The United States has a tumultuous and sometimes chaotic political field that spawns many memorable figures. Among these are men of great import who go on to shape the mindset of the later twentieth century’s most influential nation. But what of the women? Those unsung maidens of democracy whose work goes unnoticed, shadowed by the work of their male counterparts? Today I would like to celebrate one such woman. Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton is well known to most Americans as a politician and female activist who finds herself frequently spotlighted, for good or bad, in the media. She has a distinct political voice that makes her unique amongst her masculine counterparts and a cultural figure head.
For those of you who are unaware of Mrs. Clinton’s accomplishments, she is a former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States. From 2009 to 2013, she was the 67th Secretary of State, serving under the current administration. She previously represented New York in the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2009. Before that, as the wife of President Bill Clinton, she was First Lady from 1993 to 2001. Perhaps most notable during the 2008 election, Clinton was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
She has always held a great interest in social programs and the assistance of those in need. As First Lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992 with husband Bill as Governor, she led a task force that reformed Arkansas’s education system.In 1994, as First Lady of the United States, her major initiative, the Clinton health care plan, failed to gain approval from the U.S. Congress but stood as a major stepping stone for the Obama administration’s successful attempt at the same program. In 1997 and 1999, Mrs. Clinton played a leading role in advocating the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Foster Care Independence Act , all of which went toward the betterment and safety of American families; family welfare being one of her biggest focusses politically.
Unfortunately, her years as First Lady drew a polarized response from the American public. As the only First Lady to have been subpoenaed, she testified before a federal grand jury in 1996 regarding the Whitewater controversy, a huge road block in her career, but was never charged with wrongdoing in this or several other investigations during the Clinton presidency. Her marriage also endured the Lewinsky scandal in 1998, a fact which drew mixed responses from her largely female support base. Some women admired her strength and poise in private matters made public, some sympathized with her as a victim of her husband’s insensitive behavior, however others criticized her as being an enabler to her husband’s indiscretions, while still others accused her of cynically staying in a failed marriage as a way of keeping or even fostering her own political influence.Strangely enough her public approval ratings in the wake of the revelations shot upward to around seventy percent, the highest they had ever been.
Now Mrs. Clinton is nothing if not a pioneer in the growing wave of female activism in American governance. After moving to the New York, Clinton was elected the first female Senator from the state; she is the only First Lady ever to have run for public office. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, she supported military action in Afghanistan and the Iraq War Resolution, a bold move for a female congresswoman at the time. Also, during her running in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, Hillary Clinton won far more primaries and delegates than any other female candidate in American history;something that shocked an increasingly open-minded nation and something that has galvanized her return in the up and coming presidential race.
She has also shown that female politicians are capable of responding intelligently and decisively to crisis situations. She was at the forefront of the U.S. response to the Arab Spring, including advocating for the U.S. military intervention in Libya. As Secretary of State, she took responsibility for security lapses related to the 2012 Benghazi attack, which resulted in the deaths of American consulate personnel, but defended her personal actions in regard to the matter. Clinton visited more countries than any other Secretary of State. She viewed “smart power” as the strategy for asserting U.S. leadership and values, by combining military power with diplomacy and American capabilities in economics, technology, and other areas. All of these actions amazed political analysts everywhere and have built her some support amongst the conservative community, once her most vehement opposition.
Mrs. Clinton has encouraged the empowerment of women everywhere, and used social media to communicate the U.S. message abroad. Her forward thinking and proactive political strategies have earned her a name as an American powerhouse and proven that she is more than capable of tackling any situation before her. This, combined with her growing support base, has put her in a prime position for the next presidential campaign, and in serious contention to become the first female President of the United States.