Heinz Kerry, in the last speech of a long night of speeches at the Democratic National Convention, began by alluding to her growing reputation for spontaneous candor seldom heard in American politics.
"My name is Teresa Heinz Kerry, and by now, I hope it will come as no surprise that I have something to say," she said to laughter and cheers. Everyone was well aware she was in the news in recent days for telling a journalist from a conservative newspaper that has been critical of her for years to "shove it."
But then Heinz Kerry greeted the audience in five languages, spoke out for the protection of the planet and made her case for why she thinks her husband would return the nation to one of moral leadership and endless potential that she had come here believing in, after a childhood under dictatorship in Mozambique and student days in South Africa protesting apartheid.
Speaking in a lilting European accent, Heinz Kerry, 65, recalled how her father, who practiced medicine for 43 years, was able to vote for the first time when he was 73 years old.
Such a life, she said, has given her a special perspective. "I have a very personal feeling about how special America is," she said, "and I know how precious freedom is." And, although she did not use the word, she defined herself as a feminist.
"My right to speak my mind, to have a voice to be what some have called 'opinionated,' is a right I deeply and profoundly cherish," she said, "and my only hope is that one day soon women who have all earned the right to their opinions, instead of being called opinionated will be called smart and well-informed -- just like men.
"I want to acknowledge and honor the women of this world, whose wise voices for much too long have been excluded and discounted," she said. Her remarks were met by wild applause.
Tuesday night was her first opportunity to speak directly to the American public. Mrs. Heinz-Kerry said,"John is a fighter. He earned his medals the old fashioned way, by putting his life on the line for his country. No one will defend this nation more vigorously than he will and he will always be first in the line of fire."......
Wawa, a Burmese expatriate who resides in Maryland shares her thoughts on Mrs. Heinz-Kerry's speech. She quoted Mrs. Heinz-Kerry's remarks, urging people to acknowledge and honor women, whose wise voices for much too long have been excluded and discounted. Wawa noted the comparison of democratic society and dictatorship, highlighting Burmese pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's wisdom encouraging people not to fear to speak the truth, which so far the military leaders have ignored.