Encounters with Clintons leaves lasting impressions


Along with her aunt, Betsy Lavender, sophomore Hollan Borowitz has her photo made with former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Submitted photo

Story by Hollan Borowitz, staff writer

A little girl stands attentively and looks up hopefully at the podium. 

Her mom says, “This woman is very important.” 

“Why is she important?” the child asks.

“Her husband was president until right before you were born, and she could be the first woman president.”

That little girl was me. And the woman on the stage was Hillary Clinton.

Since I was a toddler, I have had an affiliation with the Clinton family. My aunt worked directly with Hillary and Bill. She prayed and prayed that Hillary would win the 2016 election because she wanted to get a White House internship for me.

When Obama was in office, she took me on a once-in-a-lifetime endeavor. She brought me to Washington, D.C. to see Pope Francis on his first official visit to the United States. More than anything, however, she loved to take me to Clinton functions around Texarkana where she could get me backstage and expose me at an early age to the expansive world of politics. 

I’ve listened to Hillary and Bill talk countless times. I’ve picked apart what they’ve said and taken it to heart. I’ve done my homework on what affects our government today. I’ve learned to see through the veil of politics and into the heart of the human on stage.

When I first met Bill, he showed true character. 

I was in Little Rock, Arkansas with my little brother and some family friends at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, known to us informally as the Clinton Library. We were just skimming the aisles of books when we saw a mass of men in black suits walk in the side door of the building. The Secret Service. 

They marched perfectly in step in a neat square around somebody unknown to us. All we saw was a hand sticking up out of the group in a light blue sweatshirt, gently waving at the library visitors. 

As the group passed us, the man in the middle asked the group to stop. He broke free of them and showed himself to us. 

“Hey guys!” Bill said. “How are you doing today?” 

There is a person behind the one you see on television. There is a set of good intentions behind everything they do. There is a heart for our great country beating proudly behind the words speaking to crowds nationwide. ”

— Hollan Borowitz

We were stunned! Not once did he stop smiling. Not once did he give any sign of insincerity. Not once did he show distaste with us children scrambling to get in position for a picture. Not once would I have guessed a man could be so kind to four unsuspecting kids and their parents. That was the real, human Bill Clinton. 

My experiences with Hillary have been nothing shy of wonderful, either.

In July 2015, I attended the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Little Rock, Arkansas, where Hillary headlined the fundraising dinner for the Democratic Party of Arkansas. Due to connections my aunt had, I was able to go behind the stage where the Clintons were. I got to speak with Hillary in an informal way, and the person I met was not at all the “cold-hearted, impersonal politician” people take her to be.

First and foremost, she recognized me. She remembered me from my aunt, and she called me by name. I’m one of thousands of people she’s met, yet she remembered an almost insignificant 14 year old girl.

Next, she gave me a warm, inviting hug. Hillary has a genuine aura that flutters around her, and I went from quaking in my boots to calm in the presence of someone with enormous influence in our country. The swift change brought about by simple actions told me that there was a motherly side to Hillary that is not all business.

Finally, she thanked me for being there and for being involved so early. After taking our picture, she told me that she was proud of me for taking advantage of my civil duties to learn about politics and that I would grow up to do great things. Respectful, genuine and loving. That is the Hillary Clinton I know.

The Clintons are more than the projected image of the political family you see speaking about our great nation on television. They are personable, inviting people who left an impression on me so great that it has influenced my view on politics as a whole.

There is a person behind the one you see on television. There is a set of good intentions behind everything they do. There is a heart for our great country beating proudly behind the words speaking to crowds nationwide. 

The Clintons are people, not a party, with genuine personalities and a love for the United States, and we should treat them as such.