FLOTUS to POTUS: Meeting Hillary Clinton


Frances Mackinnon, sophomore, standing on the left of Hillary Clinton at an event in Chicago.

“The 1:30 train for Chicago is now boarding,” a clean robotic voice broadcasts across the Milwaukee train station. I slowly stand up and get in line, quadruple checking that I have my ticket. Climbing up the Amtrak train’s narrow steps, I make a beeline for the quiet car, the least likely place to get assaulted I think. As I sit down, the train slowly starts pulling away from the AP US History class I’m missing, and towards the making of  American history: Hillary Clinton.

The train ride passes uneventfully and as soon as it stops in Union Station, I am the first one at the door. I will not be late for the biggest day of my life. I’m met by an old family friend who’s a delegate and had sent a blessed email my way with the opportunity to meet Secretary Clinton. We then head off to the Marriott on Adams and Wacker.

The nerves are starting to set in now as I greet the small group of friends that were meeting us. A quick walk through a metal detector later, and I’m dining on cold chicken among Congressmen, Ivy League graduates, party leaders and powerful lawyers in a large hotel ballroom. Slowly the mingling and “What year did you graduate Harvard again?” dies down and everyone expectantly takes their seats.

Four well dressed and intimidatingly qualified economists step on stage and quietly discuss the future of our economy in front of an eager audience. If people paid half as much attention in class, I think, everybody would be getting a 36 on the ACT.

For two hours, some of the smartest people I’ve ever met speak, covering issues like the new place for women in the economy, our relationship with China and how Hillary can best connect with millennials. Following this, an overly enthusiastic lady in an equally bright red blazer takes the stage. She jumps around the stage, talking about Hillary Clinton’s many accomplishments, before finally riling up the eager crowd by screaming into the microphone, “Ladies and gentlemen the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton!”

The crowd is going crazy, or, as crazy as upper middle class lawyers on an extremely expensive lunch break can be, as Hillary struts onto the stage in her signature blue tweed pantsuit and electric smile. She greets the ballroom and smiles patiently as the sound of iPhone cameras click rapidly.

She speaks about the growing Midwest economy and giving companies the tools to adapt to this rapid growth. The 45-minute speech probably lasts an hour and a half because Clinton can barely speak two words before applause erupts. All too soon she makes her closing statement and people get up, heading back to their high rise offices to mitigate a deposition or whatever it is that lawyers actually do.

Luckily, my group has the opportunity to join a line of jittery groupies awaiting the chance to take a picture with the one and only. My friends and I pass the time in true nerdy fashion, playing concentration with the category of non-American politicians. Sooner than I could prepare for, I’m holding back tears as I introduce myself to my life long role model, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

All the 5,000 things I wanted to say to her flow out of my mind and I can barely mutter out a “thank you” before I am RIGHT NEXT TO HER for a picture. We quickly show her an excerpt from the book, “Women Who Have Served,” about her before being sent to the side for the next group.

Going to bed that night seems impossible, for Hillary’s smile and kind words are flying through my mind while I desperately try to get some shut eye before my early train the next morning. As I lay there counting sheep, I can’t help but see Hillary standing on Inauguration Day with one hand in the air and that same smile reciting, “I, Hillary Rodham Clinton, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States…”


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