Inside Hillary Clinton's Life after the Election
As staffers and friends began to melt down with shock and grief, Clinton, by all accounts, remained preternaturally calm. One staffer speculated that she was able to do so because she is a person who often expects the worst and does not trust the best: “It was an example of reality rising to meet her expectations.”
“I remember having conversations with her which were gut-wrenching to me,” says Mook of that night. “Saying to her, ‘The math isn’t there. It doesn’t look like we can win.’ She was so stoic about it. She immediately went into the mode of thinking, Okay, what do we do next?”
Speechwriters Dan Schwerin and Megan Rooney realized that they were going to have to produce a concession speech. Rooney had drafted one and stuck it in a drawer. As the evening wore on, they started working on it. By the time the results were certain, Clinton and her advisers felt that it was too late to make a speech; she wanted to consider carefully what she had to say, and went back and forth with her team about the stance to take toward Trump. When Schwerin and Rooney came to her suite at the Peninsula Hotel the next morning to go over the draft, Clinton was sitting in her bathrobe at the table. She had slept only briefly, but she was clear: She wanted to take a slightly more aggressive approach, focusing on the protection of democratic norms, and she wanted to emphasize the message to young girls, the passage that would become the heart of her speech.
As the pair of writers left her room and walked down the hall, Rooney turned to Schwerin and said, “That’s a president.” Schwerin remembers: “Because here, in this incredibly difficult moment, she was thinking calmly and rationally about what the country needs to hear.” Schwerin said that until then he had held it together. “But I kind of lost it then.”
And flashback, from the same writer, almost exactly a year ago:
There is an Indiana Jones–style, “It had to be snakes” inevitability about the fact that Donald Trump is Clinton’s Republican rival. Of course Hillary Clinton is going to have to run against a man who seems both to embody and have attracted the support of everything male, white, and angry about the ascension of women and black people in America. Trump is the antithesis of Clinton’s pragmatism, her careful nature, her capacious understanding of American civic and government institutions and how to maneuver within them. Of course a woman who wants to land in the Oval Office is going to have to get past an aggressive reality-TV star who has literally talked about his penis in a debate.
For many Junes, this was my favorite cocktail. Yes, I realize that I sound particularly like a weird food writer person and not a person who lives among other people because most normal, sane people do not have a favorite cocktail for each month of the year, even if you agree with me — you do, right? –that a Perfect Manhattan is the ideal way to warm up on the first cold September day and a Porch Swing is the most refreshing way to endure a sultry July afternoon, but hear me out: this is squarely June or the weeks leading up to it because it’s a celebration of strawberries, so we might as well wait until they’re overripe the moment you turn your head and muddle them in a glass.
The core flavor comes from fresh strawberries, black pepper, and lime, a combination I find so likable, I turned it into a popsicle, but at times when you’re not expected to share with kids, you should definitely add some white tequila. The drink was on the menu at Back Forty on Avenue B, an early locavore restaurant that abruptly, and with absolutely no notice, closed and never came back a couple years ago. Like all breakups you didn’t see coming, I’m still a little raw about it. Was it something we did? Something we could have done? But I’m sure they’re not somewhere pouting over us.
Earlier this year I was delighted to contribute a d'var Torah to My Jewish Learning for the first Torah portion in the book of Leviticus: Vayikra - What Silence Conceals and Reveals. They've asked me to write a few more commentaries for them, and one of them has just been published. This one's for the Torah portion called Korach, which we'll be reading later this summer.
Here's a taste of what I wrote:
... It’s easy for moderns to empathize with Korach. Maybe we too have chafed against leadership, religious or otherwise, that has seemed too top-down. The modern-day legal system under which we live says that every citizen is equal in the eyes of the law, and the ancient priestly system that placed Aaron and his sons at the top of the hierarchy may offend our democratic sensibilities.
