*I remember when I first crossed paths with Hillary Clinton.
She was Hillary Rodham Clinton at the time, and was campaigning for her husband in 1992. One of their campaign stops was the University of Michigan, where I was studying and raising a family.
I’d anticipated going to see Bill for weeks, but the night of the event, a chilly October drizzle descended on Ann Arbor, and I started to talk myself out of going.
“You have to go, Mike,” my then wife implored. “If you don’t, and he gets elected, you’ll always regret it.”
I know good advice when I hear it. I’ve always been a political / news junkie, so I bundled up and hopped on the bus for the University of Michigan’s main campus, leaving my wife at home with our five-year-old daughter, Janet.
As I approached U-M’s Rackham Graduate School, I joined thousands who’d gathered to hear Bill Clinton speak. We had to wait through the well-meaning speeches of dozens of university officials and local “celebrities” who I didn’t envy. I mean, who would want to be on a platform with the dynamic governor from Arkansas who could charm anyone — in or out of a blue dress?
As it turned out, one person was up to the challenge: Bill Clinton was introduced by his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
After the event and my chilly, damp bus ride home, my wife greeted me at the door with an eager “How was he?”
“He was great, “ I replied. “Everything you’d expect him to be. But we have a problem.”
“What’s that,” she asked?
“We have nominated the wrong Clinton.” I replied.
Hillary Rodham Clinton circa 1992 was Bill on steroids. Smarter. Quicker on her feet. Stronger. Hotter. I know I sound like I’m describing the Bionic Woman, but Hillary ’92 was all of that and more! I was tremendously impressed with her, and lamented to my wife that we were living in a self-described united states that wasn’t ready to elect a woman as president.
As I looked in on my five-year-old daughter that night, I hoped that she would live to see the day when a female commander-in-chief was a reality. In 1992, I was pretty sure I would not.
The next month, I proudly voted for Bill and, of course, he was elected. But throughout the campaign, I secretly wished I could vote for Hillary. Now that I think about it, it wasn’t that much of a secret. I took every opportunity to talk about my crush on Hillary and my belief that she’d have made a great president in 1992. I got to see Hillary one more time, as she was the commencement speaker at my graduation the next year. And once again I thought “We got behind the wrong Clinton.”
You know the rest of the story. Bill served two dynamic, incredible, scandal-ridden terms as president. Between the Senate and the Secretary of State’s office, Hillary mounted an unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2008. I’d proudly supported her during that campaign, until her “ducking under sniper fire” assertion was debunked and I started looking at the guy with the big ears and funny name. As President Barack Obama’s second term commenced, I waited with the rest of the world for Hillary to say she’d give a run for the White House one more shot.
Watching coverage of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, my jaw fell open when Bill Clinton reflected on an event while he was governor of Arkansas in the 1980s. He said a farmer, after hearing Hillary speak, leaned in and told him “I think we’ve elected the wrong Clinton.”
Seems I wasn’t the only one.
Today, I’m tremendously proud of Hillary, and overwhelmed by the grace of God that’s allowed me to live to see a day when a woman is one step away from the White House. She’s not a perfect candidate by any stretch, but who is? And when you consider the alternative, this election is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned.
Remember that five year old daughter I mentioned? She’s a beautiful 29-year-old woman today, and she and I have been watching the DNC together.
And as we watch history being made, I love saying “I’m with her.”