October 26, 2010: Happy Birthday, Hillary!

Hillary in Kosovo, October 13, 2010

Remember Maya Angelou’s poem for Hillary:

State Package for Hillary Clinton

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits’ end, but she has always risen, always risen, don’t forget she has always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.

Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.

There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you’re born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies. Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to be what it can become.

She declares she wants to see more smiles in the family, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. She is the prayer of every woman and man who longs for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.

She means to rise.

Don’t give up on Hillary. In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country the wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety and without crippling fear.

Rise, Hillary.

Rise.

A couple months back I had an exchange with commenter Pilgrim, about what makes a leader. I asked her to expand on her thoughts, and she was kind enough to do so and send them to me in e-mail. I saved them to post on Hillary’s birthday, and that day is here. So without further ado, here is Pilgrim’s essay:

Hillary Clinton: She’s a Leader

Blogger Wonk the Vote often says of Hillary that she’s a leader, and of Mr. Obama that he isn’t a leader. I fervently agree with her on both counts.

What is it that makes the difference in these two persons? I believe it is character.

Mr. Obama is needy. He needs to be liked.

Hillary does not need to be liked.

I mentioned recently that I had known a teacher who said she never forgot what a professor at teachers’ college had said: “The teacher who is the least concerned about being liked is the most likely to be liked.” That is true, not only of teachers, but of other leaders.

Wonk has posted the wonderful part of the debate in which Hillary is told that she is not as likable as her opponent, Barack Obama. It is instructive to watch closely her body (facial) language as she receives that insult.

Does she look to be insulted? No, she appears to be faintly amused. She makes a lovely, gracious joke about it, and agrees that Mr. O is indeed quite likable in her own opinion too.

She elegantly brushes off the insult because for Hillary, the crux of the issue is not about her. It is about the American people. That’s what she cares about, passionately.

I recall once hearing her reflect about the barbs that came her way. She said, “What do I care?” She didn’t care at all.

She does care quite deeply about policy. She has correctly been called a policy wonk. She knows that is where the American people will be helped, or hindered.

She doesn’t care greatly whether people like her. She cares about what she can do to make their lives better. Thus, she received the most votes ever. And the recognition of her worth has only increased since 2008.

As stated above, Mr. Obama needs to be liked. And he needs to please.

But the harder he tries to please, the less he succeeds. It’s because he tries to please everybody so he keeps twisting himself into a pretzel, because it just isn’t possible to be all things to all people. As Abe Lincoln might have put it, You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all the time.

Hillary was pounded very hard about her Iraq vote. In her response, she at least managed to maintain consistency. You may not agree with her, but you know she doesn’t change her mind like a weather-vane.

The teacher I mentioned above also said that she had once read an essay, “On Education,” by Sir Richard Livingstone, and she said the most important thing she ever learned about teaching was a sentence in that essay: “The secret of education,” wrote Livingstone, “lies in respecting the pupil.” I have often thought upon that and I believe that it is not only the secret of education, but the secret of all worthy leadership.

I believe that Hillary Clinton respects the people to whose welfare she has devoted her life.

And she has earned their respect. That’s more important than to be liked. To be liked can be a fleeting thing. Respect is more solid, and is even a foundation upon which love develops.

Pilgrim’s essay reminded me of this moment in the “Dream Ticket” debate in Hollywood, 2008:

Hillary: Well, I would, with all due respect, say that the United States government is much more than a business. It is a trust. It is the most complicated organization. But it is not out to make a profit. It is out to help the American people. It is about to stand up for our values and to do what we should at home and around the world to keep faith with who we are as a country. And with all due respect, we have a president who basically ran as the CEO, MBA president, and look what we got. I am not too happy about the results.

Obama: Let me — let me just also point out that, you know, Mitt Romney hasn’t gotten a very good return on his investment during this presidential campaign And so, I’m happy to take a look at my management style during the course of this last year and his. I think they compare fairly well.

That right there said volumes. The prose of governing versus the poetry of campaigning. Hillary is a leader. She gets it.

