Don't Be Humble, You're Not that Great

Mon, 09 Jun 2008 14:11:14 +0000

I was doing my usual reading of blogs this morning and came across, "Two Thank Yous for Hillary" at Angry Bear, in which Now President Kim Gandy's column is quoted:

Hillary, you have made a mark on history for eternity, giving little girls and little boys the full knowledge that women can compete, take risks, take the heat, make hard decisions, and be strong leaders.

I thank Kim Gandy for writing something so blindingly naive that it reveals what is so insufferable about the commentary on Senator Clinton's run for the Presidency by some of her supporters. I don't dispute that Senator Clinton has competed, taken risks, and taken the heat. It's not clear to me that she's made hard decisions and been a strong leader on issues of consequence to the point where she would be the one I'd hold up as exemplary to little boys and little girls.

But that's not what's blindingly naive about what Gandy has written.<!--break--> The great transgression against history in what she's written is that this "full knowledge" (even if it were fully accurate) could only be given to little boys and little girls whose parents and teachers were woefully remiss in not already telling them the story of Golda Meir. Just take one paragraph of the Wikipedia page to reveal the contrast:

After serving as the Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister, Golda Meir became Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969. She was described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. David Ben-Gurion used to call her "the only man in the government." Meir was Israel's first woman prime minister and the third woman in the world to hold this office, but the first to do so without a family member having been head of state or government.

If you know Golda's story (start by reading the rest of the Wikipedia entry), then you see very clearly that she truly made hard decisions and provided strong leadership. (The title of the post is one of her more famous quotes.) And it is not just Golda Meir, or Margaret Thatcher, as referenced in the excerpt above. Why not Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, who addressed Dartmouth graduates yesterday at Commencement?

A question for the folks running the NOW website: How, at 10 a.m. on June 9, 2008, do you justify 636 results for this search and 0 for this search, this search, and this search?