Hillary Rodham Clinton is a powerful role model for many women in the U.S. and around the world. Honored as the first commencement speaker at Wellesley College and then continuing her education to earn a J.D. from Yale Law School, she started her career as a Congressional legal counsel and then proceeded to marry Bill Clinton who eventually became president of the U.S.
From the very start of their relationship they were colleagues and intellectually compatible friends. The love between them is obvious to anyone who sees them together. And no matter what has transpired in their professional or personal life, together they have weathered the controversy, litigation, and public scrutiny. Regardless of what any of us might think, believe or feel about the behavior and actions of Hillary and Bill Clinton, they have handled their marriage and its issues working together as a team.
So many of us are quick to judge a man or woman who does something that we consider wrong, immoral or illegal. That old familiar saying, "Walk a mile in someone's shoes before judging them", still applies. No matter how a relationship appears to us, unless we are living in that situation we do not know what is going on. We do not know the interpersonal dynamics, the private desires and unmet needs, the psychological insecurities, the stresses and temptations that influence their personal decisions. We do not know the nuances of their early childhood disappointments, rejections or emotional abandonment. We do not know what drives each partner to do what they do in that relationship.
What would YOU do if you partner of many years had an affair?
- Would you immediately break up, regardless of the consequences?
- Would you speak out and say blatantly damaging words publicly about your partner or the outside intruder?
- Would you hold your head up high, remaining quiet and dignified in public?
- Would you privately engage in long, clarifying conversations with your partner and your family?
- Would you decide together, as a team, exactly how you plan to handle the aftermath of an affair?
Hillary Rodham Clinton may have been angry at her spouse, publicly embarrassed, and maybe emotionally hurt, but she made a strong and powerful choice. She stood by her husband, took the flack, perhaps let slip a few negative comments and mostly stood tall and dignified in the face of public scandal. As the First Lady she realized that her responses were being watched by everyone. She seemed to recede into the background, not adding any fuel to the fire.
Although the incident that rocked her marriage happened in 1998, 16 years ago, Hillary consciously chose to remain married, to continue to support her husband in his public life, and to pursue her own public office. And in their marriage it has always been a 2-way street. Her husband, Bill Clinton, has supported her pursuit of public office positions. Elected the first female Senator from New York, Hillary proceeded to run in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries and won more primaries and delegates than any other female candidate had ever done in this country.
Whatever we may personally believe about Hillary Clinton's motives, political agendas or marital decisions, we have to respect her as a well-spoken, powerful and dedicated politician whose voice needs to be heard in these troubled times. Women bring a balance of intellect and emotion to the political scene. We need more women to get involved, to care about society and to speak out for what they believe is right and just. Whatever you feel about Hillary Clinton, take a moment to reflect upon what YOU would do if you were confronted publicly with an embarrassing scandal involving your spouse. Would you have been able to weather the storm and continue your political career, unscathed, in harmony and friendship with your spouse, while pursuing the highest office in the land?