Most of all, Korach’s cry — “all of the community are holy, and God is in their midst” — speaks to us on a spiritual level. Torah teaches that when we build a space in our lives for God, God dwells among us (or within us). Being a leader doesn’t make one closer to God, and any leader who thinks that it does is in need of doing some serious internal work.
But this story isn’t as simple as it may initially seem. Korach is identified as a son of Levi — part of the “secondary” priestly caste in the ancient system that placed Kohanim (priests) at the top of the ladder, Levi’im (Levites, or secondary priests) beneath them, and Yisrael (ordinary Israelites) at the bottom. It’s possible that his rebellion wasn’t motivated by the kind of communitarian impulse that moderns might admire, but by the desire to depose Aaron and his sons so that Korach and his sons could be at the top of the hierarchy instead. Seen through that lens, Korach and his followers attempted a coup that would have replicated the same top-down use of power against which we want to think they are rebelling.
I’m also struck by the language the Torah uses to describe the incident: Korach and his followers “assemble against” Moses and Aaron. This isn’t a friendly conversation, a heart-to-heart about the direction the Israelites are taking in their wilderness wandering, or a question about leadership style and priorities. This is rebellion. ...
I hope you'll click through and read the whole thing: A Failed Rebellion.
Deep thanks to the editors at MJL for publishing my work.
These were in a second hand shop in Seattle. They are so beautiful - and were so inexpensive - I could not pass them by. My best guess is - volumes 2, 3 and 5 of the Annotated Complete Works of Nogami ? ... but I can't find any further information. Anyone know enough Japanese to decipher what these might be? Or what the stamp on the colophon page means?
註解謠曲全集, 野上豊一郎著, 中央公論社
My latest essay has been published at The Wisdom Daily. It's about divorce, and life changes, and the difference between rebuilding and starting something entirely new. Here's a taste:
...From the matrix of community relationships into which I remain woven, to the reality of the child my ex and I are still committed to co-parenting, I haven’t completely left my old life behind. To be sure, large parts of that life have been gutted and await restoration. (Parts of my heart occasionally still feel gutted and in need of restoration.) But the structures I’m building in this new chapter have to dovetail with the old ones...
Read the whole thing: Life After Divorce Is About Repairing, Not Building Anew.
Judges: Good morning, and welcome to this session of Simulated Congressional Hearings. You have been brought here as constitutional expert witnesses to answer the question "Why did we go to war?" in regards to the American Revolution. Before we begin, please introduce yourselves, and tell us what you hope to be when you grow up and why.
The Rest of the Group: Veterinarian, teacher, doctor, etc. Because they love animals/school/helping people, etc.
Noah: I want to be a time traveler because I love the movie Back to the Future.
The presentation begins.
Kid #1: BOOM.
Kid #2: KAPOW!
Noah: What's that?
Kid #4: That's the SOUND of WAR.
Judges: Dammmmn that's good.
Judges, during follow-up questions: So Noah, you mentioned really liking Back to the Future. What do you think it would be like to take the Delorean back in time to the Boston Tea Party?
Noah: That would be pretty cool. I'd join and help the patriots. Of course if any British soldiers started firing at us I'd be wearing a bullet-proof vest from modern times. To, you know, avoid death.
Judges: Probably a good idea. We appreciated your obvious passion about your subject matter today.
Noah: Yeah, I'm awesome at social studies.
(He did great! Also let be known on the record when the judges asked for a round of applause for everyone's parents he stood up and gave Jason and I a standing ovation. Also he let us hug him in public.)
Cite the final line of five of your fics – your favorites, or the most recent ones.
I'm doing most recent too but skipping one because it's a WiP. Let's see (I know already this is probably going to be THE LOST LAND OF FOREVER RUN-ON SENTENCES) (also doing last lines, not just one):
1. Rey gripped Poe's arm tighter. "It's been a long time," she said. Maybe too long. "But we'll find him, Poe. I know we will. We'll find him." And then we'll bring him home.
