Category: So young to have achieved so much

Worked on the Watergate hearings

Day 28 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.

She served on the House Judiciary Committee for Nixon’s impeachment hearings at 26 (turning 27 while on the committee).

I think this is a fascinating point, even though her role on the committee was not significant – mostly, she researched and wrote briefs to support the efforts of her bosses. It seems incomprehensible to me, given the historic significance of the hearings, that this did not influence her long-term thinking.

First off, who gets an appointment like this at 26?

Secondly, how could it not affect you?

Although my goal here is to find reasons to support her rather than condemn her, I’m intrigued that her personal response to trouble is to resist intrusion (avoiding press conferences and sometimes obfuscating) rather than deciding transparency is the better choice. And this is decidedly a negative. I would love to know whether her resistance has been life-long or was adopted over time.

I’m choosing to put this experience in the plus column, in part, because she was so young to be given such an important job; in part because I think (emphasis on “I think”) it is impossible not to have been powerfully and negatively influenced by the experience at her age; and because I think it, in small measure, explains her resistance to investigation on an emotional level.

I also think it was an aberrant, but in many ways honest, introduction to the seamy side of politics and the lengths to which some people will go to win. Her mistrust of other politicians may have been built in early on.

There are, of course, rumors that she personally deprived Nixon of legal counsel (at 27!) and that she was fired from the committee.

For those, I deliver:

Has actually worked with (“with,” yes, “with”) immigrants

Day 25 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.

She has actually worked with recent immigrants elbow-to-elbow and started her political life working in the trenches.

At 15, with her church, she organized a babysitting group for Mexican migrant workers in rural Illinois and she, herself, babysat as the parents and older kids worked in the fields.

In the fall of 1972, she and Bill blew off their Yale law classes and went to Texas to register young (this was the first election in which 18-year-olds could vote) and Hispanic voters.

While Bill was described as an affable socializer, Hillary actually went door-to-door in neighborhoods not naturally welcoming to a northern woman. Franklin Garcia, described as “a storied union organizer,” provided her entrée.

An early Texas contact, Garry Mauro, who was signing up voters for an Austin-based not-for-profit, said he found her “compelling” and “scary smart.” Some northern political activists blew into Texas, Mauro said, assuming they knew how to win elections here. “She didn’t do that. She asked questions and listened, then she asked some more questions and listened some more.”

These connections helped win her the Hispanic vote when she ran against Obama.


She put herself on the line for her beliefs

Day 20 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.

As a 24-year-old law student Hillary worked undercover in Alabama to determine whether schools were abiding by the 1969 Supreme Court decision to integrate (they were not).

Apparently, this was a seminal moment in her awareness of the realities of racism and her activism. To that point, she was not a person of action or personal bravery (she was also young), but took a more cerebral, legislative approach. Since the segregation was against the law, it’s reported this experience opened her eyes to the limitations of legislation, i.e., just because it’s the law, doesn’t make it happen.

I do appreciate her willingness to challenge her thinking and push herself out of her comfort zone to find the truth.

She’s been an advocate for children from the beginning

Day 14 — My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary and not just against Trump.

Her interest in, and relationship to, children and children’s issues goes back to the beginning. What’s seldom noted is that her BA from Wellesley was a double major: Poli. Sci. and Psychology, specializing in children’s development.

Her first three jobs out of Yale Law had to do with children’s rights and issues.

Here’s her letter of recommendation from one of those.

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She’s a woman

Day 11 – Why I’m voting for Hillary and not just against Trump.

She’s a woman. (I know. That’s obvious.)

But, when Bill lost re-election as governor of Arkansas, they really were broke. They had a baby, had to leave home (the Governor’s Mansion) and had no other, and had no income. She did what women all over the world do: whatever needed to be done: she arranged for child care; she got a job; she used the money she’d saved from her public service work and bought a modest house. The job she got paid the bills (and changed the direction she took) rather than being the job she wanted. Bill licked his wounds and toured Arkansas to find out why he lost.

I think it is part of the reason she has taken on women and children as her cause célèbre. Even though she’s a multimillionaire now, she’s been there (yes, with the advantage of two law degrees and the ability to work, but it’s still scary). She empathizes in a way few can. Plus, she’s a “get the job done” person.

Championed the Office on Violence Against Women

Day 7 — My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than against Trump.

Hillary was a champion of The Office on Violence Against Women. Joe Biden was its originator, but it floundered for years and has had to be reinstated three times. As one of only two women in the Senate, Hillary worked with Biden to ensure its passage and to protect pieces of it that some Senators tried to take out.

It’s mission: The mission of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, is to provide federal leadership in developing the national capacity to reduce violence against women and administer justice for and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Full disclosure: Bill Clinton signed the original bill. After a big fight, George W. Bush signed the first renewal. Barack Obama passed the third iteration.

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