With these hands, with these hands

With these hands, with these hands July 27, 2016

• An insightful grace note in First Lady Michelle Obama’s amazing speech Monday night at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia: “Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters — and all our sons and daughters — now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States.”

That taken-for-grantedness is weird and widespread. This is a country that, in 240 years, has never had a woman as its president. This is a country that, in 240 years, has never before had a woman nominated to be president by a major party. That changed last night, which is a huge, huge thing. This is a major milestone that will be recorded in history books and studied by schoolchildren generations from now.

This T-shirt was dropped by WalMart in 1995 because its message was considered politically offensive to some customers. 19. Ninety. 5. (Click pic for link to article.)

But in the actual moment, the unprecedented, history-making and history-breaking significance of it gets noted with an almost dismissive matter-of-factness. It has never happened before, but it seems to have been regarded as old news even before it occurred. And that’s largely because, as Michelle Obama noted, Hillary Clinton has spent years getting us used to the idea — so much so that something truly radical and revolutionary is met with a shrug and simply taken for granted.

Walter Hagen said great athletes “Make the hard ones look easy and the easy ones look hard.” You will never live long enough to read all the criticism written about Hillary Clinton’s capacity for sometimes making the easy ones look hard, but take a moment this week to acknowledge that she has just accomplished something incredibly hard — something no one, ever, has previously done — and she made it look so easy that we take it for granted.

It wasn’t easy. And the next big step won’t be easy either. No one has ever done it before. If that doesn’t make you stop and say “Wow,” then you’re not paying attention.

Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly says that the enslaved persons who built the White House “were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.”

First Lady Abigail Adams, describing the view from her window at the White House while its construction was still being completed by enslaved workers: “half fed, and destitute of cloathing.”

RIP Garry Marshall. He made you laugh. At some point, pretty much whoever you are and whether you know it or not, you have smiled and laughed at jokes that man came up with.

The link there is to a terrific Fresh Air interview rebroadcast after Marshall’s death at 81. I couldn’t find the earlier Fresh Air appearance, which included the bit that resulted in me thinking of Garry Marshall at least once a week ever since.

Terry Gross asked him how he managed to be so prolific — hit or miss, the man was always writing. And Marshall talked about a workshop class at Northwestern Medill School of Journalism. Students would sit at typewriters, assigned the task of turning a list of facts into a basic, pyramid-style newspaper report, on deadline. The instructors played loud music and walked around, yelling and interrupting the students. And some of the typewriters had been sabotaged with sticking keys and broken ribbons. And so he learned to ignore everything going on around him, put his head down, and just write. Good advice, and not just for writing.

• Bruce Covert reminds us of “That Time Newt Gingrich Tried To Take Kids Away From Welfare Recipients And Put Them in Orphanages.” I’ll spare you another thousand words on how and why folks like Gingrich don’t understand subsidiarity, but you can write it yourself for extra credit.

• Kudos to The New York Times for getting an apt adjective into this headline: “Tim LaHaye Dies at 90; Fundamentalist Leader’s Grisly Novels Sold Millions.” From the obit:

Some critics said that the books, with potboiler plots, characters in conflict and plenty of violence, elevated the sermonizing of old-fashioned Christian fiction into the realms of modern page-turning thrillers by John Grisham, Tom Clancy or Stephen King. Others called them tedious, fatuous, preposterous and exploitative.

• Sometimes you stumble across something on YouTube and see that it’s been there for almost a year and only has 60 views and you think that’s just wrong because there have to be more than 59 other people who got to enjoy that.

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