One of the things that I’ve been thinking about this election season is what I’m going to call “the long haul” approach to life. One of the things that surprises people about Hillary Clinton is that, despite being continually attacked, she somehow seems to bounce back, be willing to work even with the people who attacked her, get things done, and keep moving forward. I can’t imagine that many of the attacks haven’t hurt her; they would likely have hurt almost anyone. But, somehow, she doesn’t let them change who she really is. (I know some say that the attacks have made her “more secretive,” because that’s what we call women who want to control their own message. But that woman is a Scorpio, Pisces, Scorpio. She was born “secretive,” feeling things deeply, and controlling the face she presents to the world. So I don’t believe that the constant attacks have changed who she is.) I really admire her for this trait and am trying to emulate it, myself.
And, now, here she is, the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party. I think it’s a recommendation for taking the long haul approach to life and figuring out how to be who you are, regardless of the slings and arrows that life and our critics manage to fling in our direction.
On the weekend before Secretary Clinton’s first debate with Republican Donald Trump, Mr. Trump announced that he’d be inviting Gennifer Flowers, one of President Bill Clinton’s former mistresses, to sit in the front row of the debate. Apparently, that was supposed to unnerve Secretary Clinton, illogically shame her for her husband’s indiscretions, and allow Mr. Trump to win the debate. Ms. Flowers, always happy for any publicity and a chance to hurt the woman whose apparent crime is to have an enduring marriage with the object of Ms. Flowers’ desire, quickly tweeted her acceptance. The public reaction was, as it should have been, overwhelmingly negative and, by Sunday morning, Mr. Trump’s spokespersons, KellyAnne Conway and Governor Pence, were busily asserting that, no, Mr. Trump had not really invited Ms. Flowers to the debate.
Ms. Flowers represents, to me, the short haul approach. I’ll say first that I prefer to treat other people’s sex lives and marriages as just that: other people’s. I honestly don’t care what people do in their private lives, as long as we’re talking consenting adults. And life, as we all know, is complicated. (And when men cheat on their wives, I’m always sad to see the lion’s share of the blame get placed on “the other woman.” It takes (at least) two to tango. But if you sleep with someone else’s husband, you don’t get to complain if his wife doesn’t like you or says mean things about you. You don’t get to act surprised that (no matter what he said) he doesn’t leave her for you because, well, because all of human history. And it’s as silly for you to blame the fact that he wont leave her for you on “the wife” as it is for the wife to blame you for the entire affair.) Ms. Flowers slept with a married man, took money from a tabloid to talk about it once he ran for national office, got as much Larry King time as she could get for it, and earned more money
for a more sexually explicit Penthouse version of her story, accompanied by a pictorial layout. “I dare Hillary to bare her butt in any magazine,” Flowers taunted. “They don’t have a page that broad.”
Classy. You may as well just wear a sign that says “I feel inferior to Hillary and think that maybe if I can hurt her it will make me feel better.”
She has long allowed her hatred for Secretary Clinton to define who she is. She can’t let anything go past her, can’t control how she reacts. And, now, here she is, humiliated again, looking like the publicity-hound that she is, used and scorned by yet another man. She has allowed her life to be defined by other people; what lasting, long-term accomplishments does she have?
I bring this all up because I lately see some of my favorite Pagans (on many sides of some current issues) slipping into the trap of living in the short haul, endlessly responding to endless social media wars, allowing others to define them and control, to some extent at least, their message. And, because we’re human, it’s difficult, for any of us — certainly it’s difficult for me — to keep our focus on our own mission and to ignore and move past the drama that other people try to create for us.
But it’s fairly easy to look at Secretary Clinton and Ms. Flowers and see which approach works better — over the long haul.
Photo (many years after the Flowers/Clinton affair) of the married Clintons with their first grandchild found here.