It remains striking to recall, (despite lacking the technological advancements that allow today's spin masters to penetrate all levels of public attention like a deadly virus through a semipermeable membrane), the agility of the monstrous political spin machine, reversing field and cutting back to focus its death rays on the first female interloper in the exclusively male preserve of presidential politics. It's clear that Geraldine Ferraro anticipated major opposition to her historic nomination as the first woman vice presidential candidate and running mate of Walter Mondale in 1984. What she got was a massive retaliatory strike by the opposition and the flaccid support of the Democratic Party, weak kneed at the prospect of fundamental change.
Ms. Ferraro faced challenges from the start, being raised by a single mom after her father's death, but attained the highest levels of success by virtue of her intelligence, perseverance, generosity and optimism. When multiple myeloma crashed into her world in 1998, that too she wrestled to the ground and on a daily basis fought it to a draw, absorbing the physical pain, the fearful psychological trauma, refusing to allow the deadly disease to alter the purpose of her life.
I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2002 and I owe my extra years of continued good health to the Doctors and Nurses and Researchers of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. But the spirit to stand tall and ferociously fight through, over, and around the black beast of cancer, to focus on the bright colors, the overwhelming beauty and joy of life was a gift from Geraldine Ferraro.
I am stunned at the loss of this bright light. Geraldine Ferraro rode stoically at the front blazing a path that many of us followed and as I continue across the treacherous fields, slowing to honor her still form, wanting to stop, to stay and draw strength from her resting soul, I stumble in sadness at the loss of this grand woman.