Friday, May 01, 2009

My Coffee With Jane

About three years ago I had occasion to have coffee and conversation with Jane Hamsher, co-founder of Firedoglake, progressive activist and movie producer. She had come to Tulsa to see her ailing mother, who succumbed to her illness. At the urging of the "firepups" (what the commentors at Firedoglake call themselves) I called her up. She invited me up to visit over coffee at a local Starbucks.

I live in Oklahoma City, which is 120 miles from Tulsa, but since I am also a truck driver, the trip is like to the corner store. I tend to be somewhat course having spent twenty years in the oilfield and very little makes me nervous, yet that two hour drive up the Turnpike worked on me. In my line of work I never get to have a conversation with a woman of her caliber--to hell with that--anyone of her caliber. She can be brutal and brilliant on her blog. I had better not piss her off was my main concern.

When she came in the coffee house, I noticed she was wearing the same satiny over sized blue top she was wearing the first time I saw her at YearlyKos in Las Vegas. One of those comfy, light and roomy shirts that could easily become a favorite. Her hair was long back then, and very thick, still slightly damp from a recent shower, and, to me, she seemed very thin. One could use the word fragile, if one was completely ignorant of the force that is Jane Hamsher.

We greeted warmly, got some coffee and on the way to a table she gave a brief recount of her mother, Greta, mixed with smiles and tears. Slowly I led the conversation to other areas, as I felt was my role, to gently ease her pain. I asked her how long she had been involved in politics. She sat up, cocked her head and said "always" and regaled me with tales of hither and yon, clearly enjoying her walk down memory lane of her early activism.

We talked and laughed and generally made good of the time. On two occasions her mood drastically changed. The first one was when she declared, "Another Republican President will change the make-up of the Supreme Court and set back women's rights for a generation. I am not going to let that happen!"

The second one came as we were walking toward the door and she let it be known that she had fought off cancer twice. I was angling for the door, being a proper southern gentleman, to open it for her when she said "I will NOT let it beat me," grabbed the door and snatched it open. Her face had completely changed. Her classic beauty had been replaced by a grim glare fixed in determination.

We parted company, and as surely as I was dazzled, she was probably underwhelmed. Still, I hoped I gave her a brief respite from her deep loss. When she left Tulsa, she headed to Connecticut to primary Joe Liebermans ass. Ned Lamont, a local businessman, was running against Lieberman as an opponent to the war. Rahmbo, then head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was parroting Chuck Schumer, then head of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee urging all their hand-picked Blue Dogs to NOT TALK ABOUT THE WAR!!

Jane led the blogosphere by hanging the war around Joe Liebermans neck, along with all his other "short ride" idiotic positions. When Ned Lamont kicked Liebermans ass in the primary, it sent shock waves through the political glitterati. Suddenly it became okay to oppose a stupid war we shouldn't have started to begin with.

Democrats did not lose a single seat anywhere, and the Republicans were slaughtered. The most dangerous place to be was between a camera or microphone and Rahmbo or Schumer. Stupid shits.

Jane suffered her third bout with cancer. It was a bad one, and yet again she stared the grim reaper in the face and sent the fucker packing. In my neighborhood, she is what we would affectionately call one tough fucking broad.

The Presidential race, for awhile, offered three options. One was a warmonger, one voted for the war, but was now opposed to it and the other was opposed to the war from the start. A nice spread on the options and America chose the non-waffling-non-warmonger. No one could have anticipated...

And now our newly elected Democratic President will choose our next Supreme Court Justice. All I have to say is, "Jane, this Justice is for you."


SanderO said...

Beautiful account. I met Jane very briefly shortly after your meeting when she had come up to CT to battle JoeLie.

I had been one of the early adapters of FDL first as DefJef and now as SanderO and I had to meet her and lend a hand in the effort in CT. I did some volunteer work even though I was from NY. Didn't have much time to talk to Jane, but I have admired her work, her intelligence, her writing, and of course her ethics and politics from day one of my consciousness of her. She is a very special lady. We are blessed to have her.

Thanks OFG. Keep on truckn!

billy said...

Jane is a great voice for the progressive movement,she is absolutely brilliant and she amazes me with her understanding of even the most obscure issues.
I have a lot to learn from Jane

Her loyal foot soldier, billybugs