Despite terminal illness, Bay Stater attends Democratic convention

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Etta Goodstein, a member of the Massachusetts delegation to the Democratic National Convention, is more than the typical Clinton supporter. The Chicago native and Cape Cod resident, who checked herself out of her inpatient hospice to attend the convention, views this week as her swansong for a life of political activism.

Speaking with WBUR’s All Things Considered earlier this week, Goodstein, who is in the final stages of a six-year battle with colorectal cancer, described herself as a “pre-natal” Democrat. Recalling a childhood of attending protests and demonstrations with her parents, Goodstein said that at her first rally, she and her siblings laid down in front of a bulldozer about to fill in a local pond.

Now 63-years-old, Goodstein is a seasoned activist, having been gassed at a protest during the Vietnam War. She served as a delegate in 2000 for Al Gore, but says that this convention, which she is attending in the company of a hospice nurse should a medical emergency arise, will offer the opportunity to be a “witness to history,” as Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman to win a major party’s nomination for the presidency. She warded off concerned relatives by telling them she’d rather be “dead on the convention floor” than miss this historical moment in U.S. politics.

For Goodstein, Clinton is without question the most qualified candidate in the race, and she referred to the former Secretary of State’s Republican counterpart as “despicable.”  Goodstein brushed aside concerns over the DNC’s leaked emails, saying the emails in question were simply politics at work.

Goodstein is realistic about her terminal diagnosis and freely admits that she will in all likelihood not “be around” even two years from now. However, she’s quick to add that she “better be here in November” to cast her vote in the general election. Beyond that, her goal is to be well enough to attend what she hopes will be Clinton’s inauguration next January.

Contact Kelly Thomas at [email protected].