Sunday, July 29, 2007

I'm in Agreement with Hillary

On activism, that is.

From her letter to a friend 40 years ago in a NYTimes story:-

As one would expect of letters written during college, Ms. Rodham’s letters display an evolution in sophistication, viewpoint and intellectual focus. One existential theme that recurs throughout is that Ms. Rodham views herself as an “actor,” meaning a student activist committed to a life of civic action, which she contrasts with Mr. Peavoy, who, in her view, is more of an outside critic, or “reactor.”

“Are you satisfied with the part you have cast yourself in?” she asks Mr. Peavoy in April 1966. “It seems that you have decided to become a reactor rather than actor — everything around will determine your life.”

She is mildly patronizing if not scornful, as she encourages her friend to “try-out” for life. She quotes from “Doctor Zhivago,” “Man is born to live, not prepare for life,” and signs the letter “Me” (“the world’s saddest word,” she adds parenthetically).

Ms. Rodham becomes expansive and wistful when discussing the nature of leadership and public service, and how the validation of serving others can be a substitute for self-directed wisdom. “If people react to you in the role of answer bestower then quite possibly you are,” she writes in a letter postmarked Nov. 15, 1967, and continues in this vein for another page before changing the subject to what Mr. Peavoy plans to do the following weekend.

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