Monday, February 8, 2016

What did she see?

Have you taken the walk around the
lake at Wellesley College with your
sweetheart, after a Sunday at the
MFA and profiteroles at the Ritz? I
think you should. The place is beau-
tiful, which never hurts; and she is
very likely to be finer than bright,
cultivated, which can sometimes hurt
but tends rather to inspire, instead.
I know, I did it, I was betrothed.

Hillary Rodham Clinton was a sophomore
at Wellesley College, when she woke up
one morning in April to see this photo-
graph in the Boston papers. She had al-
ready been drawn to the Civil Rights
movement for African Americans, she had
already been weaned from Republicanism
by the last war we would ever fight in
the plain view of citizens, because of
the draft.

But I think, this is a sight one would
carry in one's heart, as the most friv-
olously unjustified abuse of talent re-
siding in gender, one would ever need
to see, to devote oneself to equality.
Here, despite no clear rule to the con-
trary, Kathrine Switzer is assaulted
and detained by officials of the Boston
Marathon, simply for running with men.

Things happened in this American life,
to everyone I've ever known who went
through it then, which spawned tremen-
dously paradoxical later careers. No
one I know, can surpass the paradox of
a marriage with Bill Clinton. Everyone
I know would leap to extract a damsel 
from it, not to be patronising, but to
be humane.

I am very doubtful that Mrs Clinton
conscientiously capitulated to cyn-
icism on the scale we associate with
but she denies against every visible
rubric, that she is a caricature now 
of her youthful idealism. Possibly,
she has never grasped the distinction
between remedy and progressive change.
Possibly, her sympathy for the runner
has diminished her awareness of the
passer-by. Imperceptibly, perhaps, a
blizzard of policy term papers and a
fine sense of justice have condensed
into the only two planks visible in
her platform, anymore: I deserve it,
and, you can't pin anything on me.

Yet, what supports this collapse is
a picture she saw in her youth, in a
beautiful refuge from Boston. Who
would not cling to that spectacle of
outrage, to suffer the life she en-
to assuage her deprivation of remedy?
But is a Presidency an office to seek, 
to soothe oneself?

Now youth, betrayed in Boston still, 
have heard about the bucolic lake.
Male or female, together, they know
and thrive in their equality, already.
Many do not possess those propulsions
of possessivism, which so well channel
her archaic grievance, enough to ac-
cept the mercies of the rushing gorge.


Gilbert Stuart
  portraitist of Washington
Sir William Grant

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