Hillary Clinton has always played by the rules and worked hard for people, especially those who don't have a voice of their own. She grew up in a Republican home in Park Ridge, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Her mother taught her she should stand on her own two feet and as a woman she could accomplish anything she wanted. So she applied herself and graduated from Wellesley College with honors being chosen to speak for the students at her graduation in 1969. She spoke in response to a speech by Senator Edward Brooke (R-MA), the Wellesley graduation speaker, and talked about the right of people to stand up for what they believe and protest to change the world. That was the first time the press took notice of her.
From that day forward the media has had a fascination with her life and her work. Her every word has been dissected and often attacked. In a time of strong feminism in the '60s and '70s, it was often women who criticized her because she was willing to work for her husband's advancement over her own. I remember some women friends saying, "How can Hillary Rodham who has begun a promising career in Washington, DC be willing to move to Arkansas?"
Women sometimes have been more critical of other women politicians than men have. When working for Congresswoman Bella Abzug (D-NY), I often saw that. While Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill recognized her brilliance and appointed her a 'Whip', it was often women who attacked her for being too "out there" and not subservient enough to the powers that be. When Hillary Clinton ran for President in 2008, it was women like Kate Michelman and others who didn't stand with the woman who had accomplished more and would represent a bigger gain for them than any man had or could.
So we shouldn't be surprised when columnists like Ruth Marcus continue to attack Clinton as if their attacks will somehow prevent people from suggesting they are supportive or going easy on a woman because she is of the same gender.
This recent brouhaha over Hillary's emails is just another example of Hillary being judged through a different lens. We have learned numerous other high-level government officials and politicians have used only private emails on the job, and in the case of Jeb Bush, his own server. Yet the press seems to enjoy reporting every accusation made against Hillary Clinton by Republicans who would like to exploit for their benefit any issue they can find, even just quasi-legitimate ones. The bottom line in the email story which has now been written about exhaustively is Hillary had a private server in her home -- a home protected by the Secret Service -- used by her and the former president -- which has never had a security problem. She used one device and one email when Secretary of State for all her emails and never had a State.gov account. All her emails to department staff and officials went to their government email accounts and were immediately archived. She never hid the fact she operated this way and the president and entire White House staff got every email from her on that account. Apparently they never felt the need to question her about it. She has now shown it was totally legal to operate the way she did. We also know other former Secretary's of State operated in the same way. Hillary said in hindsight she wishes she had used two separate email accounts. As a Clinton supporter, I agree with that but only because the press and Republicans would have one less thing to speciously attack her on. But then they would simply find something else. Any story on Hillary always gets front-page coverage, even if it is missing facts or totally wrong.
Hillary Clinton has been a focus of the media for nearly five decades since that first speech in 1969. She has spoken out about her successes and failures; her life's goals and her vision for a better future for all to crowds large and small from Beijing to Appalachia. She worked for the Children's Defense Fund, been a Congressional staffer, a private practice attorney, first lady of Arkansas and of the United States. She has been elected twice to the United States Senate and served as Secretary of State. She is a mother and now a grandmother. Those who have followed Hillary Rodham Clinton's career know it has been about ensuring the words of Abraham Lincoln will ring true and that our nation, "A government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth."
The Republican and media attacks notwithstanding, we can be assured they will continue through the 2016 election cycle; it is my humble opinion the people of the United States know all there is to know about Hillary Rodham Clinton. Based on her exemplary career of service to them and after nearly 50 years in the spotlight, they will elect her our next president.
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