Dear American people,
Some of you had a bad reaction when Hillary didn’t kick Bill out of the house after she learned, in the most public and mortifying of ways, that he’d messed around with another woman. She didn’t lash out publicly in anger and rage, she didn’t try to preserve her dignity by packing her suitcase and she didn’t immediately launch divorce proceedings. No, in fact the public got very little from Hillary, who had the audacity to keep her emotional reaction private, directing her feelings, hurt as they were, towards her husband.
In a way, she deprived us, the public, of the usual satisfying denouement of such tawdry philandering. Of the vicarious pleasure of seeing a big man brought down not only with public shaming for his sordid behavior but privately injured as well, in damage to his own marriage. There had been so many similar precedents, the angry melodrama was already set into the public’s expectations . . . only to find that the season finale was concluded away from public viewing and wasn’t even a finale.
Public reaction to the silence of the Clintons’ private post-mortem ranged from surprise to fury. Gloria Steinem hypothesized that the women who were most infuriated when Hillary didn’t break up with Bill were those who, In fact, feel the most vulnerable in their own relationships. These are the women whose husbands had not shared power, who were vulnerable because they had bought into a notion that their primary value in their marriage was in attracting their husbands sexually. For such women, when the sexual bond is broken, they experience loss of economic security and often social status—so they want to see such powerful men severely punished. As Steinem wrote:
I began to understand that Hillary represented the very public, in-your-face opposite of the precarious and unequal lives that some women were living. In a classic sense, they were trying to kill the messenger.
It turns out, Bill and Hillary are an “in-your-face” example of a relationship based on love and mutual respect. Their relationship is based on bonds stronger than “lust.” Far from being the cold, calculating and ambitious women that many have accused her of, the simple truth is that Hillary is fiercely loving and dedicated. She does not try to demonize others when it suits her. She continued to love Bill, even while likely despising certain behavior, and together they privately chose to work through his issue with self-control.
Similarly, after battling hard with Obama in the Democratic primary race in 2008, Hillary was forced to concede defeat and she did so with poise and grace. She endorsed Obama and worked hard towards his election. She did not lash out angrily towards him or his campaign. When he asked her to serve as his Secretary of State, at first she refused and she had plenty of reason, given that he was younger and far less experienced. However, he persisted in wanting her in his cabinet and Hillary finally saw his authenticity and agreed to serve under him, despite her disappointment at her primary loss. They built a mutually-respectful working relationship that strengthen them both and the U.S. and Obama has since become one of Hillary’s biggest supporters in her second run for president.
President Barack Obama has had nothing but praise for Hillary. Delivering the keynote speech at the convention, which resulted in Clinton’s nomination , Obama said he had:
“come to admire” Clinton as someone who never quits, no matter “how much people try to knock her down.
“I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.”
The question that needs to be asked is why conservatives, especially women, ignore all of these facts and are able to cast Hillary in such a profoundly negative light, when she embodies nearly all the values that they claim to believe in: love, mercy, forgiveness, dedication, hard work and commitment to her family and her values. It seems that those who feel most threatened by her, overlay their own negative inclinations upon her, even when such motivations simply don’t add up with how she has comported herself.
Do we want a president who dumps one spouse after another, acting in every way as if the mothers of his children are disposable, simply because of the way they look? Do we want someone who quits, cheats vendors and declares bankruptcy when the going gets hard? Do we want someone who makes enemies in all directions, demonizes innocent people and who never seems to let go of his grudges? I don’t think so.
Hillary honored her commitment to her marriage vows, the “for better or for worse,” and she and Bill have emerged as a stronger team. Hillary honored her commitment to Democratic causes and went to work at Obama’s side, becoming an even more experienced statesman in the process. This is a leader who has shown quite clearly that she is committed to doing what it takes to move forward, whether in good weather or bad and doesn’t get bogged down with bitterness or arrogance. This is the kind of leader and the kind of president that we want, one who will be an inspiration for millions of women who may wondering whether they can be valued for who they are and what they aspire to, rather than merely how they look.