Dream deferred, dream denied


Saying goodbye to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and to an old friend–Amazon Bookstore.

As I write this, Hillary Clinton has just acknowledged Barack Obama’s position as the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, and she’s thrown him her support. There is much rejoicing by chauvinists who are pleased that Clinton is, for all intents and purposes, out of the race-the well-earned victory cheers of Barack Obama’s supporters, and the mourning of her candidacy by some Clinton supporters.

I count myself among Clinton’s supporters but not among the mourners. I have been amazed at the sexism, vitriolic at times, that Sen. Clinton has endured. I’ve also been proud that throughout a long and arduous campaign she’s been strong enough to endure the ups and downs, the sexism and rancor, without complaining.

Along with being a class act, this remarkable woman has been-and will, I believe, continue to be-a role model for other women who aspire to follow in her footsteps as a major party presidential candidate. Whether they are liberal or conservative, Republicans, Democrats or none of the above, they will owe Hillary Clinton a debt for her groundbreaking candidacy. For no longer is it a dream or a possibility that a woman might be president of the United States.

It is no longer a question-can a woman be president?-but a certainty: We will have a woman president, and I believe she will be elected in my lifetime. If her name is not Hillary Clinton, she will be someone whose candidacy Clinton made possible. And that is a huge legacy to all of America, most of all its women and girls, mothers and daughters. Thank you, Hillary, for sticking it out, for persevering. We all owe you.

While the dream of a woman president is only deferred, another, more local dream-come-true is dying. The oldest feminist bookstore anywhere in the world, Amazon Bookstore in Minneapolis, is set to close its doors for good on June 30. No more reprieves. It will be gone forever.

If you’re an Amazon customer, this may not come as a surprise to you. The store has struggled financially for years.

This dream is one I am mourning. The loss of Amazon is a rent in the fabric of our community. It is a loss to all women, to all who love books, and to all those who prize independent bookstores and patronize them even when it might be more convenient to shop at a big-box chain bookstore.

I’ll use the rest of my column to reprint the goodbye letter from Amazon.

Dear friends,

For almost 38 years, Amazon Bookstore has been part of a proud tradition of independent bookselling in the Twin Cities and feminist bookselling across the country. Started by two women on the front porch of a living collective in 1970, Amazon grew to be a vibrant feminist and GLBT oriented bookstore, hosting author events such as Annie Leibovitz, Gloria Steinem, Rebecca Walker, Ani DiFranco; providing a home for book groups, workshops, and classes; a space for local artists, musicians, and writers. Amazon has always been more than a bookstore-we became a place where women, especially lesbians-could find their lives reflected back to them. In recent years we served the broader community of GLBT folks and their allies; of progressive people looking for current political writing; of neighborhood folks looking for a NY Times bestseller or a book for their child.

Unfortunately, with the changing economy of bookselling, we, like many independents, have struggled to keep up with the proliferation of chains and online mega-retailers (you know the ones). We have had many wonderful years and know we have made a difference, but we cannot go on at this point, and our attempt to sell the store has not come to fruition. We have decided to close our doors at the end of June.

We hope that you will come to the store in the next few weeks to say goodbye, tell us your Amazon Bookstore stories, and take advantage of our going out of business sales. Starting Saturday, May 31st, everything in the store will be 20% off. And don’t forget to use that gift card you have been squirreling away.

Thanks again to all of you for being a part of the history of Amazon Bookstore, the oldest feminist bookstore in the world.

– Barb, Megan, Heather, Deb, Amy, Lori, Karen, Mary, Mary Ellen

Goodbye, old friend. I’ll join many others in missing you.