Our current president has two years left to demonstrate that he understands the United States government is a trust.

The relationship between We-the-people and our public and private institutions was something a young woman at Wellesley was already talking about back in May of 1969, when at the urging of her peers, she became the first student to deliver the commencement address in the college’s history. This young woman ad-libbed her speech, challenging the defense of the status quo delivered by the speaker before her–then-Senator Edward Brooke, Republican from Massachusetts. No notes, no teleprompters, no nothing. She received a 7-minute standing ovation and made it into Life magazine.

Her name… Hillary Rodham. She had not yet met Bill Clinton.

Here is an excerpt from her Wellesley speech in ’69 – you can see her humanist roots shine through:

But we also know that to be educated, the goal of it must be human liberation. A liberation enabling each of us to fulfill our capacity so as to be free to create within and around ourselves. To be educated to freedom must be evidenced in action, and here again is where we ask ourselves, as we have asked our parents and our teachers, questions about integrity, trust, and respect. Those three words mean different things to all of us. Some of the things they can mean, for instance: Integrity, the courage to be whole, to try to mold an entire person in this particular context, living in relation to one another in the full poetry of existence. If the only tool we have ultimately to use is our lives, so we use it in the way we can by choosing a way to live that will demonstrate the way we feel and the way we know. Integrity — a man like Paul Santmire. Trust. This is one word that when I asked the class at our rehearsal what it was they wanted me to say for them, everyone came up to me and said, “Talk about trust, talk about the lack of trust both for us and the way we feel about others. Talk about the trust bust.” What can you say about it? What can you say about a feeling that permeates a generation and that perhaps is not even understood by those who are distrusted? All they can do is keep trying again and again and again. There’s that wonderful line in East Coker by Eliot about there’s only the trying, again and again and again; to win again what we’ve lost before.

And then respect. There’s that mutuality of respect between people where you don’t see people as percentage points. Where you don’t manipulate people. Where you’re not interested in social engineering for people. The struggle for an integrated life existing in an atmosphere of communal trust and respect is one with desperately important political and social consequences. And the word “consequence” of course catapults us into the future. One of the most tragic things that happened yesterday, a beautiful day, was that I was talking to a woman who said that she wouldn’t want to be me for anything in the world. She wouldn’t want to live today and look ahead to what it is she sees because she is afraid. Fear is always with us but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.

Today I thought I would let Maya, Pilgrim, and Hillary herself do most of the talking. Little Isis has put up a wonderful tribute that I want to quote from as well:

Hillary has doubtless inspired all of us over the years in some way. I have liked her since I was a child, albeit sometimes in secret. Defending her to people my age is sometimes a chore (“She tried to ban Grand Theft Auto”… “Um, NO, she tried to ban the PORN in Grand Theft Auto. There is a DIFFERENCE!”) and I have a reputation to protect, but I am willing to go to bat for her. That is the level of my admiration.

For someone who has never had much of an example of a strong woman to look up to, having Hillary as First Lady, then a Senator and then Secretary of State– not to mention her tenacity in 2008 when she was running for President–has been very educational and important.

In the past two years especially, we have had a real example of class and service in our Secretary of State. Not only is she a great gal, she’s a great LOOKING gal. I hope my trashy chain smoking a$$ looks half as good at sixty three.

Happy Birthday Madame Secretary, and many more!

For my part, a very simple wish, same as last year–

A very Happy Birthday to the Evergreen Hillary Clinton! Keep on fighting for us and keep on dancing!

As per Little Isis:

Note: This is the thread where the shrieking band of Hillary holdouts shares experiences with and regarding the Secretary of State.

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87 Responses

  1. Happy birthday!
    Such a beautiful tribute, I barely dare to bring up the list of hypocrites from the news today
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/tabloids-hypocrisy-edition-obama-bloomberg-bp-karzai/

    • 10 years after key step to end attacks on women in conflict, UN renews push to end blight (Hillary)

      United Nations, New York, 26 October 2010 – The Security Council today marked the tenth anniversary of the landmark resolution on women and peace and security by calling for the full and effective participation of women at all stages of peace processes, and for ending the abuse of women and girls in armed conflict.

