After more than three decades in government, beginning with her installation as first lady of Arkansas in 1978 and ending with her winning the popular vote (but losing the Electoral College) in last week's presidential election, all eyes are on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the world wonders what she'll do next. Will she take on a more active role in the Clinton Foundation? Will she return to her roots as an advocate for children and family issues? Could she write another book? Or, as some whispered rumors appear to suggest, will Hillary Clinton retire after a lifetime in the spotlight?
Since her stunning loss to rival and, now, President-elect Donald Trump, Clinton has spoken candidly about her disappointment after a hard-fought campaign of 19 months — her second bid for the nation's highest office — ended in defeat rather than what many predicted would be a landslide victory. Speaking at the Children's Defense Fund's 26th annual Beat the Odds gala on Nov. 16, she said:
I will admit, coming here tonight wasn’t the easiest thing for me. There have been a few times this past week when all I wanted to do was just to curl up with a good book or our dogs and never leave the house again.
If anyone's entitled to wallow over a pint of Häagen-Dazs while wearing three-day-old pajamas, it's Clinton. And yet, despite her personal feelings, she's taken every opportunity in the last 10 days to advocate for bipartisanship and to encourage her supporters to never give up — just one more example of how much Clinton truly loves her country.
I know this isn’t easy. I know that over the past week, a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was. The divisions laid bare by this election run deep, but please listen to me when I say this. America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values and never, ever give up.
Might Clinton's comments about the responsibility of all Americans to stay engaged and "keep working to make America better and stronger and fairer" hint that she herself won't go gentle into that good night? Maybe. As an intelligent, articulate, successful woman with one heck of a resume, there are certainly no doors that wouldn't open for Clinton — whether she decides to rejoin the speaking circuit, as she did after leaving the State Department in 2013, or remain in politics and keep working with Democratic leaders on the future of the party.
Though Clinton's possible retirement would obviously be well-deserved, someone with her talent and experience could certainly continue to make a difference for many years to come. And I, for one, am not yet ready to bid Hillary an official goodbye.