Geraldine Ferraro, Senator

28 03 2011


I was over the moon when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate.

We were going to lose. I knew it, but, like every political activist facing long odds, didn’t let that knowledge get in the way of hope.

And oh, at that monstrous rally in Madison, I actually had hope.

We had been killing ourselves getting ready for the rally. I was taking a full load of classes, but at every spare moment I was up at the office near the Capitol, painting signs, calling Democrats, tacking up signs—anything the harried advance team asked of me. (In return, I got a security pass which allowed me to roam the closed-off Capitol during the rally.)

The day was gray and foggy, but instead of detracting from the scene, the mist allowed us to believe that the crowds went on forever: as far as you could see, there were people, shouting, clapping, roaring us into believing that this ticket could actually carry all of us into the White House.

Ahhh, no.

But I still remember that feeling, that exhaustion and exhilaration and certainty and passion, even if I am no longer able to muster the requisite hope; even if I can no longer muster the requisite hope, I still remember the woman who was at the center of it.

She was. . . disappointing in her commentary on Barack Obama, offering blinkered words about race that she would have pounced on had anyone directed similarly sexist comments at her, as the first woman vice-presidential candidate.

If only she could have set her sights higher, the way she once raised them for so many of us.

So even as I accept the whole of her, I remember the best of her.

Rest in peace, Senator.

photo credit: Janet Hostetter/Associated Press