Today is October 26, 2015! And you know what that means…
It’s Hillary Clinton’s 68th birthday!!!!!
While my last birthday was spent eating cake off paper plates and Skyping with my mom, Secretary Clinton got down to Demi Lovato at her birthday bash/campaign fundraiser event last night in NYC. And while my birthday wishes can’t really compare to the dulcet tones of John Legend (yup, he was there, too), I do want to say how grateful I am that HRC was born on this day back in 1947. Aaaaaand here’s some reasons why!
She’s always fought for women
From her groundbreaking speech at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women to making women a central part of her turn as Secretary of State, Hills has spent her career fighting for women. Recently she has stood with victims of sexual assault and made reproductive rights central to her presidential campaign. See a timeline of her inspiring life here and watch the speech that cemented her global presence below:
She’s a trailblazer
How many times can we put “first” in front of Secretary Clinton’s name? Let’s see…
She was the first First Lady to hold an advanced degree, the first First Lady to hold public office, the first female senator from New York, the first woman to win a Presidential primary, the first First Lady to be directly involved with public policy, the first female partner at Rose Law Firm in Arkansas, the first female politician to win a Grammy (really!), and first student commencement speaker at Wellesley College. She is also the most-traveled Secretary of State, logging almost one million miles traveling around the world. (Not to mention, she also lead the fight for universal health care 20 years before Obamacare.) Being the first person to achieve so many things does come with a price, but Secretary Clinton’s resilience and courage in the face of speculation and ridicule are a large part of what makes her exceptional. [Crossing our fingers for another first in 2016… #madampresident]
You’ve seen her on SNL. You’ve read her emails about Parks and Rec and The Good Wife. (Also this interview is gold.) She’s gotten a lot of flack for being cold and calculated, but when she’s at her best (#DemDebate, amiright?), Hillary is pretty funny. See below:
She’s dealt with some shit
As if you haven’t heard.
Yes, yes Benghazi, her private email server, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation money, BENGHAZI. And that’s just from this election cycle. Whitewater, Troopergate, and of course Monica Lewinsky (whose TED Talk changed my life) are scandals that many media outlets and political commentators said would ruin the Clintons forever.
Hillary Clinton has been especially eviscerated by the press and the public for nearly her entire career, either getting lumped into her husband’s issues or dealing with her own. How often has this decorated public figure been publicly called a bitch? Her physical appearance as well as her mental capacity have been called into question. First she’s too feminist, then not feminist enough. She’s the subject of damning books, even a video game app that lets the player slap the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State in the face. In this fascinating piece from The New Yorker, Frank Rich breaks down the Clinton enemy’s obsession with sex and “how frequently [Hillary Clinton is] the victim of drive-by character assassination” in almost any political or personal instance. Most recently, her public record has come into question, when Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina asked Democrats to find one thing Hillary Clinton has accomplished.
They managed to name a few.
And yet Hillary and President Bill Clinton have not only survived, but thrived. Is this a Frank Underwood of House of Cards situation, where everyone else takes the fall while the power couple who orchestrated it all climbs to the top of the DC ladder?
I guess it’s possible.
But I think what’s even more possible is this: The bigger the public platform, the bigger the risk – in policy, personal lives, and especially in the press. The more responsibility you have, the greater the consequences. Are the Clintons perfect? I don’t think so. But I also believe they have been the victims of some of the most intense public scrutiny we have ever seen. Secretary Clinton has been affected by intense sexism and misogyny, an issue that creates and augments political scandals, detracts from her astonishing public service career, and affects the rhetoric around her as a candidate and person to this day. And that’s on us.
Hillary Clinton is smart, passionate, aggressive, and vigilant. She continues to work tirelessly for the betterment of others despite near constant attacks on her record and her character. But time and time again, she’s come out on top. And that is pretty remarkable.
Cheers to the lady of many firsts who continues to inspire women, men, and children all over the world. Happy 68th Birthday, Hills.
Keep it up. We’re with you.