Part II: from Hillary, Pick Bernie!
Hillary, was First Lady of the United States from 1993-2001 and prior to that, First Lady of Arkansas for twelve years. She was the first female US Senator from New York serving 2001-2009, and served as the 67th United States Secretary of State (second woman) from 2009-2013.
But we forget about her journey up the mountain. Before she was Hillary Clinton, she was Hillary Rodham. A young thirteen year old girl knocking on doors during the 1960 presidential election, where she found evidence of voter fraud against Republican candidate Richard Nixon. Fourteen years later, she was an attorney on the impeachment inquiry staff that led to the resignation of President Nixon.
In 1975, with a remarkable experience in Washington, she moved back to Arkansas and married Bill Clinton. A woman blazing an enviable career path went south to her husband’s home state. A place where norms for women were behind the times. She ruffled feathers when she kept her last name, Rodham. Normal today, in the mid-seventies it was unheard of, especially in the South. Her motivation then was to keep their professional lives separate, as Bill soon headed to the governor’s mansion.
That is just the beginning of her story of traditions and contradictions that along the way shattered ceilings and lamented myths. How else could she break down barriers and shatter glass ceilings along the way? She’s raised the bar for women by championing issues here and abroad. And like any mother, she has been a powerful voice for children. Pushed the envelope and fit traditional roles like many women have for centuries.
By the time Bill Clinton was defeated in his re-election bid for Arkansas governor in 1980, she’d become the first female full partner in her law firm. That same year, she gave birth to their daughter, Chelsea. When he successfully ran for reelection in 1982, she was blazing a path of independence. But took a leave of absence from the firm to support his campaign and to soften Arkansas voters’ concern, she used the name Hillary Clinton.
After the election, she used Hillary Rodham Clinton and took less pay than partners at her firm. She sat on a number of boards, supported education initiatives and became the first female member of the Board of Directors for Wal-Mart. Talk about shattering glass ceilings.
In 1992, when her husband ran for president, her career was beyond blossoming. She made more money than her husband but to win the White House, she had to take a seat again in the traditional wife role. Here, her husband’s extramarital affairs were all over the news. She sat with him in a Sixty Minutes interview, as women wondered, what would she say? That one interview got his campaign got back on track and they won the White House.
There’s past, present and future to Hillary. Kinda like Hillary Rodham, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Hillary Clinton. At every turn, she’s been challenged. Men thirsty to hold on to power, insecure of letting the reins go, challenge her today. Benghazi, emails, servers and her husband’s past confront her every day.
Nevertheless, her resilience keep her moving upward shattering ceilings and myths about women. She is not unlike millions of women every day doing the same, balancing the home and the office.
So why do my friends ask me, “why does she wear the pant suits.” My answer is simple, it’s her cloak of armor. When she was in the US Senate, she was criticized by her male colleagues for wearing colorful suits instead of the Senate’s traditional dark colors evidently established by men. Now it’s her pants suit.
I admit, it would be nice to see her take off the pant suit for short times on the campaign trail. In a manner that allows her to relax and share her story of past, present and future. It would be nice to hear about Hillary Rodham and her challenges and successes going back to her childhood. And let her talk about what it is like to be Hillary Clinton now the diplomat, grandmother and future President of these United States.
That’s why as I wrote yesterday, in Hillary, Pick Bernie, that she should select him as her VP. He can free her to tell her story. Millions are waiting to fall in love with her, like I did rereading her story. She doesn’t have to run the traditional route men before her set. Let Bernie hit Trump and let her be presidential. If you are going to rewrite history and shatter the ceiling do it your way! You’ve earned it.
Like on this or share it if you want to know more about Hillary? One more ceiling to shatter! This one is meant to rain down on Trump’s wall of division. It’s time for the next chapter in the American story.
About the author:
Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm in Washington, DC and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR), founder of Party Politics US and Associate Producer on The Framing of OJ Simpson. Follow him on Twitter @atibamadyun or Atiba Madyun on Facebook.