Geraldine Ferraro (1935-2011)

It was 1984. How proud I was that a woman was finally nominated as vice president. How excited I was to hear Geraldine Ferraro speak at an authors’ breakfast at the American Booksellers Convention that year.

I was bad. She was eating a muffin but I went up to the three-term congresswoman from Queens with one of my OZ Books yellow and green postcards and asked her if she would please sign it for my seven-year-old daughter, Brook.

She was gracious. I think she understood how much her candidacy meant to women, to their daughters, to herstory. In “A Last Word” New York Times interview, Ferraro recalls an old woman coming up to her, whispering in her ear, “I never thought I would live to see this day.”

Ferraro also admits that if she had won two primaries in the 1990s and had become a U.S. senator, she probably would have run for president in 2000. She would have made a good one. She was tenacious. Ferraro started her lawyering career fighting for rape victims, abused women and children.

Geraldine Ferraro died today after a 12-year battle with blood cancer.

I don’t get why the New York Times didn’t recognize her death as the top online photo and news story of the day. Elizabeth Taylor’s death made it to the top headline. Taylor was an avid AIDS activist and in the public eye for seven decades. She deserves respect.

But in my mind, there’s no comparison to Geraldine Ferraro — she advanced the power of women forever.

 

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