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.
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.
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.
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.