On the morning of the California primary, I waved my “Hillary” sign at a major intersection during rush hour. When my shift was over, I stopped to chat with two young women on the opposite corner who were holding “Feel the Bern” signs.
“Did you go to the rally last night?” I asked, referring to Bernie’s final get-out-the-vote push in San Francisco.
“Yes! It was so amazing!” they exulted.
“That’s so exciting!” I said, adding before I went off for my morning latte, “As long as we all come together in November.”
Although I meant it sincerely, I must have come across the way every middle-aged mom comes across to children wary of criticism disguised as sweet talk. Their tone darkened immediately: “If we do, Hillary owes us big time.”
I thought of these young women as I watched the Democratic Convention, struck by how young so many attendees were. They had come full of hope and passion, the tears streaming down their faces as their hero Bernie took to the podium. I recognized those rapt faces, those tears. A long time ago that had been me (albeit in my living room, not on any convention floor) soaking in the glory of my hero, George McGovern, incredulous and heartbroken that our noble mission had fallen short.
But I was also myself as I am now: an older woman who felt horrified by the lack of respect and decorum these same young convention-goers showed as they booed and jeered the speakers.
Then I thought of another indecorous young person—my daughter. When Emma was in high school, a classmate’s mother died. My husband and I were away at the time, but when we returned we learned that Emma had attended the memorial service wearing a hot pink wig and a matching sequined mini-skirt that barely covered her privates.
Horrified and ashamed, I lamented my daughter’s inappropriate behavior to a friend.
“Well,” that friend responded. “At least she showed up. That’s what matters.”
Thank you, Bernie supporters, for showing up, with all your passionate, rowdy, heartbroken, idealistic, organized, and chaotic fervor. You have improved the debate, improved the platform, improved Hillary, improved the country. We do owe you big time. I hope you continue to show up.
That’s what will matter, in November and beyond.