When Rand Paul told Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that if he were president he would have relieved her of her duties over the Benghazi attack, he must have just been crawling out of the yolk of a daydream right there on the Senate floor. Because he’s the junior senator from Kentucky that rode into the Capitol on the heels of a Tea Party surge — that died — and she’s the former first lady who’s been in the service of this public since the days of Watergate. Since the 1960′s Hillary Rodham Clinton has dedicated her life, resources and impressive mind to public service, through thick and thin, to finally emerge as the first serious female candidate for the presidency and then the nation’s leading diplomat. She is a behemoth of a person, and in the last four years has navigated U.S. foreign policy through global turmoil during some of the most trying times in recent memory, and all the while fought for women’s rights at every turn.
During her tenure as Secretary of State, the world witnessed a movement of Arab youth that rocked the Middle East, beginning in Tunisia and spreading like wildfire across a region rife with frustration, poverty and lack of opportunity. Coupled with little education, few rights and economies built on corruption, the powder keg that has always been the Middle East erupted on her watch. Caught in the crossfire were U.S. allies and stalwart friends that had long upheld our interests in some of the most complicated corners of the world, where U.S. interests and American ideals usually bump right up against each other.
The woman who quipped as first lady that all she had to do to get headlines was to “change her hairstyle,” has proven that women can be beautiful and smart at the same time. Since her debut on the national stage where all anyone knew of her was the color of her inaugural gown, Hillary Clinton has fought for women’s rights with the force of a superpower. At home, she’s shown us the smart side of a politician who happens to be female, a policy wonk who is also sensitive, and a fashionista who is down to earth.
She has let us accompany her through the transformation of a naïve political wife who thought her ideals would trump the acerbicism of Washington, to the savvy diplomat that guided this nation through the muck and the mud of war and revolution a world away, where our interests are most entrenched. As a mother raising a young daughter, I am grateful to her for this image of the woman she has put forward, to balance against the mindless glam that permeates entertainment. I am grateful to have witnessed the life a real leader, who stood firm in the face of adversity, who faced her critics squarely with grace, and who resolutely pursued her goals as far as they would take her. I will sooner tell my kids to look at her for lessons in life than any bombshell making news for their hairstyle.
Thank you, Madame Secretary.
TODAY IS SECRETARY CLINTON’S LAST DAY – FIRST LOOK: The cover of the forthcoming issues of the electronic Newsweek calls her “The MOST POWERFUL WOMAN in AMERICAN HISTORY.” See the cover. http://bit.ly/WGNqEp