      Adopted on 31 October 2000, resolution 1325 marked the culmination of years of concerted appeals and efforts, especially by civil society and women’s organizations, to draw attention to and seek action to reverse the egregious and inhumane treatment of women and girls, the denial of their human rights and their exclusion from decision-making in situations of armed conflict.

  2. Beautifully said by all of you. Happy Birthday, Madam Secretary. You are truly loved and respected.

  3. Hillary Rodham Clinton — Scranton:

    • I LOVE that one! I even love how she says the name of the lake!!

    • Aw, that one makes me tear up.

    • WTV,

      SPOT ON! BRAVA & Happy Birthday to Hillary and may she continue to shine. :-)

      The relationship between We-the-people and our public and private institutions was something a young woman at Wellesley was already talking about back in May of 1969, when at the urging of her peers, she became the first student to deliver the commencement address in the college’s history.

      She was a bright star early on and her wisdom beyond her age at that time, and it warms my heart to hear so many young women who see her as a role model and admire her work and her passions.

      Hillary Clinton and Alicia Keys – Superwoman

      • That was one of my favorite Hillary videos. There’s another one that was called “One Hillary” but I can’t find it anywhere–I had it marked as a favorite, but the user hid it on youtube (made it private) awhile ago. That was a really powerful video.

      • Thanks for posting this. One of the high points in my life was my time as delegate for Sen, now SOS, Clinton. A second high point was the time I spent with PUMA’s here in Denver during the DNC convention.

        My fervent belief, which has never been shaken, is that she is the best chance we have for leadership that truly represents the people’s will.

        My time as a delegate and my involvement with the PUMA’s here in ’08, were deciding factors (although certainly not the entire reason) in the dissolution of my 25 year marriage.

        Although sad at times about it, I don’t regret one moment that I spent working for the best, by far, candidate for POTUS we’ve seen in decades.

        If she challenges in 2012, I’ll be there.

        Happy Birthday to a brilliant, accomplished, inspirational woman.

  4. [...] Pilgrim, via Wonk the Vote at The Confluence: [...]

  5. Thank You, WTV, Maya, Pilgrim and Little Isis. Such a beautiful and fitting tribute.

    Everlasting thanks, love and respect to Hillary. Happy Birthday and many more!

  6. Hope Hillary gets to have some time off to celebrate,
    Happy Birthday.

    • She’ll be in NY today, at the UN, doing what else–supporting women:

      Philip J. Crowley
      Assistant Secretary
      Daily Press Briefing
      Washington, DC
      October 25, 2010

      Tomorrow, Secretary Clinton will deliver an intervention at the UN Security Council session on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 at the United Nations in New York City. Resolution 1325 calls for increasing the participation of women in peacekeeping and ending sexual violence in conflict. Stopping sexual violence against women and including women in peace-building, stabilization, and post-conflict reconstruction are core components of lasting peace. And during this session, member states will renew their commitment to this landmark resolution.

  7. Thank you all for reminding me how proud I am that Hillary represents women so beautifully and that we continue to support her so strongly.

    Rise Hillary.

    Rise.

  8. Breaking the mood again with some pearls of wisdom from the creatives
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/dudies-october-22-26/

  9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. I appreciate so much that Hillary stayed in the primaries until the end despite the loud chorus of WWTSBQ from the media. Her determination and resilience when faced with so much animosity are an inspiration to women everywhere. Happy Birthday to the awesome Hillary Clinton.

  11. Well, I would, with all due respect, say that the United States government is much more than a business. It is a trust. It is the most complicated organization. But it is not out to make a profit. It is out to help the American people

    sob

    Thank you WTV and everyone else for such a wonderful, wonderful post!!

    Happy Birthday Hillary!!!

  12. This is a beautiful tribute. The more I know about Hillary the more I am convinced it was absolutely the right decision to support her.
    Thanks to WTV, Maya, Pilgrim, littleisis and, of course, Hillary!

    Happy Birthday Hillary and many more to come!

