It's the time of year to be thankful for what's good and hopeful about what is to come, so I will be spending the last day of 2012 and the first days of 2013 quietly hoping for the best when it comes to Hillary Clinton and her health.
Hillary, here's wishing you a speedy recovery and while we're at it, here's hoping you can really enjoy a break from public life this next year or two. You richly deserve it.
I think Hillary is the most inspirational figure on the planet just now. I'm not asking you to join me or not in that view, just putting it out there in a spirit of full disclosure. Mandela, he's high on my list, Obama, sure. Whatever novelist I'm reading at the moment -- hey, I'm a fan of anyone who can make us hope for the best in ourselves and can also offer a clear vision about how we move forward.
The simple fact is, Hillary did a bang-up job as Secretary of State. She brought instant respect and star power to the diplomatic task of building new bridges to the rest of the world after the give-them-the-middle-finger approach that too often carried the day during the previous administration. I wrote here at the Huffington Post on November 14, 2008, that Hillary "Would Be Great as Madame Secretary" and by any reasonable measure, I happened to have been on the money with that prediction. She could have done better, of course, but she will easily go down by wide consensus as the best U.S. Secretary of State in at least a generation or two.
What I really find inspiring about Hillary as a figure in our public life, though, is what she represents to me about carrying on with dignity and composure even in the face of the nastiest and most hateful sort of slur and attack. I'm not even talking about ancient history here, the period when she was running for Senate and was dismissed as a lightweight or dilettante by some, then as Senator earned wide respect, even that of generals and conservative Senators.
No, I have in mind more recent episodes like the reaction four years ago when Obama chose her as Secretary of State and we were treated to all manner of ludicrous attack. Once again, Hillary proved the doubters wrong.
Most recently, a lot of people who should have known better actually let themselves go with the notion that she had faked illness to get out of testifying on Benghazi. Puh-lease. Think about it: If she'd been healthy, she'd have gone and testified, made her points, and then she would have traveled the globe on a last round of diplomacy, basking in the glow of knowing she had helped restore a far more positive image for the U.S. abroad.
Instead, she's having to deal with an extended period of rest, which has to be driving her crazy. I won't be surprised if the comments section below erupts with the usual chorus of the Clinton haters, but for the vast majority of us, why not take a moment to honor the work this woman has done? Why not wish her well? She's an inspiration to me -- and many of you as well.