When news reached me this past weekend that Geraldine Ferraro had succumbed to cancer at the relatively tender age of 75, I felt an inexplicable sense of loss. This wasn’t a generic sensation—the abstracted sadness we inevitably feel when public figures die—or a civic mourning for the loss of a champion of women’s rights. Rather, my feeling of loss stemmed from something I never had, a sense of nostalgia for a moment I didn’t experience.Read the rest here.
Ferraro’s funeral is today, her death justifiably triggering a surge of tributes and recollections about her life and career, including my own. I was born only a year before Walter Mondale made the groundbreaking decision to name Ferraro as his running mate, making her the first female vice presidential candidate for a national political party. Needless to say, I was not aware at the time of the momentousness of the occasion, but that doesn’t mean that his choice and her narrative do not affect me. It’s a trap that many of us fall into: assuming that those who did not experience an event first-hand won’t feel its ripple effects in time.
Ferraro’s nomination signified hope—a hope that a country mired in institutionalized misogyny could one day see its way to true equality between the sexes. Now, 27 years later, her death compels me to wonder whether we’ve seen much progress.