  13. Happy Birthday to one of the best presidents America ever could have had!

    Rise, Hillary, rise!

  14. Beautiful tribute, Wonk – the more I know about Hillary, the more I respect and honor her.

    The happiest of birthdays, Secretary Clinton – you are such a wonderful role model for women everywhere. Thank you for your courage, your tenacity, your truthfulness, your vision….

    And I sure as hell wish that the DNC did not derail the primary in 2008 – an unforgivable act which will have severe consequences next week.

  15. Thank you all for the wonderful tribute to Hillary. What an incredible role model for women everywhere.

    Happy Birthday, Hillary! The wind beneath our wings!

  16. Hillary Rodham — Sam Cooke — Wonderful World:

  17. Thank you for such a beautiful tribute. I’m all verklempt, so early in the day. I love the distinction(s) Pilgrim makes re: leadership and it is so accurate. Obama is in it for himself–for Hillary it is all about public service, since she was a young girl. That’s what I understood was always fueling her, driving her, and what makes the accusations of her Lady MacBeth ambition so ridiculous. Just look at her life history–it’s all there. She was raising money in her backyard when she was 10, and donating it to local charities. She’s still doing her life’s work, and I couldn’t be more inspired and proud of her leadership.

    Happiest of Birthdays Madame Secretary, & may we have the benefit of your service for many many years to come.

  18. I love this photo of her at some goofy expo in china this year. She looks so relaxed. It’s a bit big so I’ll just post a link
    http://www.expo2010china.hu/hirkepek/hillary_clinton_haibao_plays_matchy_match_expo2010.jpg

  19. Happy Birthday Secretary Clinton!

    My baby sister has her birthday today too.

  20. Break out the orange pantsuits!

    May your Birthday be as awesome and inspired as you are, Madame Secretary, and may we one day address you as Madame President.

    Rise, Hillary, Rise!

  21. This whole post makes me tear up. Happy Birthday, Hill–we love you.

  22. HAPPY BIRTHDAY HILLARY!!!!

    RISE HILLARY RISE!

  23. I share a birthday with Hillary! Lucky me…!

    Happy Birthday to my fellow Scorpio and future POTUS.

  24. Thank you for the thread. A beautiful tribute.

  25. Elvis Costello sings Happy Birthday to Hillary Clinton (“Mrs. President”):

    • Elvis Costello is married to a Scorpio.

      This post was wonderful to read and a fitting tribute to such a remarkable woman. Not giving up on Hillary — ever.

  26. Love love love that pic of Hill in the jacket in Kosovo.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MADAME SECRETARY!!!

  27. For me, the 2008 primary was a lesson in perseverance, diligence and staying true to yourself. Hillary gave us a living lesson of what that looks like. It would have been so much easier to give it up, to shrug and walk away, particularly with the public howls that she quit, that it was over, that she was merely running on fumes.

    But she persisted; she kept on keeping on. And in Ohio, when it was predicted she’d lose the vote and she won, Hillary Clinton gave a speech to her supporters that rang true and real–that her win was for everyone and anyone, who had been knocked down and told they couldn’t get up. This one’s for you, she said to the crowd.

    And I loved her for that.

    She showed everyone of us how to get back up, dust ourselves off and jump back into the fight.

    Happy Birthday, Madam Secretary. May you have many, many more.

  28. Beautiful post, Wonk! A lovely tribute for a lovely lady. Happy Birthday Hillary and all the lucky Conflucians who share her special day!

  29. Happy birthday ,Madam Secretary.Hope we are blessed with the good fortune of having your leadership for many years to come .

  30. Happy Birthday to our lady of the pantsuit.
    Hillary is the living american whom I admire most.
    If I had half her brain and half her spine, I’d die happy.
    And a very happy birthday to Dancing Opossum.

  31. This is an oldie but, a goodie excepting the Che Obama section *IF ONLY LOL* “I Need Hillary” kudos to “I Will For Hill” And a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU HILLARY! “She Makes Me Very Proud” indeed.

    http://uk.video.yahoo.com/watch/2310246/7262296

  32. Thank you all for your kind wishes! I’m going to blow out the candles and wish for a primary challenger to Obama. HA!

