11 June 2008

Language Matters

When Hillary stood up to make her speech on Saturday, I didn't entirely know what to expect. I thought she would thank her supporters, talk of the campaign that was, and give her support to Barack Obama.

Then, she spoke...and by the end she had done those things, but had gone above and beyond what I think most were expecting.

She shared stories of voters and supporters, and reminded all who were there and who were watching, that 18 million people from all walks of life supported her and voted for her (while also successfully listing every 'walk' there was.)

She spoke of what public service meant to her "...helping people solve their problems and live their dreams", that she could be found "on the front lines of democracy - fighting for the future", of how the fight can be continued to "accomplish the goals for which we stand - is to take our energy, our passion, our strength and do all we can..."

She spoke of "we" several times, reiterating the fact that she is now speaking as a party member and exceptionally important Democrat, reminding her supporters that the biggest and most important "we" of all is the party (and at one point referred to it as a "family".)

Then at paragraph 17, there was a change - the famous Clinton fighting spirit came out, and the crowd got exactly what they hoped for - Hillary.

The one-liners were rolling, the rhythm of determination was on, and the crowd (and I, who by this point was standing open-mouthed) couldn't get enough of it. From "no exceptions, no excuses", "We cannot let this moment slip away. We have come too far and accomplished too much", to "...stretch the boundaries of the possible...", Hillary was ready for battle, and determined to win.

Then, the moment when all realised that she was truly endorsing Barack Obama: "So today, I am standing with Senator Obama to say: Yes we can."

She gave messages of support to her supporters "Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in..." and then gave (for me) one of the most amazing metaphors I have ever heard: "Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it. And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time. That has always been the history of progress in America."

There are many more examples of the brilliant and often awesome (in the true meaning of the word) language used in her speech, and I'm sure that everyone will have parts that they like and some that they don't, but above all else I believe this much is true: If there was ever a speech that defined Hillary and showed why so many millions of American and international supporters/fans want(ed) her as the Democratic Presidential Candidate, her Saturday speech is it.

To end, a one-liner from her speech:

"Some may lead; others may follow; but none of us can go it alone."

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