In an interview in the current Vogue, Hillary Clinton explains how she became Secretary of State:
“I was stunned after the election when President Obama asked me to consider this,” she says. “I really was very unconvinced. I did not think it was the right thing to do. I didn’t want to do it. I just really had a lot of doubts, and I kept suggesting other people: Well, how about this person! How about that person! This one would be really good! But then a friend of mine called me and basically said, ‘How would you have felt if you’d been elected and you’d called him and asked him to do this?’ And that really made a big impression on me. How do you say no? And so…I said yes. And here I am.”
I know, I know. Truth and the Clintons have never been friends. This is the same woman, after all, who told Matt Lauer on the Today Show that the entire Monica Lewinsky scandal had been fabricated by a “vast right wing conspiracy,” even though, as we now know, she already knew the truth about Bill and Monica. There is no way of knowing if Mrs. Clinton’s account of how she came to accept President Obama’s invitation is true, or if it is a tale manufactured for effect. But giving her the benefit of the doubt (and we will try to remember to do that here on Ethics Alarms—if we don’t remind us), we must salute her for getting matters of ethics and duty exactly right.
She applied the Golden Rule as it should be applied, putting herself in the other party’s position and considering how she would have liked to be treated. She also properly identified and executed her duty as a citizen. If the President of the United States, facing daunting challenges affecting millions of people and world peace—as every president does—asks you to help him (or someday, her) your duty is to say “yes.”
We know that part is true, for certain. Hillary said yes.
In a spare month for Ethics Heroes, her account merits recognition.