So I spent the afternoon at the Hillary Clinton rally at our amazing local high school, Washington & Lee: Home of the Generals, in Arlington, Virginia. W&L, as Hillary mentioned in her speech, has been ranked the 31st best high school in all of America. It's got a v. diverse student body and some v. devoted teachers. Today was a regularly-scheduled "early release" day for the students, but hundreds and hundreds of them stood for hours in the chilly February wind in order to see Senator Clinton. I stood in a separate line, labeled "General Public" along with a couple of senior women with tears in their eyes whenever they said "first woman president," and with a bunch of PTA moms. It's been a long time since Son was in high school, so I really loved the chat about whether five advanced placement classes was too many, how much money the band boosters raised over the holidays, and which new English teacher is best.
I don't boost Arlington County enough, but it's just a fucking fantastic place to live and spending time w/ these moms reminded me of why that's so. You know moms like these. One got on her cell and called another and said, "The kids are standing here in the wind and they're starved." Twenty minutes later, the friend shows up w/ bags full of food and a few extra sweaters. Soon, she's handing out food, not just to her kids, but to kids all over the place. Then, she sorts the trash into trash v. recyclables and disposes of it, all the while making sure her daughter has the right book for homework and her husband knows to pick up the middle-school student from indoor track. Our police officers were uniformly kind and helpful to the seniors who'd been standing too long and to the press. Every kid I talked to was polite and smart and impressive as hell. The high school security guards came onto the floor and did the cheers w/ the W&L cheerleaders and the kids loved it.
Hil gave a great speech. She looked amazing, her voice sounded almost 100% recovered, and she was just so damn good at working the crowd. She stayed a long time after the speech, talking to the kids, letting them snap pics w/ their cell phones of them w/ her, and getting hugged.
Interestingly, the longest, loudest, most raucous applause came when she said she'd start bringing the troops home w/in 60 days of her inauguration. These kids sure don't think that the surge is working. The other two issues that got the most enthusiastic responses were Hil's plan to make college affordable and, interestingly, her mention of seriously fighting HIV/AIDS. Hil was introduced by our sheriff, who took the call on 9/11 when the Pentagon, which people forget is in Arlington, was attacked. I felt pretty damn good watching our Democratic woman sheriff introduce our Democratic woman candidate for president. She congratulated Hil for having been a working mom who raised a great daughter and said that Hil inspired her as a mom. You know, no one, especially the local sheriff, has ever said that about a presidential candidate before. It was v. cool. I bitch a lot, and it's justified, but once in a while it's nice to stop and realize that, well, we have come a long way, baby, to get where we got to today.
Some of my favorite moments:
*Sitting near a Hil staffer who was chatting w/ some high school girls. Staffer had an amazing command of figures such as how Hil did in California counties where the youth vote was over X percent, how Hil was expected to do in Virginia depending upon different levels of turnout, the percentage of Hispanic voters registered to vote in Arlington, etc. One girl said, "So how do you get a job like this in a political campaign?" Staffer: "First, take a lot of math and a lot of history . . . ." That's a conversation that would never have happened when I was in high school (back in the Stone Age).
*Little kid, maybe all of 10 years old, standing by the gate where Hil was going to enter. He's w/ the elementary school newspaper, he's got his notepad in his hand, and he really, really, really wants to interview Hillary. Secret Service guy tells the kid, v. nicely, "Sorry, kid, you can't get back there." Kid: "Well, who can get me back there?" Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a child raised in the DC metro area. (Maybe 20 minutes later, I see a Clinton staffer walking the kid behind the rope. Somebody ought to give the kid a job.)
*Nice young Clinton staffer comes out on stage to toss some t-shirts into the crowd. He calls on three kids from the audience to help him and asks their names. Brinn, Sophia, and Zoe. I love this place.
*One kid in the bleachers tosses his book to his friend who says, "You throw like a girl." Four different moms tap him on the shoulder and say: "Want to go outside and have a pitching contest with me?" "I throw like a girl because I am a girl. You have a problem with that?" "Don't you like girls?" and, of course, "Don't throw things." Kid backs down so fast you can't imagine.
*When Hil's delayed a bit, the principal announces that the campaign will pay overtime for the activity busses so everyone can stay.
*Hil says "I will be a Commander in Chief who uses our military as a last resort."
*Hil tells how her dad wouldn't pay for law school for her and how she financed it, anyway.
*Hil says that there should be a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and that people w/ ARMs who can pay the current rate shouldn't lose their homes.
*Hil says that, when she's president, we won't give tax breaks to companies that take jobs out of Virginia to help those companies move offshore.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."