If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau
Hillary's closing remarks from tonight's debate perfectly encapsulate who she is and why she is running. It is about humility about one's own blessings and respect for others. From the CNN transcript:
CLINTON: Well, I think everybody here knows I've lived through some crises and some challenging moments in my life. And...
And I am grateful for the support and the prayers of countless Americans. But people often ask me, "How do you do it?" You know, "How do you keep going?" And I just have to shake my head in wonderment, because with all of the challenges that I've had, they are nothing compared to what I see happening in the lives of Americans every single day. along with Senator McCain, as the only two elected officials, to speak at the opening at the Intrepid Center at Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio, a center designed to take care of and provide rehabilitation for our brave young men and women who have been injured in war. And I remember sitting up there and watching them come in. Those who could walk were walking. Those who had lost limbs were trying with great courage to get themselves in without the help of others. Some were in wheelchairs and some were on gurneys. And the speaker representing these wounded warriors had had most of his face disfigured by the results of fire from a roadside bomb.
CLINTON: You know, the hits I've taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country. And I resolved at a very young age that I'd been blessed and that I was called by my faith and by my upbringing to do what I could to give others the same opportunities and blessings that I took for granted.
That's what gets me up in the morning. That's what motivates me in this campaign.
And, you know, no matter what happens in this contest -- and I am honored, I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored.
CLINTON: Whatever happens, we're going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the American people, and that's what this election should be about.
This is a complex, nuanced and very powerful statement. It establishes the foundation upon which her beliefs and acts are founded. She has been blessed in her life, despite the very public trials she has faced, and she is humbled by the struggles of others. The knowledge of her accidental privilege compels her to serve. This is what motivates her to do as she does, not the cynical and destructive accusations thrown at her from left and right. There is no self-pity or excuses. It is a simple, direct and compelling story.
She places herself beside McCain, letting us know what it was they witnessed together, and speaks of the strength of those shattered by the war he wishes to continue for a hundred years. She points out that injury does not mean an end or something to be ashamed of, but rather is a test of the humanity of those who watch.
With grace and savvy, she gives her opponent more than his due, making clear the deep differences of character between them. Where he grudgingly said she was likeable, she declares she is honored to share the stage with him. It is equal parts charm and power.
And then, the closer. We will be fine, she says, drawing Obama firmly within the world of privilege, we have the power, wealth and support to weather any setback. We will not suffer personally, no matter who wins. But, who might suffer if the decision goes one way or the other? Who will not stand up for the wounded and the sick? Who might not care about the child who is hungry, or the woman who is beaten, or the senior who is bilked? Who to you stand with? What do you stand for, you, my opponent, who stands inside this magic circle of privilege with me and who has assailed me so much in recent times?
"I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the American people, and that's what this election should be about. "
The election is about the lives of ordinary people dealing with the simple annoyances and capricious catastrophes that accumulate through life. It is about those without the wealth, power and connections to get through the recession in good shape. There is the foundation upon which the election has been set if you are a Democrat.
Hillary deftly told the haters they weren't going to turn her aside from her lifelong commitment to public service and challenged Golden Boy Barry to be better than his (borrowed) words.