Sep 5, 2007

À la recherche du temps perdu

The NYT waxes nostalgic about 1968 and Hillary Rodham's campus activism.

Hillary, it seems, was one of the good protesters.
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s course was set, in large part, during the supercharged year of 1968. “There was a sense of tremendous change, internationally and here at home which impacted greatly how I thought about things,” Mrs. Clinton said in a telephone interview about that period, which encompassed the second half of her junior and first half of her senior years.

It was a time at once disorienting and clarifying, a period that would reinforce the future senator and presidential candidate’s suspicion of “emotional politics” while stoking her frustration with what she considered the passivity of her classmates.

Her political itinerary that year resembles a frenzied travelogue of youthful contradiction. She might have been the only 20-year-old in America who worked on the antiwar presidential campaign of Senator Eugene McCarthy in New Hampshire that winter and for the hawkish Republican congressman Melvin Laird in Washington that summer.


The day after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was slain, she joined a demonstration in Post Office Square in Boston, returning to campus wearing a black armband.

“People become experiences,” Ms. Rodham wrote about all the ferment in a Feb. 23 letter to John Peavoy, a friend from high school. She added later, “The whole society is brittle.”

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