Friends, Americans, citizens of the World, lend me your ears; I indeed come to praise the Clintons, not to bury them: the evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones—so let it be with the Clintons! In summoning up words akin to Marc Anthony’s speech at Caesar’s funeral, the no-show of the Clintons at the acceptance event of the Democratic National Party’s convention in Denver, Colorado (August 28, 2008), must be viewed through the kaleidoscope of time as numero uno manifesto of how the seeds of division are aptly sown. And most especially after the events of the two days that preceded it—how with dexterity, derision in politics doesn’t have to be a forgotten art of the past.
Without doubt, the intra-party nomination ceremonies between Mrs. Hillary Clinton and Mr. Barack Obama, has been the most expensive, trailblazing, and record-shattering intra-party political wrestle in post-colonial and modern American lore. At every turn, the ever jostling endgame of these ceremonies was the only constant; one that made every partisan spectator to rip his or her hairs out in frustration and anticipation. It was definitely a fight which became clearer to all viewers only a lonesome gladiator was limping out of this one with his or her head still cognizant of the whereabouts of his or her limbs. So I embrace the efforts of Mrs. Clinton, I applaud and laud her as she oft worded it, for “putting those eighteen million cracks in the glass ceiling.” It is unquestionably a monumental and colossal achievement in time.
So after much uneasy and trying times as such, it is emblematically within reason for there to be resentment, bad-blood, animosity, or whatever you will between these two (and of course, the partisan spectators in the wings). It took a while but we all swore this was over, we all packed our bags and headed for the Mile High City amidst some forecasts of impending warfare at the convention: but we shrugged it all off, it didn’t matter that only a couple of days earlier, Mr. Obama had chosen Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware as his running mate and not his former rival, Mrs. Clinton. This convention, because we realized its troubles, was going to be aptly themed “Unity.” Homage to temporary permanence it turned out. Sometime after the convention, I heard Bill Maher of HBO’s late-night Real Time with Bill Maher craftily and so lucidly put it, calling the Clintons and their “partisan spectators” PUMAs—meaning. . . “Party Unity My A**!”
As an act of graciousness (one on which most pundits do agree), Mr. Obama allotted two prime time television slots—each on different days—to his former rival, Mrs. Clinton, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton (arguably the most successful and talented Democrat in modern times). So came Mrs. Clinton to the podium on the second evening of the convention, and attached every policy of Mr. Obama’s as a coincidental relation of her own policies. It was hard not to hear the endless rhyme of what she was all about in what ought to have been an endorsement speech of Mr. Obama. But still who cared, so far as she ended with these words “. . .Let’s elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden for that future worthy of our great country! Thank you and God bless you, and Godspeed!!!” Oh did we clap with such great profusion?! And the ones amongst us who had the lungs for a scream or two joyfully did. We watched as she brimmed from ear to ear; byproduct of the necessary evil called political theatre at its best. And on the ensuing evening, the last known Democratic president of his kind took the stage by storm. He was his usual effusive and powerful self, so charming and talented you can’t help but be awed by his aura. After so many “Obama is King!” moments in his speech, “Barack Obama would lead us away from the DIVISION and fear of the past eight years back into UNITY and hope.” he said. “So if like me, you believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary, and Chelsea, and me in making Barack Obama the next president of the United States. Thank you and God bless you!” And once again we rose to our feet and applauded away without apathy, it was a moment made for the viewer at home.
But hold on, what was this we were hearing?! “The Clintons are not going to be here tomorrow evening,” mentioned a reporter on one of the news networks. This was the moment when rubber needs meet road, the last night of the “Unity” convention: the evening on which by unanimous acclamation spearheaded by Mrs. Clinton only days earlier, Mr. Barack Obama was to accept his nomination for president. The TV cameras scanned the expanse of INVESCO Field where human heads of over 85,000 were gathered on this last evening. We saw the erstwhile second-in-command of the then President Bill Clinton, and even the nominee of four years ago. And then we waited, and waited, and then waited some more for a shot of the Clintons, on their feet, clapping away without reserve, giving us an encore performance of the previous evenings. But alas, as if in a case of “What on God’s earth were you thinking?!” the Clintons turned around and gave us a resounding slap across the face. It was textbook. After so much hype of no division, the Clintons sat in their rooms on the most important night of all, and laughed nonstop at our gullibility. Not even a live seat at the table of history—first African-American nomination—was going to draw them out of their lair. They’ve had to endure two nights of charades; one more night was too much for even them to endure.