A Measure of Hillary’s Character

I originally wrote this in February and posted it to my Tribe blog:

Something that is significant to me that I think Hillary gets short shrift for is her personal integrity and the character that was formed in her in the fires of Interngate and the impeachment process. 

I’ve seen it reported by people who have no political axes to grind that Hillary really didn’t know that Bill had been carrying on with Monica, and that when he swore to her that he hadn’t “had sex” with Monica, that Hillary believed him. When it became unquestionable that he had lied, she was, I am willing to believe, blindsided by the revelation. 

In those last couple horrible years of the Clinton presidency, I was among those who kept repeating, “It was grounds for divorce, not for impeachment—and if Hillary’s not dragging him into court, neither should you be, you vengeful bastards.” 

The thing is, it was grounds for divorce. And Hillary grew from it. She survived, she kept her dignity, she learned… by many accounts, she forgave. (I expected her to dump him once they were out of the White House, but she really seems to like him, or to find something about him redeeming enough to put up with him.) 

I think Hillary was a lot better role model, in some ways, than Jackie O—JFK’s philandering wasn’t nearly as scandalous during his presidency as Bill’s was during his. It didn’t really become common knowledge until Jackie was married to Aristotle Onassis and it was all behind her. 

Jackie maintained her dignity and her glamour. Her class privilege as well as her Kennedy cachet protected her in ways unavailable to Hillary: Hill’s humiliation was much more immediate and much more public. She dealt with the whole thing on a world stage. 

My sister was humiliated by the breakdown of her marriage, and her [reconciled as of this reprinting] ex wasn’t even, as far as anyone can document, philandering; he was just a consummate jerk. I’m impressed enough with her private handling of her private crisis; Hillary didn’t have the luxury of any privacy at all. 

Women don’t get credit for their strength, and Hillary is certainly not getting credit for hers. 

Ironically, Evangelicals are very fond of preaching about how the “Refiner’s fire” builds character… and yet they give Hillary no credit for the character that her public, unrelenting, devastating trials wrought in her. 

And Liberals aren’t giving her enough credit, when she speaks of her “experience,” for the personal experiences through which she has triumphed. 

Evangelicals are also fond of quoting the Gospels in which Jesus said, “The one who is faithful in a little thing is faithful also in much,” but they give her no credit for having handled her public crisis with the grace with which she did it. 

I submit that after going through the private and public and emotional and physical and administrative nightmare she went through during the years of the Monica scandal and the brutal impeachment process, she may just consider anything that Iraq or Iran or the Republicans can throw at her to be a walk in the park. 

I dunno—whaddo I know? I’m just sayin’.

"Artists are here to disturb the peace." —James Baldwin. Please lesave a comment!

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