Bill and Hillary: An American Love Story

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stands onstage with her husband former President Bill Clinton (L) afte
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stands onstage with her husband former President Bill Clinton (L) after speaking during her California primary night rally held in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

I am not a passionate Hillary supporter. I voted for Obama twice and would again if he were on the ballot. But, she is certainly qualified and prudent to a fault and not likely to bomb Toronto because Justin Trudeau dissed Melania on Twitter. Certainly, she is not nearly as big a liar as Donald Trump, who can't even keep his fibs straight. (Full confession: I would vote for Charlie Manson before Trump.)

But I was genuinely and somewhat unexpectedly moved by the DNC program last night leading up to the thrilling nomination of the first woman to run for President by a major political party. I would have been equally thrilled if that woman had been Nikki Haley, who I have come to admire greatly over the past couple of years of living in South Carolina. She represents the heart and soul (and diversity) that the Republicans need if they're ever going regain a national presence in the New America. But, I digress.

From Bernie's thrilling call for voice acclamation to Hillary's glass ceiling breaking goodnight, the nomination looked and felt like the America I have known and loved. Not perfect, but optimistic and forward looking. Yes, there are problems. There have always been problems. Anybody remember World War II, the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, the very stupid Iraq war which destabilized the Mideast, the near Depression of 2008? And, yes, there is too much disparity in income, enabled mainly by the trickle-down nonsense of the Republican Party and by a Democratic Party that has become entirely too cozy with Wall Street. I sincerely hope that Trump and Sanders are the wakeup calls that both parties needed to refocus themselves on the people who vote them into office.

But, let's be real. There is no apocalypse now. It's just the entertainment media industry trying to scare the bejesus out of us to sell us more Viagra and Preparation H. Muslims are not lurking under anybody's bed or infiltrating the White House. Mexicans are not pouring over the border and stealing jobs from white Americans. Crime is way down over the last 20 years. We have the strongest economy in the world.

For me, one of the most inspiring moments of the DNC was the testimony of Lauren Manning, perhaps the most severely burned survivor of 9/11 who woke up one morning to find Senator Hillary Clinton sitting by her hospital bedside --  a Hillary who never stopped coming to see her or calling to see how she was doing or trying to be helpful. That tells me more about Hillary Clinton's character than all of the fake Benghazi and email nonsense put together. There are dozens of stories of Hillary's quiet very public support for New Yorkers in the wake of 9/11. I was there on that terrible day and for years after, and I can tell you that at no point did Donald Trump do jack for anybody other than himself.

The other high point for me was Bill Clinton's ramble down memory lane in which he brilliantly outlined the focus on helping people that has animated Hillary's life. If there is a more skilled politician on the planet, we haven't seen him or her. He has magnetism and charisma to burn (which is great for a politician but less comforting for wives).

I interviewed him once in Little Rock during his first stint as governor and said to the photographer I was working with "This guy is going to be president someday." Everybody knew he was a a hound dog but that Hillary was his soulmate, the real love of his life, and that she was the one woman who could match him intellectually and push him to great heights. She made Bill Clinton better than he could ever have been without her.

Of course, she stood by him through the Monica business. She loved him and knew that he loved her. And she had an investment. If men of that generation, which is also mine, had been dumped for having a roving eye, most of the men over 60 that I know would have been divorced multiple times.

Those of us of a certain age have come a long way with Bill and Hillary. Their story is the back story of many of us from the Vietnam generation. In 1968, we were the Bernie Bros. By the 1990s, when Bill was president, we had become triangulating American Express card revolutionaries. We forgot what we were fighting for and for whom. As insufferable as many of them are, the Sanders army reminded us of our younger, more idealistic selves. I like to think there is some of that '60s revolutionary spirit left. Hillary may be my generation's last chance to get it right.

A version of this post originally appeared on Medium.