Friday, August 28, 2015

A Tale of Two Dorothys

Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have a unique thing in common with each other - both of them were born to mothers named Dorothy... Ironically, they also both credit their upbringing with helping to shape their ideas about society and the economy.

Hillary Clinton released a campaign advertisement about her mother, Dorothy, in which she described her influence this way:

"It opened my mother's eyes... For the first time, she saw parents who loved and cared for their children. That became the kind of loving family that she provided for us. You see, when she needed a champion, someone was there.  I think about all the 'Dorothys' who fight for their families and never give up."

Bernie Sanders, in an interview with the New York Times, used far fewer words to summarize his maternal influence:

"Sensitivity to class was imbedded in me then quite deeply."

Both candidates describe their mothers as having dealt with poverty and it is surmised that both women were somewhat outcast from society early in life.  But Sanders mother, a Polish/Jewish immigrant, never got to realize her marker of success... The ability to live in a "private home".
Finances were probably a challenge for Eli Sanders, a struggling paint salesman whose own parents were killed in the Holocaust before he escaped to the United States.  Sanders' mother died at the young age of 46 when he just 19.

It is for these painful reasons that journalists and supporters should give Sanders some additional privacy concerning his family and avoid too many comparisons. 

Dorothy Howell Rodham did not live quite long enough to see her daughter become the first female President of the United States, but she was present all through Hillary's tenure as First Lady,  Senator and was even present at Hillary's swearing-in as the 3rd female Secretary of State.  That's definitely something.  It's enough for Hillary's mom to have known that she did what her own parents may not have been capable of - a confirmation.

Dorothy Glassberg Sanders would undoubtedly be just as proud of her son's accomplishments as a Congressman, Senator and Mayor of an American city.  Unfortunately however, it was not possible for her to witness the full scope of her son's greatness in this physical realm. We can only hope the universe is kind enough to communicate that to her.

I wish both candidates good luck as mothers across America will be anxiously looking to them for answers to problems such as income inequality and gun violence...  The former issue being a very good reason to listen to Sanders, the latter is quickly becoming Clinton's strong suit.