The major political conventions are over! Boo, say nerds. Hooray, say people who just want their regular network TV shows back and journalists who are probably exhausted from two weeks straight of talking points, hats embellished with donkeys and elephants, and stadium food. While the seemingly endless stream of vague political platitudes may have run together like the Ann Coulter's boringly horrible tweets, the women of the Democratic National Convention broke through the mundanity with a few pointy, poignant, and piercing zingers. Here are 20 of the most byte-worthy moments, from ladies only.
Over the last six months, I've seen what these two futures look like. And six months from now, we'll all be living in one, or the other. But only one. A country where our president either has our back or turns his back; a country that honors our foremothers by moving us forward, or one that forces our generation to re-fight the battles they already won; a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn't apply to our bodies and our voices.
We talk often about choice. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's time to choose.
- Sandra Fluke, birth control activist and ovaries-of-brass badass, delivered a short address that noted cunt-hater Todd Kincannon called "the most hateful, strident, angry speech" evarrrrr. Internet high five, Sandra.
First, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are correct when they say that each individual should be responsible. But their budget goes astray in not acknowledging that we are responsible not only for ourselves and our immediate families. Rather, our faith strongly affirms that we are all responsible for one another.
I am my sister's keeper. I am my brother's keeper.
- Sister Simone Campbell, one of the Nuns on the Bus who rode to Washington to protest Paul Ryan's Roadmap for America, a social safety net-slashing budget plan which Catholic clergy condemned as being cruel to the poor. Campbell went on to claim that her support of the Affordable Care Act was part of her "pro life" views. I'd love to see Paul Ryan try to fight a nun.
This year women learned that if we aren't at the table, we're on the menu.
-Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, sounding a lot like her mom, the late Governor Ann Richards of Texas, who at the 1988 Democratic National Convention uttered the famous phrase "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth" and " Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels."
We work on macro issues and macaroni and cheese issues. When women are in the halls of power, our national debate reflects the needs and dreams of American families.
- Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, the first woman elected to the Senate outright.
Believe it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage.
We were so young, so in love, and so in debt.
- First Lady Michelle Obama, killing every grad student couple softly with her song.
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President Obama pushed for fairness in the military, listening to commanders as we ended Don't Ask Don't Tell, and on how to allow women to officially serve in more combat jobs. Because America's daughters are just as capable of defending liberty as her sons!
- Tammy Duckworth, former Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. Duckworth lost both her legs in Iraq, and is currently running for Congress in Illinois against incumbent Joe Walsh, an actual crazy person who is currently in a legal battle about child support payments and in the last couple of months flipped his shit about how Tammy Duckworth talks about her military service "too much." Duckworth, who occasionally wears shirts that say "Dude, where's my leg?" and "Lucky for me, he's an ass man," has responded with her normal sunny pluck. Please don't fuck this up, Illinois.
I'm Nancy Pelosi, but my grandchildren call me Mimi. For me, politics is an extension of my role as a mother and a grandmother. For the Democratic women of the House, our work is not about the next election, but rather the next generation.
- Ex Speaker of the House Nancy "Mimi" Pelosi of California. That she has a special "grandparent nickname" makes sense — I can't imagine anyone calling her Grandma.
Maybe 23 cents doesn't sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account, Cayman Island Investments and an IRA worth tens of millions of dollars. But Governor Romney, when we lose 23 cents every hour, every day, every paycheck, every job, over our entire lives, what we lose can't just be measured in dollars.
- Lilly Ledbetter, equal pay activist and namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill President Obama signed into law after his election.
But America was built by optimists. Optimists like my friend Amanda, who recently started a small business. When she went to buy her website address-her first and last name-she found that someone already owned it, but wasn't using it. So my friend emailed the owner of the site to ask if she could buy it. The owner wrote back.
She is a 13-year-old girl who shares Amanda's name, and politely explained that she could not give up the website. Why? Because the younger Amanda plans to be president of the United States, and she's going to need the website for her campaign.
- Actress and Obama campaign co-chair Eva Longoria, who unfortunately did not inform America of the last name of their inevitable future leader.
Healthy moms mean healthy families. When my Republican colleagues held a hearing about birth control and refused to include a single woman on the first panel as a witness, I asked, "Where are the women?"
Where are the women? The women are here.
- New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, famous cage rattler during the now-infamous Darrell Issa birth control hearing that featured an all-male panel.
Reproductive freedom means economic freedom. And that's what this debate is about.
- Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, who co-chairs both the LGBT Caucus and the Pro-Choice Caucus in the House of Representatives. DeGette is also a vocal proponent of stem cell research as a key to curing many fatal diseases.
In that America, your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. Who won't stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party. It would be an America in which you have a new vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms. An America in which states humiliate women by forcing us to endure invasive ultrasounds we don't want and our doctors say we don't need. An America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it; in which politicians redefine rape so survivors are victimized all over again; in which someone decides which domestic violence victims deserve help, and which don't. We know what this America would look like. In a few short months, it's the America we could be. But it's not the America we should be. It's not who we are.
- Sandra Fluke, again summarizing what you've been thinking for the last year or so.
Simply, with a Republican Congress sitting shotgun, Mitt Romney will put the middle class on the roof and take us for a long, painful ride.
- Senator Patty Murray of Washington, with a great hat tip to Romney's now-infamous dog-on-the-roof incident. Gail Collins must be ecstatic.
Out of 3.2 million young people ages 16 to 24, 2.2 million do not go to college. More than a million don't even graduate from high school. The statistics say that I shouldn't be here, that the most someone like me should hope for is to get by, not get ahead. But I'm not a statistic. I'm a young woman with a bright future.
- Angie Flores, student at Miami Dade College, former student of Dr. Jill Biden
When you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you…you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.
- Michelle Obama, in the quote that seems designed to be superimposed, Successories-style, on a glossy poster of the First Family that will one day be displayed at Boys and Girls Clubs.
Look, I get it. Whether it's school, work, family, we've all got a lot on our minds. People say to me, "I'm just too busy to think about politics." But here's the thing: You may not be thinking about politics, but politics is thinking about you.
- Actress Kerry Washington
We believe in funding family planning because it helps to prevent unintended pregnancy. We believe that a woman considering an abortion should not be forced to have an ultrasound against her will. We believe that rape is rape. We believe that a woman should make health care decisions with her family, her doctor, and her God. And we believe that there's no place in that room for politicians-especially politicians who don't know how women's bodies work.
- NARAL President Nancy Keenan, who announced earlier this year that she'll be stepping down from her post to make room for a younger generation of pro-choice women. Her bravey, fiery speech on the first night was among the unsung highlights of the convention for me.
My sisters and I were encouraged to choose the direction of our lives.
We became a congresswoman, a stay-at-home mom, a filmmaker, and a journalist. And Lino and I taught our children that they could rise to even greater heights. They could become surgeons, CEOs, supreme court justices, secretary of state, and even president of the United States. We didn't teach our daughters that they were second-class citizens.
- Diana DeGette, again being her kickass self.
No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don't run this country for corporations, we run it for people.
- Massachusetts Senate candidate, former Harvard Law professor, and social justice nerdlady she-ro Elizabeth Warren.
If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire…if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores…if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote…if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time…if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream…and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.
- Michelle Obama
- Carina Victoria Castro, daughter of San Antonia Mayor Julian Castro, future CEO of everything.
Goodbye until 2016, sweet, sweet conventions. I'll miss your awkward microphone shadows and dramatic intro videos and especially your awkward reaction shots of bored people holding signs.
Anything I missed? You know where to put it.