I bought What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton right after it came out, but I didn’t read it until the end of 2017. It seemed like a fitting way to evaluate 2017 and usher in 2018, I guess.
But most of all, I put off reading the book because I knew it would remind me of all the momentum we lost when the election was stolen from her by James Comey’s obsession with her emails, and voter suppression in several states.
For example, momentum for the feminist movement:
I was born when everything was changing for women. Families were changing. Jobs were changing. Laws were changing. Views about women that had governed our lives for millennia were changing—finally! I came along at just the right moment, like a surfer catching the perfect wave.
Or women’s ability to control what happens to their bodies:
I believe that our ability to decide whether and when to become mothers is intrinsic to our liberty.
Or appreciation of women’s strength (about her mother Dorothy):
I marveled at the mental strength it must have taken to keep believing that a better day was coming, that she would find her place, that hard work would see her through, that her life had meaning despite how unfair fate had been to her.
Will we ever have a real accounting of the ridiculous focus on her emails?
Heading: “There is no question that former Secretary Clinton had authority to delete personal emails without agency supervision.”
—Department of Justice court filing, September 2015
A few months later, during the fall of 2014, the State Department, in an attempt to complete its record keeping, sent a letter to each of the four previous Secretaries of State—me, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Madeleine Albright—for copies of all work emails we might still have in our possession. None of the other Secretaries produced anything. Nothing about weapons of mass destruction and the deliberations that led up to the Iraq War. Nothing about the fallout over the mistreatment of the detainees at Abu Ghraib prison or the use of torture. Nothing at all. Madeleine said she never used email at the State Department. Neither did Condi, although senior aides of hers used personal email accounts. Powell said he didn’t keep any of his emails. [Maybe we should ask the Russians to find Colin Powell’s missing emails?]
I directed my attorneys to collect and provide to the department any messages I had that could conceivably be considered related to official business. That came to more than 30,000 emails. … Another 31,000 of the emails I had were personal and not related in any way to my job as Secretary of State. I got a lot of grief for saying they were about yoga sessions and wedding planning. But these messages also included communications with lawyers and doctors, information about my mother’s estate, reports from family and friends about things happening in their personal lives, both happy and sad—in short, clearly private personal content.
After all that, I admire her ability to pick herself up and carry on:
I can carry around my bitterness forever, or I can open my heart once more to love and kindness. That’s the path I choose.
It meant the world to me to vote for her.