Ever since she and Bill appeared on national TV to defend their (his?) marriage and save his presidential campaign, I have been really puzzled by Hillary Rodham. What was real about her and what was an act?
A cold, calculating woman to be sure, an inauthentic striver – but what were her ghosts, her fears, the tap roots of her unstinting ambition?
She was a Ceasar clearly, either a Julius or an Octavian, bent on getting her way. But why?
Well, I know now.
Her 1960’s letters to a college friend have just surfaced. While an undergraduate at Wellesley, Hillary wrote regularly to a trusted confidant. He kept the letters secret for years but now has released them to the New York Times. Hillary had no comment on the resulting story.
What do the letters tell us?
That Hillary was so of her age – self-absorbed, insecure, seeking validation in the eyes of others, trying out postures and identities. Today this persona; tomorrow another. Worry, worry, worry over does she count, is she special, who will take notice?
No core; no soul; in a word – plastic – of the very same genus and species as the magic insight in the movie The Graduate, which came out as she was finishing college.
Only she seems to have had a worse case of this “-itis” than any of my friends had in those days and I knew a number of Wellesley girls in the day.. Hillary, Bill and I are of the same generation.
Hillary is a boomer with all the neuroses thereunto appertaining. She is perhaps a quintessential boomer, fully in tune with the geist of her generation which has been, and still is, a time of fearful self-regard and unending seeking for a place to call home.
Robert Frost defined “home” as “something you somehow haven’t to deserve”. The boomers want a home and they don’t want to be measured or responsible in return. They are spoiled brats.
You don’t get a home on the cheap. You must have something within you that somehow opens the hearts of others. I think it is called “growing up.”
When the boomers demanded a kind of permanent childhood as their birthright, they broke a social contract and never found good homes. Instead it was “drugs, sex and rock and roll”. Divorce rates soared. Money, power, and celebrity became crass substitutes for authentic community.
Hillary and Bill have shared a smart boomer partnership that has brought them a lot of money, power and celebrity. They have lived high on the hog. People even buy their autobiographies.
Boomers grew up as the first generation of real teenagers in human history – old enough
to demand satiation, not old enough to know what was respectfully due from them to others.
We-re not talking “the right stuff” here or the ethical character of a Washington and a Lincoln; boomers didn’t follow in the tracks of their parents – the “Greatest Generation”. Their Dads fought Hitler and Japanese imperialism; the sons, encouraged by the daughters, ran away from Vietnam. I think it was Joan Baez who quipped: “Girls say “Yes” to boys who say “No””.
Boomers are now the ruling generation. Aren’t we lucky: William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush, Al Gore, John Kerry, Newt Gingrich, the neo-cons who conned us into the Iraq war, Andy Fastow and Jeffery Skilling of Enron, Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco, Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds of home run fame, etc. It’s a long list of self-righteous, smart, glib, really insecure self-promoters.
“Take the money and run” could be my generation’s motto. Or, perhaps, thinking more of George W. through the lens of F. Scott Fitzgerald, that cultural pre-cursor of the boomers, it might be: “Let someone else clean up the mess.”
For me, enough is enough. I am tired of the boomers. Is there anyone else out there? ET is calling home for a rescue.