Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What Might Have Been: President Hillary Rodham Clinton

In her memoir, What Happened, Hillary quotes these words by John Greenleaf Whittier.
"For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: "It might have been!".
Hillary's supporters need no reminder. We live with the consequences of an election gone wrong. All Americans do.
The words come from this poem which, itself, deserves a spotlight for its commentary.

Maud Muller (1856)

John Greenleaf Whittier (17 December 1807 – 7 September 1892) was an American Quaker poet and abolitionist
  • Maud Muller, on a summer's day,
    Raked the meadows sweet with hay.
    Beneath her torn hat glowed the wealth
    Of simple beauty and rustic health.
  • So, closing his heart, the Judge rode on,
    And Maud was left in the field alone.
    But the lawyers smiled that afternoon,
    When he hummed in court an old love-tune.
  • He wedded a wife of richest dower,
    Who lived for fashion, as he for power.
    Yet oft, in his marble hearth's bright glow,
    He watched a picture come and go:
    And sweet Maud Muller's hazel eyes
    Looked out in their innocent surprise.
  • A manly form at her side she saw,
    And joy was duty and love was law.
    Then she took up her burden of life again,
    Saying only, "It might have been".
  • Weary lawyers with endless tongues.
  • Alas for maiden, alas for Judge,
    For rich repiner and household drudge!
    God pity them both! and pity us all,
    Who vainly the dreams of youth recall;
    For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    The saddest are these: "It might have been!"
Our "might have been" is front and center this week with the release of Hillary's book and the ensuing book tour comprising TV appearances, press interviews, and appearances at book stores and public venues.

Here is a note on an upcoming interview in The New Yorker.
The cover “The First,” by Malika Favre.

Over the past ten months, many Americans, regardless of how they voted, have contemplated what life would have looked like if Hillary Clinton had been elected President on November 8, 2016. In at least one respect, we can now share a definitive answer. Above is the cover “The First,” by Malika Favre, that The New Yorker would have published had Clinton defeated Donald Trump to become the first female Commander-in-Chief.In next week’s issue, David Remnick speaks with Clinton about her new memoir, the campaign, her stinging loss, and its aftermath; their conversation touched on the former F.B.I. director James Comey, accusations of Russian interference, and the role of sexism in Trump’s victory.
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