‘I’ve had moose stew.’ Hillary Clinton is private and guarded by nature, and 3 decades of being inspected like an exotic-species has made her even more so. Now, in the early days of what will be a 19-month campaign for The White House, she is trying to share and expound on her experiences, to project some greater-measure of herself, big and small. This does not come easily; Hillary has resided at the center of so many scandals, psychodramas and culture wars that it’s hard to even keep track of them all, let alone know what the person within that bubble of attention is actually like.
Hillary sees her public-identity in terms of the battles she has endured. Quoting Eleanor Roosevelt‘s saying that Women in politics need ‘to develop skin as tough as rhinoceros hide.’ In 2007, she expanded; ‘I joke that I have the scars to show from my experiences, but you know, our scars are part of us; and they are a reminder of the experiences we’ve gone through, and our history. I am constantly making sure that the rhinoceros-skin still breathes. And that’s a challenge that all of us face. But again, not all of us have to live it out in public.’
And therein lies the rub. For those who aspire to public service (and scrutiny) an endless array of paparazzi, reporters, writers, challengers, rabble-rousers, hecklers, interlopers, naysayers (and legions of adoring fans, supporters, and would be friends and rescuers) await. ’The level of relentless-scrutiny that now stalks not just people in politics but people in all kinds of public arenas… It gives you a sense of being kind of dehumanized, I guess;’ says Hillary.
‘I’ve gone through three and a half metamorphoses and am beginning to feel as though there is a smorgasbord of personalities spread before me; so far, I’ve used alienated academic, involved pseudo-hippie, educational and social reformer and one-half of withdrawn simplicity;’ Hillary wrote in April 1967.
‘You know,’ Hillary says; heading off to a diner, ‘I love parades.’
But she’ll still fight for you.
Todd Akira Morikawa
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