Mean, cold hearted, calculating, socialist, self serving, power hungry, and wannabe were the words chosen as the best answer from Yahoo Answers to describe Hillary Clinton when I started to do research on her. Somewhat different from the people I’ve written about, she didn’t start out poor. She didn’t have a mother who caused her to run away from home when she was young. She started out successful – a highly educated woman who graduated as president of her college and went onto Yale Law School to become a powerful lawyer.
Most of her problems didn’t come from within her though. Most of her problems have come from criticism of the public. During her time, when she started to rise, people saw this strong woman and were not used to this. She was starting to become as powerful as or even more powerful than men. Many publications even compared her to “Lady Macbeth” of Shakespeare. This incited many people to secretly condemn and criticize her. Throughout her entire life, she was either a person that people loved or hated.
Do you remember in high school where there was that one perfect boy or girl who had the good grades and was involved in everything on campus? They made your academic efforts look miniscule in comparison, and furthermore, your parents wanted you to be like them. That was sort of like how Hillary Rodham was.
She was involved in everything in high school. She was a student council chair, a national merit finalist, a member of the service society, and even raised money to erase graffiti on a school wall. One of the reasons she was such a high achiever was because of her strict, demanding, and conservative father, who often gave his children tough love. And because of the way she was brought up, she was one of those kids you either loved or hated because she was so good at everything.
“She was described as conceited, which I finally realized was two things. Generated by her was the fact that she had such poor eyesight that she very seldom recognized people from afar, even close up. So they took that as a brush off. But secondly I think what we took as conceit in Hillary was always a sense of self worth – a very confident, young woman.” –Classmate of Hillary
Later she would find herself in Wellesley College, where she would be elected head of the student body. Hillary was a reformer and she wanted to change the ideas of the school. This was the time when the Vietnam War had taken place. It had a profound influence on her. The American involvement in the Vietnam War had split the country in half.
There were protests in the streets and the police beat people with their batons. Riots were breaking out. She was shocked by the violence. One day, she would tell her friend that she wanted to go see what was going on in the inner city. Her friend agreed. “Here were kids… you know… with their heads bashed in… and they were all our age. It was very frightening, but we were definitely going to be spectators. We never really joined in,” said her friend.
It was her final year at Wellesley. No student had ever given a commencement speech. She and the other leaders of her year were trying their best to let a student speak at commencement for the graduation ceremony. They were told no. But they kept pushing. They wanted to let a student speak for the first time in their college history.
Finally, they broke through. They administrators would let Hillary speak only if it was appropriate. They didn’t want any trouble and they accepted. On graduation day, before Hillary came up, a guest Senator Brooke, the only black member of the senate, gave a really nice, polite, and conservative speech about how we should all play the traditional roles in America. He wished the students farewell. Hillary was up and the parents were wondering what she would say. She was told to give an appropriate speech. She looked at the notes and shifted her papers around.
She decided to disregard what she was told as well as the speech prepared for her. Instead, she started talking about why the speaker who just went up before her was wrong. This was totally improvised. She spoke what she thought. She started talking to the students and the parents about everything wrong that the American government was doing and what our leaders have been feeding us for years and years. She went against the traditional roles of women. The democratic and liberal side of her started to come out and it surprised everyone that she would say these things in a Republican school. She talked about making the impossible, possible.
She did not get a ladylike response. Instead, the students gave her a standing ovation. The parents however, gave her a cold shoulder. According to her friend, “Some people thought it was tremendously sort of spunky and gutsy, and other people thought it was terribly rude.”
Her infamous commencement speech had made it into a magazine for being bold. People had read about her doing this. Later, she would then go on to Yale University. One day, a guy is standing in line to register for classes. He turns around and recognizes that girl from the speech.
“I was standing in line registering for classes at Yale Law School and I turn around and I see this young woman with very unattractive glasses, a headband, kind of a doubly looking dress on. And she looked very familiar and I then realized that this is the young woman whose photograph I’d seen in Life Magazine, and I said, ‘Having read that speech, I think that someday you’ll become US senator or even president.’” -Lanny Davis, Classmate Yale Law School
With confidence in this new segment of her life, she would take up hours researching politics in Yale University library. One day, as she was walking through the student lounge area where the Coke machines were, she heard a voice off to her left saying, “Not only that, we grow the biggest Watermelons in the world…” She turned to her friend and said, “Who is that?” Her friend replied to her, “That’s Bill Clinton. He’s from Arkansaw and that’s all he ever talks about.”
Soon after that, they found themselves both in the law library. Bill was standing in the hallway outside the library surrounded by all his fellow classmates that was trying to get Bill to be on the Yale law journal team. But instead, he really wanted to go back home instead so he listened to them politely. On the other hand, he was also looking at this girl who happened to be sitting down in the library as his friends were talking.
It was Hillary, and Hillary was also looking back at him from time to time. She was studying at the end of this very long table. There was some chemistry going, but Bill was afraid to make the first move. Finally, Hillary put down the book that she was reading down and walked the entire length of the law library to approach him. When she finally reached him, she looked at this man and spoke.
