. And this makes her complicit in Jacob’s death.

  4. Jerseyite Lurker

    Well folks, like it or not, we really CAN’T let Trump win. I’ll be glad to explain why if needed, but I doubt I need to. (And I voted for Sanders in the primary too, so I’m not speaking as any HRC devotee.)

    • Jerseyite Lurker

      But Kat, I should add, I do sympathize with your grief as a Sanders devotee. I followed your accounts during the campaign. (I wrote what I did above not to seem snippy, but simply because it’s Trump who actually scares me.)

      • Kat Richter

        I hear you– and appreciate your concern over Trump, as do most of the Bernie delegates at this point. There is, of course, a small percentage who will go Green Party or opt for a write-in option but the vast majority at this point gets that we’re in a lesser of two evils situation (especially those in swing states like PA who don’t have the luxury of making a political statement by voting for a third party candidate…)

  5. Grace @ Cultural Life

    I sympathize. Following the disastrous Brexit vote, I’ve been going through the stages of grief in varying order — bouncing from anger to depression… Need to keep going though, and hope that maybe things won’t be as bad as they seem!

    • Kat Richter

      Yes, the Brexit vote was such a terrifying shock to so many of us here! I didn’t think there was any way it could pass but realized afterward that my Facebook feed consists of UK friends who are all either Quakers, academics, or artists… so not exactly a representative sampling of the British populous 😦 But yes– we have to move forward (and for those of us in the US, hope that the Brexit isn’t a foreshadowing of similar anti-immigrant sentiment and a woeful misunderstanding of how the economy actually works getting the better of us!) I hope you’re further along on your grieving process than I am at this point. Stiff upper lip and all that 😉

  6. No longer her landlord

    Once again your writing makes me so proud to be your mother. I am sitting here exhausted from working at the convention while dealing with some Abuela/o issues and thinking all night, when they spoke about H keeping a supporter’s (military) “son safe” NO she WON’T, because she is the one who put him there in the first place…thinking about Jacob of course, and getting upset at the spin. I can handle the other rhetoric that I know is “politispeak” but not that one, no way, no how, never. I will of course “toe the line” and vote blue, and think positively about the Supreme Court, but nothing else will happen if all we do is change the gender in the White House, and do nothing to change the face of Congress.

    • Jerseyite Lurker

      Ex-LL: I appreciate that you’ll vote blue, and make no requests that you do any amount of singing and dancing on the way to and from the ballot booth when you do.

      Good luck with the Abuelo/Abuela challenges.

    • Kat Richter

      Well, not to get all sentimental, but if I hadn’t had you as a mother, I wouldn’t be this good of a writer or have this much interesting stuff to write about. But now, getting back to the matters at hand: UGH the SPIN! I can’t even handle it. And everyone just laps it up like a bunch of sheep. I don’t understand, and I don’t understand especially how certain demographics who experience disproportionately adverse effects from so many of her policies can still support her… I will hold my nose and press the button like a good democrat in November but only because the alternative is so much worse.


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