A tale of two conventions — us vs. him

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Whew. It’s safe to come out now.

Thank you, Democrats. The apocalyptic picture of terror and fury painted at the Republican National Convention made “Mad Max” seem like a Disney flick.

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What a severe and jarring contrast to the Democratic convention, where speaker after speaker delivered messages of hope, kindness and unity. And, what a cavalcade of true-blue Democrats proudly and publicly supported Hillary, as compared to the dearth of respectable Republicans supporting Trump. Who did Trump have? Chachi? And also crickets, of course. Lots of crickets — particularly all the former Republican presidents who remained silent because they don’t believe he’s qualified for the position. Even George W. won’t endorse Trump. Maybe he’s smarter than I thought.

The Democratic party has finally gotten its act together. It’s unified. It’s focused. It’s even embraced unabashed patriotism, something the Republican party long claimed as its own exclusive property.

Wow. You can be liberal and love America now! Down is up, and up is down! Crazy times.

Although I’ve been a No Party Preference voter for more than eight years, I was so impressed by the speakers at the Democratic convention that I’m ready to reregister as a Democrat again. If this is what the Democratic party is about now, I’m all in, because ultimately, we’re all in this together, “Stronger Together,” as Hillary and many others reemphasized over and over, and history shows that positive change happens when we work together.

Trump, on the other hand, isn’t interested in all this togetherness nonsense. He said it himself: “I alone can do it.” His megalomania is simply stunning. Beyond stunning. It’s dangerous. He is psychologically incapable of recognizing when he’s in over his big, orange tribble-topped head. He doesn’t want to be president, he wants to be Führer. He wants to be God. Just put your faith in him, and don’t worry yourself over the details. He’s got it all figured out, even though he’s yet to demonstrate that he has even the most rudimentary grasp of the Constitution or how our government works.

The “mic drop” moment regarding Trump’s ineptitude came in the convention speech given by Khizr Khan, father of a fallen Muslim American soldier, who pulled a copy of the Constitution from his jacket and offered to loan it to Trump so he could study it.

Boom.

Khan’s speech is what America is all about — an America about which, as Vice President Joe Biden stated, Trump doesn’t have a clue.

Although all the Democratic speeches were validating and inspirational, Hillary’s moment in the sun was inarguably the high point. I vicariously imagined what that experience was like, after five decades of devoted (and mostly unappreciated) public service, to experience the culmination of a lifetime’s work, surrounded by deafening roars and cheers. My heart swelled a little, my eyes pooled a little, not just for Hillary but for all women, past and present.

All of us.

Whether you’re with her or not, this was a pivotal moment in history — not just for Hillary, but for every woman who fought to pave the path for her victory, from the suffragettes to the women’s libbers. The long slog toward gender equality took a quantum leap forward this week. Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” should be the anthem of the moment. Finally, we have come a long way, baby.

We.

Us.

I’m relishing Hillary’s success because I remember when things were very different.

* I remember when girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school. Dresses only.

* I remember an elementary school teacher correcting me when I told her my mother was a doctor, saying, “No, she’s a nurse — only men are doctors.”

* I remember when girls weren’t even coaxed into studying math or science, let alone excelling at them. Stick to the humanities or the arts or, better yet, home economics so you’ll know how to be a good wife, which is all that really matters.

* I remember when birth control pills were made available so women could enjoy sex on the same terms as men. Yes, young ladies: Within my own lifetime, birth control was not always available, and the message was clear: Your vagina belongs to your future husband, period.

* I remember when women couldn’t get a loan without a husband to co-sign it.

* I remember when “help wanted” ads could specify that only male applicants need apply.

* I remember that even when women did land a job, they were summarily paid less than men for the same work.

Oh wait. That’s still happening.

Thank you, Congressional Republicans, for killing the equal pay for equal work legislation.

* I remember the push for the Equal Rights Amendment. (Funny little equality side note: It still hasn’t been ratified. May that change under the Clinton Administration.)

Beyond myself, there are a handful of women who can remember when women were not allowed to vote. That was less than 100 years ago, ladies.

This is my main grievance with many Millennial women: They’re all about micro-aggressions and the “rapey” culture, but seem oblivious to the macro-aggressions fought against by generations of women before them. Young women of today have never known anything but gender equality and they take it for granted as their birthright. But ladies, it wasn’t always. Even within my own lifetime, it wasn’t. And the reason it is now is because we fought so hard to make it so. The significance of our first female presidential candidate from a major party deserves more than a shrug and a “meh.”

Also, about that we: It includes not just the women who fought tirelessly for equal treatment under the law, but the men who agreed, and supported them, and participated in tearing down antiquated and arbitrary rules that were inconsistent with the concept of democracy. We did that together. We truly were “Stronger Together,” which is the new Democratic battle cry.

Progress all comes down to us.

Not him.

— Email Debra DeAngelo at debra@wintersexpress.com; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com

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