She Just Can't Quit

05/25/2011 12:30 pm ET
  • Nancy Hipp Writer, activist, educator and school psychologist

Many times a day on television, radio, internet and in the newspapers, statements are made like these; "Why doesn't Hillary just drop out"; "her negatives are up"; "people don't like her"; "she should quit for the good of the party". Some women friends admit to not liking her; asked why, they say, "I don't know, I just don't like her". Sometimes I wonder why she puts up with it. Not that I want her to quit or think she should, but with the media barrage she would certainly only be human if she did just that...told the country to take a hike and retired to enjoy life!! I took some time and did a mini-reread of her history to this point to get a sense of the "why" she keeps taking it; I found a recurring theme (see highlighting) and here is my conclusion.......she JUST CAN'T QUIT!!

1. Senator Clinton found her passion (working for children and low income families) after meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, and an awakening coming from her own undergraduate work with underprivileged children. Coming from a Republican family, she became a Democrat, feeling a better match with that Party.

2. During summers at Yale Law she worked on the Children's Defense Fund; and with Senator Mondale researching the needs of migrant worker families; she worked on the McGovern campaign; wrote her Doctoral thesis on "Rights of Children" and spent a post doctoral year at the Yale Child Study Center for Children & Medicine.

3. Career as a lawyer: In the late '70s she was a Staff Attorney for the Children's Defense Fund; became a faculty member (1 out of only 2 women faculty members) at the University of Arkansas; became a full partner at the Rose Law Firm was appointed by President Carter to the Board of the Legal Services Corporation. During this time she married and became a working mother.

4. On becoming First Lady of Arkansas she chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee and the Rural Health Advisory Committee; introduced the Arkansas Home Instruction Program for PreSchool Youth to train parents to work on preparedness and literacy; she was Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983 and in 1991 the National Law Journal named her one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America.

5. She entered Washington as First Lady with a burning desire to help others and the primary goal of ensuring health care for all. She was naive, and without prior knowledge of "how it works" in Washington, she was unable to gain support for her plan which was dropped in 1994. Anyone who remembers those years knows what a nasty, difficult time she was given. In her "Living History" memoirs she acknowledged that her political inexperience contributed to her failure. "Critics" stated that it was "inappropriate" for a First Lady to play a central role in matters of public policy (guess they never heard of Eleanor Roosevelt)...supporters saw her as being "no different" than other qualified White House advisor. In 1997 she was successful in initiating the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which continues to guarantee health care for children from low income families.

6. In 2000, when Patrick Moynihan was retiring from his New York US Senate seat, he urged Hillary to run for the office (the first First Lady ever to run for public office). Despite calls of "CarpetBagger", she won the seat with 55% of the vote! Having learned her lesson, she kept a low profile as the "new kid on the block" moving into the Senate; she built relationships with Senators from both sides of the aisle. Her standing in New York grew following '911', as she partnered with Senator Schumer to get $21.4 billion for cleanup, recovery and to provide health tracking for first responders and volunteers at Ground Zero (although many argued there would be no medical side effects of the 9/11 fallout on the heroes at Ground Zero). She loved New York and New York loved her back....they elected her to a second term with 68% of the vote. She initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act; she used her position on the Armed Services Committee to take strong action with Afghanistan; she fought Bush tax cuts because they favored the wealthy; got an A on her Congressional scorecard on middle-class issues. To my dismay, she voted "yes" on Iraq, as did so many others in the Senate. (I knew that was a bad idea but I, of course, did not have to vote, nor did anyone other than the US Congress). There's lots more about her....look it up!!

Well, maybe you don't like her voice or her laugh; or her stiffness before the camera; or her assertiveness; or her drive; or the fact that she didn't show Bill the door (love is a funny thing); or because she was snippy about baking cookies back in the day; or because she told a fish story about Bosnia. However, I see the people she cares the most about shown in the work she has done; I see a woman with family values who held her own family together through some very tough public scandal; I see a woman who fights for what she believes in and backs down from no one; I see a woman who will inspire young women to be that type of strong, compassionate, dedicated woman and public servant. I empathize with her human gaffes; I like and respect her for her color-blind passion for all people and for all of the above evidence of that passion at work. As the first woman President of this country, she will continue to consider first how what she does will effect families and, especially, you see we the People are in her blood, she JUST CAN'T QUIT!!!