Thursday, November 15, 2007

Listening in the sickbay

So there I was in the bowels of the ship, somewhere between Corsica and Gibraltar, IV drip hooked up to my left arm and a nebulizer strapped around my nose and mouth (very bad hair day) with visions of dollar signs dancing through my head. I needed a diversion and was so glad I had thought to bring my loaded mp3 player on vacation with me. I chose to begin Woman in Charge by Carl Bernstein. Great choice! For some reason I was under the impression that this book involved a negative treatment of Hillary Clinton so I had steered away. In fact, it is a fascinating and, so far at least, objective look at a most fascinating woman.

Now let me say right up front that I am an Obama girl. He has been my choice ever since I read Dreams from My Father and then the wonderfully titled Audacity of Hope. For me, Barack Obama is everything we need in this country right now, a bright voice of calm and reason in a world gone mad, a thoughtful man of nuance in a country all too black and white. I don't trust my fellow Americans to see this my way though so I'm hedging my bets with Hillary. After reading Bernstein's account I'll be even more comfortable with her as my final candidate.

This is a woman who has had a passion for justice and public service since her most formative college years. Her growth and development from an 18 year old Goldwater Republican to a mature, moderate Democrat was the result of an incredible education, a drive to succeed, a penchant for involving herself with movers and shakers in the legal field and a talent at attracting strong mentors. In fact, the naysayers who think that Hillary only hitched herself to Bill's star don't know the half of it. Most of Hillary's friends, professors and supervisors from her law school days actually thought she was throwing herself away by choosing love, Bill and Arkansas rather than a political career of her own. To her credit, through hard work and extreme determination, she's managed to have it all.

Hillary Clinton has been labeled a "polarizing" candidate and it's thought that voters either love her or hate her. I truly hope that Bernstein's book will get into voters' hands in time for them to get to know and empathize with this deeply complex woman who overcame a background that was a far cry from the idyllic life she herself described in her autobiography. Hillary has worked against racial discrimination and injustice since her early days with Marian Wright Edelman and the Childrens' Defense Fund. She struggled for more than two years with her decision to marry Bill and went into that relationship with full knowledge of his weaknesses which she ascribed to his less than savory childhood. She saw a visionary; he saw a nuts and bolts, "just do it" kind of gal. Contrary to public opinion, he pursued her relentlessly. Between them they have worked non-stop to fulfill an idealistic dream for a better world.

I haven't gotten to the "bad" chapters yet and I know it will be painful to read about the Monica fiasco and the impeachment proceedings. Ironically, Hillary Clinton made a name for herself in legal circles working on the impeachment of Richard Nixon. But I'll keep reading for the insight and with a firm knowledge that, as bad as it was, it doesn't hold a candle to what's happening right now.


Infobabe said...

I respect her, but if only she had gone to Mount Holyoke...

Sallyb said...

You gave me a good laugh for today! I look as forward to your comments as I do to writing.