Saturday, March 29, 2008

Helen Thomas: Legend

Last night's keynote was amazing. It was more a rundown of Helen Thomas's experiences as a female journalist in the post-WWII years, fighting against the old boys' club, and of all her years covering U.S. presidents---from JFK (her personal favorite) through the current Bush43 (she didn't say her least favorite cause she didn't have to).

Krista and I sat ten feet from Thomas, in the front row. She's tiny. She can't be more than five feet tall. Ann of introduced her as the Patron Saint of Not Shutting Up (which she got from a comment to a post she did about the famous journalist).

Thomas's talk was touching because of how much she's seen, and because of the history she's lived. Her criticism of George W. stems from having seen others come before him and actually be accountable to the people. She called this "the most secretive Administration there is."

Afterwards, during questions from the audience, a college student from Brandeis asked Helen if she thought it was okay to support Hillary for president just because she's a woman. Helen thought on this and answered, "Yes" followed by a creeping, mischievous smile. She qualified this, of course, but it was interesting to hear her talk this out---this eighty-seven-year-old woman who has seen so much change in our country, and who has never not questioned why things are the way they are. She's a model for noncomplacency, and an inspiration: a woman who's proven that you can make a difference by holding to your guns and having courage and, yes, not shutting up.


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