It is hope that this explanation and admonition is not received as a condescending lecture to young people, but rather as an insightful retrospective regarding Hillary Clinton. For, although history can be recited to you via historians and pundits, her enemies and foes, and her friends, there is nothing quite the same as a view from the cheap seats. The seats in which regular persons sat from afar and formed not only opinions, but loyalty to Hillary Clinton. So this begins at not quite the beginning, but a beginning of which you, and perhaps even your parents, were not even yet born. A beginning which stretched over decades, that you can not understand unless you yourself were part of it.
For those who watched history when the Nixon impeachment investigation commenced, the daily news was filled with a cast of players, whose names became either famous or infamous. There was one player, whose name did not become a household one during that time. But, nevertheless, that person had a key role – one of the attorneys for the committee, assigned to research, review and investigate for that committee. That person, was Hillary. The results of the findings of that committee, based up the work of those attorneys, led to the resignation of Richard Nixon, and the conviction and imprisonment of many others. And, although the general public did not know her, those Republicans in power did, and like the elephant which is the symbol of their party, they remembered and did not forget her role. It would be forever remembered as Watergate and for many it was the historical event of a lifetime. For Republicans, it was the defeat of a lifetime, and they took names, and Hillary’s name was on that list.
Fast forward to when Hillary Rodham became First Lady of Arkansas. She was criticized for gender based strength. And, during a time when it was unheard of, she refused to relinquish her own surname. But not only her surname, but her profession. She was a brilliant attorney, and was determined to not let go of her vocation. She was of that new generation of women which refused to be placed in the boxes and roles to which their parents had been forced to conform. She continued her work on behalf of children and families. But apparently, it was too much for the aged powers that be and a community which did not want to move too fast, and wanted their governor and first lady to remain recognizable to the past from which they all came. So, Bill Clinton lost his re-election bid. Knowing how much it meant to her husband, Hillary dropped her surname and became “Mrs. Clinton”, but she did not take a back seat, she managed his campaign, and he won.
Fast forward, Bill Clinton was running for president. Suddenly, a woman with whom he had a long-term affair came out of the shadows to disparage him to the press. But it was Hillary who sat beside him during an interview and said if you don’t like him then don’t vote for him, and, saying without saying it, if I can handle it, then so can you. In fact, so must you. Asserting that she was not channeling Tammy Wynette, (stand by your man), but was stating her belief that he was the best man for the job. Bill Clinton won the election.
The press continued to try to pigeon-hole Hillary into that ‘female’ box and challenged her about not wanting to have ‘teas’ and “bake cookies”. Thus, when she actually had the press served cookies, most took it as tongue-in-cheek. Her appearance was criticized, there were even stories about her eyebrows. And she was given such a hard time that there were signs made saying “Don’t pillory Hillary.” But her arrival in Washington refreshed the memories of those elephants and she never really had a chance. There was no ‘let bygones be bygones’. When she presented her healthcare package to Congress, she was not given a fair chance. Her demeanor was not that of today, because she was learning, the hard way, that it was not about fairness, substance, or her capability – it was about her role. A role which the mostly male congress defined for her. First lady – chief ‘smiler’ and hostess with appropriate eyebrows. Those in the cheap seats saw and learned right along with her. She lost that fight, but with the public – score one for Hillary Clinton.
There were all sorts of fake scandals including one called ‘travelgate’. Fueled by press that wanted to be the next Berstien and Woodward. But there was no there there. Score another for Hillary Clinton with the public.
And there was the courageous Hillary, again refusing to be put into that box, who, as First Lady traveled to China for an international women’s congress. Her speech was read by President Bill Clinton’s staff and advisers. They advised that she not attend. That she not say what was in her speech. But there, on China’s soil, challenged the abysmal human rights record of China towards its women, and in that speech, she coined the phrase: “Women’s rights, are human rights.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXM4E23Efvk And there it was, Hillary on the world stage, using her pulpit to call out China … on their own soil. The women of the world cheered her, because, again, it was during a period of time when women were expected to ‘behave appropriately’ and to remember their place. To be nice ladies. Hillary stood her ground and it was yet another milestone for women everywhere.
