Helen Graves of Black Mountain, age 102, enthusiastic supporter of Hillary Clinton, remembers well the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920: “I went with my mother when she voted for the first time. She told me I would probably live to see a woman elected President of the United States.”
Helen continues, “I have been interested in women’s issues all my life. I began to admire Hillary when both she and my youngest daughter, who are contemporaries, became lawyers for children.” She feels that Hillary is the most extraordinary candidate she has ever seen.Extraordinary indeed. No other American in history has matched Hillary’s qualifications for the presidency on state, national, and international levels. She has already worked in both a state House and the White House. She traveled to 102 countries as Secretary of State and now personally knows their leaders, their problems. Only six presidents have also served as Secretary of State; only three have served both as Secretary of State and in Congress.Equally extraordinary is the fact that Hillary, like no other American in our time, has been subjected for 25 years to partisan vilifying, which began with a scathing 1996 essay titled “Blizzard of Lies” by William Safire. Safire’s points were eventually disproved, but Republicans had their drum to beat. Investigate Hillary mercilessly. Spend any amount of taxpayers’ money. Probe every aspect of her personal, financial and professional life.Whitewater: Seven years, more than $50 million in taxpayer dollars, and six independent counsels led to a conclusion of “insufficient evidence” to bring charges against the Clintons.Benghazi: The Benghazi Select Committee, given an unlimited budget, began work after seven previous congressional committees had filed reports. More than 100,000 pages of documents were provided to the committee, whose staff collected $3.59 million in salary in 2015 alone. This investigation fizzled after Hillary’s marathon 11 hours of testifying on camera proved her focus and stamina beyond any doubt.Emails, Clinton Foundation: A Boston Globe editorial states, “Clinton’s email scandals are pure fiction.” So, of course is the recent brouhaha concerning the charitable work of the Clinton Foundation. FBI Director James Comey concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Secretary Clinton for using a private server. Matthew Yglesias writes in Vox, “Colin Powell’s Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s are treated very differently.”If she were not a woman, not a Democrat, not a Clinton, she would not be investigated — just as, in 2007, no Republican peeped after Congress learned that the Bush administration could not produce emails concerning the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. These had been sent on a private server run by the RNC, from which potentially 22 million emails were deleted.Expect more releases of cherry-picked, headline-seeking Clinton emails before the election. Drums will beat, smoke will blow, pundits will chatter. Donald Trump supporters will call for her to be shot or worse. People will say they can’t trust her.Writer Michael Arnovitz explains that women pushing against a glass ceiling are often portrayed as “unfeminine, aggressive, deviant.” Data expert Nate Silver has shown that Hillary’s popularity diminishes whenever she reaches for power, but increases afterward. She was popular after Bill’s infidelity became public, popular as Senator from New York (winning by 36 points in 2006). When she left office as Secretary of State in 2013, she was one of the most popular politicians in the country.
Hillary’s real story is this: She is a caring, talented woman who has built a long career of excellent service and who, in spite of a few flaws, a few mistakes, has worked harder and achieved more than most people. Even Jill Abramson, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, recently wrote in the Guardian that “Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.”Helen Graves, who has a long memory, remembers Hillary’s life. She remembers a younger Hillary working for the Children’s Defense Fund on behalf of lower-income children. At that time, Trump’s company was being sued for prohibiting minorities from renting apartments in Brooklyn and Queens. After 9/11, Hillary as Senator lobbied Congress to make money available for small businesses destroyed when the towers fell. Trump, whose properties were undamaged, made sure he received one of those small business loans intended for victims.Each day Helen Graves asks her daughter, Cannan Hyde, “How’s Hillary doing?” Cannan replies, “She’s doing just fine, Mother.” Helen went with her mother to vote for the first time 96 years ago, and will go with her daughter to vote for the first time for a woman, Hillary Clinton, for president of the United States.Jean Franklin is a retired English teacher living in Black Mountain.