No Man is an Island (the Drowned World remix), Star Wars, Poe and Rey
2. Jarvis rolled over too, shifting closer, and rested his forehead against Howard's back, one hand on Howard's shoulder. Howard lay motionless, waiting to make sure Jarvis was really asleep, before he reached out and up to shut off the lamp. Jarvis's left hand slipped from his shoulder to Howard's waist, and Howard reached up with his right hand to hold it in the dark.
Indelibility of Allegiance, Agent Carter, Jarvis and Howard
3. And underneath Marina's words, like a divine descant, there was another voice rising up, somehow in harmony with or resonating with itself, the voice you'd always known and could never have really forgotten, the first voice you ever knew, telling you the best and oldest lie of all: Enough. Enough, you have suffered enough. You deserve peace. My daughter, you are safe now, it is over. You are home.
I'll Never Tear You Apart, The Magicians (TV), Marina and Julia
4. He didn't try to defend himself; whatever she could give him, help or its opposite, he was willing to take, and he knew she'd also been just where he was now, helpless, dependent. He didn't mind losing; not this time. He closed his eyes and waited for her to bring him back, however she could.
I Remember Standing By The Wall (The Pax Natasha Remix), MCU, BuckyNat
5. "Okay, come on, Captain Rogers is about to crash and burn. You can call Talia and yell at her about invading your privacy in the morning. No, leave it, Steve, the memory of our sainted mothers will forgive us if we leave crumbs on the table one fucking night. Come on, Mishka. Let's go to bed."
the hurts of human life, MCU, Stucky
I dunno, besides OMG, GIRL, STOP HOGGING ALL THE COMMAS, themes....people relaxing? People going to sleep? Weariness? Excessive wordiness? "Put on a suit, go down to the bank, fill out an application, get a loan, and buy a full stop"? *hands* ...also, three juggernaut pairings, and the only graphic sex is the TINY pairing in the small fandom.
So this happened. Ike's getting an IEP. Welcome to the club, kid.
But he's getting it for the least dramatic reason possible, at least by our household's standards: He has a pretty bad lisp. He needs some speech therapy.
I asked his preschool teachers about the lisp last year -- they weren't too concerned, given his age. He was likely outgrow it on his own.
(I looked into speech therapy anyway last summer, only to learn that articulation disorders aren't covered under our insurance and the cost would be YIKES.)
The elementary school, on the other hand, absolutely provides services for articulation disorders, so I flagged it as a potential concern on every piece of enrollment paperwork that I possibly could. I asked his kindergarten teacher about the lisp at our first parent-teacher conference -- she'd noticed it, yes. She also wasn't too concerned, given his age, but agreed to have the school's speech pathologist stop by and speak with him.
She did, and blah blah blah not too concerned, given his age, blah blah let's wait and see.
And so we've waited. AND GUESS WHAT.
He hasn't outgrown it. At all. Not even a little bit. He can't pronounce L or R and a bunch of other sounds. He has a tongue thrust that slows his speech down and trips him up on a ton of different words. It's affecting his writing because he can't pronounce words properly to spell them out phonetically. When he tries to go back and read his own writing even he rarely understands what he was trying to say. His peers constantly ask him to repeat himself, and it's affecting his participation in class because he's getting embarrassed to speak in front of the group.
(And yet he wants to go to theater camp!)
(To be fair, both Noah and Ezra had pretty noticeable lisps as toddlers and preschoolers. Noah's speech therapists never thought it was a problem and never addressed it directly. Ezra's pediatrician took the "wait and see" approach as well. They both outgrew it before kindergarten.)
But now that there's a solid argument that yes, this is affecting Ike academically and socially, he will easily qualify for services next year. (And the speech pathologist will provide us with resources and exercises for over the summer.) It's about as good of an outcome and plan as I could ask for, even though ehhhhhhhh I still think the argument could have been made a liiiiiiiittle earlier in the school year.
Not that the lisp has taken away a fraction of his larger-than-life hamminess. But I'm really happy and grateful he'll be getting this help.