But then all hell broke loose with the Monica Lewinski scandal, fueled by the Republicans and their players, to take down a popular president and his wife. Watergate would be avenged. But it didn’t work out that way.Because Hillary did not believe it to be true. She had seen so many attempts by the Republicans, she could only believe that this was yet another one, and, on live television, she called it a “vast right-wing conspiracy“. And looking back, one can clearly see with the benefit of hindsight, Bill Clinton was not lying to America when he denied the consensual affair, he was denying
it to Hillary. She was his audience. But soon, it was revealed that the allegation was true. And the next morning after he publicly admitted it, the despair could be seen with Chelsea walking in between the two of them, holding their hands. Hillary not looking at the press, but clearly putting one step in front of the other. But still walking with her family. Scone yet another for Hillary Clinton. Because everyone knew that she had believed him, as did many of his close
friends within his administration. They were publicly disappointed, and said so, for they, as did Hillary, had come to his defense. So if they were disappointed, any person could see and know that she was heartbroken.
Fast forward to the Republican led impeachment of Bill Clinton. Unlike Nixon, he did not resign. And on that day, the look on her face, trying to appear brave, walking beside her husband, told the story. She, like many others knew that he did not deserve that. And many of those who had led the impeachment, had their own tales of infidelity come to light, including Newt Gingrinch. But Hillary weathered it, stood by Bill, and he was acquitted in the senate. It was over. And all eyes were on Hillary. She did not budge from Bill’s side, even after he left office. She stayed and there it was – love and loyalty – score another for Hillary with the general public. And with Ken Starr as special prosecutor with wide-sweeping powers, there was the onslaught of investigations, Whitewater, and too many to name. There was the right-wing hit squad which calls itself ‘Judicial Watch’ with their bombardment of civil lawsuits, merely to get them under oath or to obtain documents. Ken Starr admitted that there was no there there after millions and millions of dollars, grand juries. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/whitewater-case-closed/
She ran for senate and won.She refused to not achieve her own personal potential. She won and was re-elected to the same office by even a larger margin.
Fast forward to her tenure as secretary of state, and the praise which was heaped upon her from both sides of the aisle … until the whispers of a possible presidential run began to circulate. After she left that office, suddenly there were investigations over the deaths of four Americans in Libya. Even though that was probably the smallest number to die during an attack upon what was not even an embassy, but a consulate, the Republican led congress decided that they wanted to build a cross upon which they could nail Hillary. But the public who had watched her through the years, remembered, and did the math themselves. They had seen her under attack so many times, and they were at it again.Unabashedly partisan, those congresspersons, had her go before congress over and over again. The final time was for 11 hours. But this was not the Hillary that had appeared before Congress decades ago, this was the woman with a spine of steel, who sat there and answered all of their questions. They even tried to assign her the role of the Secretary of Defense when military instructions were given, something which did not come from her. Soon, that too was over. She answered questions of regarding security concerns, even though it was the Congress which denied the State Department’s request for additional funding for security.Score another for Hillary.
Then during the primaries, suddenly, all of the debunked scandals, and conspiracy theories resurfaced and those who had been in those cheap seats for years fought back for her. Not through large rallies, but through quietly voting, knowing that all of those lies had not only been proven to be lies, but that Hillary had stood through so much, and that is the Hillary for whom they voted. The survivor.The woman who dared to be different. The woman who had stood up to so many and stood by her husband when the world felt she should do differently.As usual allegations without explanation and right-wing furor over imagined events and worn conspiracy theories.
It is no wonder when the email issue arose, that it was felt that she would be held to a different standard, not only because of being a woman, but because the Republicans were in charge. The same Republicans who did and said nothing when Bush and Cheney deleted nearly 22 million emails on a private server. http://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/web-video/missing-white-house-emails There was no outcry, no investigation.
And no investigation of an administration that had lied to send us to war in Iraq and one in which the vice-president made a handsome profit. To this day – no investigation. Chanting that she should be in jail, even though those same persons chanting can not even cite a crime that she has committed. The American citizens in the cheap seats were watching, and were ignoring the right-wing frenzy fueled by obsession and lies, and which culminated in an unprecedented letter from the Director of the FBI. But those citizens and supporters did not turn on her, they became entrenched in their positions of support and to this moment support her. Why? Because they remember. They remember each and every issue which either turned out to be nothing, and the strength and loyalty she exuded when she stood by and with her family .They remember that when everyone expected Hillary to cut and run, she stood her ground and showed us that strength has nothing to do with gender. Yes, a spine of steel that makes Putin tremble because he recognizes that Hillary is not the one who will put up with his crap or anyone’s for that matter. And isn’t that what we want in a leader?
So, when you cast your vote, do so from the same view as those who watched over decades and admired her for her strength and loyalty, for her toughness and for her warrior spirit.