There is a long and very positive piece in The New York Times Magazine about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton entitled "Hillary Clinton's Last Tour as a Rock-Star Diplomat." I read it with some avidity since Clinton is a hero of mine, one of the people that I admire most in the world.
I am certainly not unique in being a Clinton-admirer. She is the most admired woman in this country, topping that list year after year and is arguably the most admired woman in the world.
There are good reasons for all that admiration. Wherever life has taken her, Clinton has always worked to make the world a better, safer, more equitable place, especially for women and children. She has taken up the cause of women and children around the world and made elevating their status a prime aim of her professional life.
By all accounts, she has been relentless in pursuing her passion for women's and children's rights. Everywhere that she goes in the world as Secretary of State - and she goes everywhere! - that cause is always part of her agenda. She is ever on the lookout for ways in which the lot of the common women in the countries where she visits can be advanced and, in her dealings with heads of state and diplomats, she is not shy about bringing these topics up and making them a part of the negotiations.
Improving the lot of women in developing countries often means paying attention to the most basic of human needs. Things like making access to clean water easier or providing ways of cooking food that do not pollute houses and the atmosphere and make families sick. Or making sure that women and children have access to health care and that women can have the means to limit the numbers of their children. Our Secretary of State is attuned to such commonplace needs and makes them a part of her writ. After all, there are rock-solid data that show that the key to improving society as a whole lies in improving the lives of women. As a rising tide lifts all boats, the rising status of women raises the status of all humanity. Not everyone in the world of politics and international relations accepts that truth, of course, but Clinton does and she is its most effective ambassador.
Clinton has said that she will end her term as Secretary of State with the end of President Obama's first term, regardless of the outcome of this year's election. I would very much hate to be the person who tries to fill her shoes when she goes.
It will be interesting to see what the next act of Hillary Clinton's life will be about. She has certainly earned a rest if that is what she wants, and, indeed, she may want that for a while. I suspect it will be a short while.