“If you’re going to keep looking at me, and I’m going to keep looking back, we at least ought to know each other and… I’m Hillary Rodham.”
Bill claims that after she asked this question, he couldn’t remember his name. But eventually they got to know each other and became romantically involved.
Soon afterwards, Hillary would find herself campaigning as a Democrat. Even though she was a student, she was still involved in giving advice to the democratic campaign. So they sent Hillary down from Washington to Texas to give legal advice to the democratic campaign, the one that was against Richard Nixon at the time. This was a response of one of the older women who was already working there.
“We were expecting a heavy hitter to come down from Washington, and in walked this kid. She had a brown shirt on, brown corduroy slacks, and it was 95 degrees, and she had on corduroy slacks… She had on heavy brown shoes, she had lank brown hair, limp I would say, and brown Coke bottled round glasses, and not a spot of makeup.
And she looked maybe 21, and she came in and she said I’m Hillary Rodham. I’m down here from the Washington office, and we all thought we have been through the war and thought who is this kid who was coming down to tell us what to do. The minute she began to talk, everybody knew this was an authority. She was going to tell us how it was going to be done.” –Sara Ehrman, Democratic Campaigner 1972
At this time, the Watergate scandal of Richard Nixon happened. Many Americans were out in the street protesting. She didn’t go out and protest; instead she was working from within. She was one of the bright lawyers trying to advice congressman on impeaching the president. Her boss was Bernard Nussbaum. She was always listening to Bernard and every time he said something that she didn’t agree with, she would give her input. Hillary was not afraid to speak her mind.
Bernard was also a confident man who would drive Hillary back to her lodging each night. One night, as they were driving home, Hillary had a conversation with him about what she believed in.
“You must meet my boyfriend. He’s 27. He’s a lawyer too, and he’s called Bill Clinton… He’s not going to be a senator or the governor… He’s going to be the president of the United States.”
“What are you talking about Hillary. That’s nutty! Are you crazy? Are you a child? Telling me your boyfriend is going to be the president of the United States? We got all this work to do…”
“You know something… You’re shooting off your big mouth. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Bernard thought this girl was joking around. Who was her to tell him that her boyfriend was going to be the president of the United States? That’s not something to joke about. He stopped the car and at that point, Hillary opened the door, got out, slammed the door, and stormed away.
Later in 1975, she would marry her boyfriend Bill Clinton as he pursued a career in politics. He would become the governor of Arkansas for the next 12 years. Meanwhile, Hillary would work as a lawyer and sit on both the corporate and nonprofit boards. She became one of America’s most powerful lawyers as a partner in the Rose Law Firm. In 1992, her prediction was right. Bill Clinton had become the president of the United States and she became the first lady.
Everything was going well until one day, tragedy happened. The press revealed to the world that Bill Clinton was having affairs with a young 22 year old intern named Monica Lewinsky. Hillary had trusted Bill with all her heart, even risked a high-end powerful job to move down to Arkansaw and live with Bill. Now she was being cheated by the love her life. She felt pain inside but did not show it on the outside. It had been the biggest humiliation of her entire life and it was revealed in front of the eyes of the world.
“I’d like to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head and have a nervous breakdown, but I really don’t have time right now.”
At the same time Congress was voting how to convict her husband. Everyone was really confused and dismayed on how to handle Bill Clinton’s situation. She, on the other hand, was meeting with the residence in the White House discussing her prospects in the US senate race. She saw this as a path to separating herself from her husband. As her husband was being casted back into the shadows, she used the damage in their relationship to fuel herself further. She ran for senate, and later she won the New York Senate seed, becoming one of the most prominent senators in the country.
In 2007, she announced her presidency for candidacy. It was the first time in history that a woman had been elected for a presidential candidacy. She was also the first woman ever to win a presidential primary, but it was not enough to propel her forward to become president of the United States.
In all her tough times, Hillary never broke down and gave up, even when she had been criticized by the millions of people out there, humiliated by the love of her life, and constantly attacked by her competitors in the primary debates. She was always intact, firm in her beliefs, and tried her best to carry these beliefs onto others fervor and enthusiasm.
Looking back, the man who was in line to register for classes about 40 years ago was right. She was either going to be a senator or the president of the United States. She didn’t become both, but at least she was able to become one of the two. All she wanted to do was change the tradition culture of America that at the time was primarily powered by men; and as women, she wasn’t afraid to speak her voice. She was tenacious, and even once said that there cannot be true democracy unless women’s voices are heard.
She was right, and has changed the way women uphold themselves in our society today. After she lost the race, she gave one last speech, which is considered to be one of the greatest and most powerful speeches of her time, to the Democratic national convention telling the people to support vote for Joe Biden and Barrack Obama for future vice president and president.
Currently, she’s serving as the first lady to ever be in a president’s cabinet, helping Barrack reform and change America. Although there may still be many critics against her, I believe that she has been one of the most influential women of our time, if not one of the most influential people in our history.
“Hold onto your dreams whatever they are. Take up the challenge of forging an identity that transcends yourself. Transcend yourself and you will find yourself. Care about something that you needn’t bother with at all. Throw yourself into the world and make your voice count.” –Hillary Clinton