Although I'm not sure that it is, the handwriting seems clear upon the wall: Sen. Barack Obama will be the Democrats' nominee for president.
In a silly and embarrassing debate not long ago, news anchor Charles Gibson, with sort-of newsman George Stephanopoulos looking earnestly on, asked the two Democratic candidates to "pledge" that they would form a joint ticket. Neither did. Neither wanted to blink. Who would? At this moment, Hillary Clinton is still within a stone's throw of becoming the first woman to be President of the United States. She may preside over the worst years of our lives, but she chooses to soldier on. She says she has dedicated her life to public service and will not give up until the last shot if fired across the bows -- and not even then. She says she will continue to serve.
In a short while, if he is smart, and he is, Barack Obama may ask her to be his running mate.
And it will feel like a defeat, and it will be.
That said, being the first woman to be the Vice President of the United States is no small thing. John Adams may have called it the most useless job in humanity but it need not be. Indeed, Hillary Clinton may be able to fill the obvious gaps in Barack Obama's resume, while enduring the galling the certain holy aura that surrounds the man whose unenviable task is to take away the social sins of the world.
Hillary Clinton doesn't have to accept that mechanic's job. She can continue to have the best job in the world, being a U.S. senator. She can make her influence felt.
But she will have chosen to step off history's train, a train that women -- and some of their daughters -- have watched and waited for a long time coming. She doesn't owe it to me. She doesn't owe it to my daughters in grade school and future candidates and the honor roll of posterity.
She doesn't owe it to herself, because it certainly will be a difficult and possibly thanklss job.
She doesn't owe it to this nation.
Hillary Clinton owes no one the obligation to serve as Barack Obama's second in command -- unless the future of this country, the country in which her own daughter will raise her children, really is more important to her than her personl fortune and her prsonal comfort.
She doesn't owe it to me or women or anyone else -- unless she is telling the truth.
Causes Jacquelyn Mitchard Supports
National MS Society, Women Against MS, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, One Writer's Place