Journey of the Hero

Hillary Rodham (Clinton) circa 1992.“I’ve been there. You have no idea what you are stepping into.” So Hillary Clinton suggests–especially to Barack Obama.

Some say that Hillary had a Howard Dean moment during the debate last night when she flared about her experience as an agent of change. I don’t agree, I think that she directly addressed her record and her frustration that people don’t get the fact that it’s a trial to be in the White House.

Joseph Campbell, in his well-known theory of the journey of the hero, writes

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.–The Hero with a Thousand Faces

So you are Hillary Rodham–Yale Law grad, big fish in little pond attorney in Arkansas, and you live in the governor’s mansion. You give this comfort and status up to live out a dream in the White House–but deep down you are still wonder how you got here. You have trappings of the middle-class girl in suburban Chicago. And now, the White House?

They make fun of how you look, your old man humiliates you with his philandering, and there are all these rules and protocols that you slip and slide in. And you have trials–health care reform, travel office scandals, dealing with the intrusion of secret service so you can’t even have a good fight with your husband. But you are smart, and you prevail.

So, here she is, in true hero mode, bestowing boon on Obama. She warns him that this is not so easy. “It is only for the tried and true. I have walked through the fires, I have lost myself, all in a quest to find myself and return in triumph. It’s my turn for the payoff.

I get to be Luke/Leia. I don’t want to be Yoda. Why don’t you be Han Solo and fly to the next galaxy? On hyper-drive.”

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