  33. And again, Hillary is right. It’s a trust. A compact between the people and government. We give them power and in exchange, the government provides security and upholds our rights (that is, until Bush and Bam came along).

  34. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HILLARY.
    Thank you for your excellent service to all Americans; and I am especially grateful for your compassion and activism on behalf of the underprivileged, impoverished, education issues for children and all ages, and for empowerment of women. You are a beautiful person and a great leader.

  35. Thank you for this beautiful post! But I’m all teared up now… I’m bookmarking this for whenever I feel like the world is dragging me down and I need to get up again. She is such an inspiration to all women in this country and the world.

    Oh wait, just thinking about what was stolen–from our country–and I’m blubbering again…

  36. Wonderful tribute for a fantastic leader! Happy Birthday Madam Secretary!!! And many, many more!!!

    djmm

  37. Happy Birthday Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton.

  38. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/inside-the-state-department-4294/Photos/Videos/08932_00

    “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton celebrates her 63rd birthday today. State Department employees, fans, and a few journalists had a chance to sing Happy Birthday to Madam Secretary at last night’s screening of Inside the State Department, the new National Geographic documentary about her life “inside the bubble.”

    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/10/26/happy_birthday_secretary_clinton#comment-392431

    “The movie will air Nov. 8 at 9 PM on the National Geographic channel.”

    The first link is a preview to the movie and the second is a link to the article.

  39. Wonderful, wonderful. Thanks everyone!!

  40. Happy Birthday, Hillary! Keep your dreams alive. The country needs you as potus.

  41. Happy Birthday, Hillary! We love, respect and honor you. You’re an inspiring leader, a true woman of the people and a great American and Citizen of the World. I’m looking forward to voting for you again but this time in the General Election.

    http://tinyurl.com/25spw9b

    Q-88XwZRPIY&feature=related

  42. Hillary, you are the most extraordinary human being alive! Your whole life is an example about how one smart and intelligent woman can accomplish! you make me feel that I can be a better person just at looking at you! Thank you Hillary!
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  43. Wonk,

    How do I post a video so you see it up front without a link?

    Thank you,

    ndd

  44. Happy Birthday, Our Supposed-To-Be Madame President. So how about 2012?

  45. Happy Birthday to an incredible woman, a mother, a wife and daughter. And a true inspiration to all of us 18 million! (and we are growing by leaps and bounds every day!)

  46. Happy Birthday, Hillary!

    We haven’t given up on you… never will…

  47. Happy Decanting Day, Hillary! May Our Ford bless you! :mrgreen:

  48. Happy Birthday Hillary.

    Thanks for keeping my dreams alive for 20 years.

    I am thinking that Hillary will step down in January of 2013. She will then crank up her foundation and call for a national (or international) meeting for us to come together to discuss and work on issues for peace and human rights. The emphasis, of course, will be on girls and women.

    The meeting will take place in D.C. on May 31, 2013.

    I look forward to meeting all of you there.

    Note: I’m only half joking. I really need to go to a national gathering on women’s issues. Its been too long.

  49. Damn. It makes me sad to think what we could have had in the White House.

    Happy Birthday to the smartest girl in the class.

  50. Happy Birthday Hillary!!!

  51. That’s beautiful, Wonk, Pilgrim, and LI. It’s inspiring that Hillary can inspire the new Hillaries of our generation and give them hope. That gives us all hope, I think. When I’m fresh out of hope, I think about you guys, and even if the same dynamics repeat themselves in this sad society of ours, you guys will make it better just by being who you are.

  52. Happy Birthday, Madam Secretary! May you celebrate your next two as a woman of even greater accomplishments, and the one after that as President of the United States.

  53. A late Happy Birthday to Hillary and an amazing Secretary of State.

    These videos still make me teary….so it was hard to stay very long on this thread.

    I hope to see her in the WH as Madame President someday. Experience, principles, and the strength to continue the fight are extremely important and traits I want in the next President.

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