She was prepared. I saw it in her cream-colored pant suit. She was prepared. I saw it in her steps as she marched out on the stage. She was prepared.
I saw it in how she smiled and waved. She was prepared. I saw it in her handshake with the moderator. She was prepared, and it manifested itself in so many ways. When we were growing up over sixty some years ago, we had a term that said so much. This moment reflected the sum of that statement. I saw it in her entire being. She was, as we used to say, “cool, calm and collected.” She was prepared.
Sometimes you can feel when someone is prepared. We can feel it because they feel it. We could feel she was prepared because she felt it so deeply within her very being. We could feel it because it was now a part of her being. She was prepared. There is something about the right clothes for the right moment. It’s true of men and women. However, it oftentimes emanates more strongly from women. And of course, we look more closely at women’s clothing. The cream colored pant suit was simple. But it was also sufficiently dressy. The cream colored pant suit matched her mood and matched the moment. She was prepared.
From the opening moment, her voice was natural but controlled. It was modulated but strong. It projected but flowed. And there was just the right amount of feeling in the voice and her words. She was prepared.
She was in control of her words. She was in control of her body language. She was in control of her spirit. She was in control of her rhythm, which synchronized with her mood. Her hands do not always flow with her body or her words. But on this night the hands were in rhythm with her speech, her body, her mood, her spirit. She was prepared.
She was in control of her ideas. She said that her opponent had said that she had been in public service for 30 years without accomplishing anything. She seized the moment: “Back in the 1970s, I worked for the Children’s Defense Fund. I was taking on discrimination against African American kids in school. He was getting sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination in his apartment buildings. In the 1980s, I was working to reform the schools in Arkansas. He was borrowing $14 million from his father to start his businesses. In the 1990s, I went to Beijing and said women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights. He insulted a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, calling her an eating machine. On the day I was in the Situation Room monitoring the raid that helped bring bin Laden to justice, you were hosting the Celebrity Apprentice.”
Sometimes being in control of ourselves is great but not enough. Sometimes we have to be in control of the moment and those in the moment. She was in control of the moment. She was in control of her opponent inhabiting that moment. She jabbed him vocally to get him out of control. She said, “He’d (Putin) rather have a puppet as President of the United States.” Her opponent tried to stop her from talking but could not. Out of frustration, he said, “Such a nasty woman!” He should not have said that. He had lost his self-control. She was prepared. In an earlier debate, she said that her opponent had criticized her for preparing for the debate. Her response was, “Yes, I did prepare. And there is something else I prepared for. I prepared to be President!” She was prepared.
Sometimes we cannot take every issue head on. Sometimes we have to deflect the issue to control the moment. When the WikiLeaks emails came up, she challenged her opponent to condemn Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, for hacking emails in the United States and trying to influence U.S. elections. She said that 17 intelligence agencies had determined that it was the Russians, but he refused to admit the Russian government was involved. He became so defensive that he did not pursue the email controversy. She knew each trigger point, and she pushed these points again and again. And he reacted as predicted time and time again. She was prepared.
At the end of the debate, the moderator stated that the debate opponents could have one minute each to make a closing argument. It was not a part of the plan, so it was a surprise. She had to go first. Yet, she was so good in that one minute. She was prepared.
The next night at the famous Annual Al Smith Dinner, she was prepared. One of her many jokes was about preparedness. She said she was flattered that her opponent thought that she had taken performance-enhancing drugs during the debate. Then she said, “I did have performance enhancers, it’s called preparation.” The “she” of which I speak is Hillary Clinton, the most attacked person in the United States of America over the last two years. It is amazing that under these circumstances she could be so cool, so calm, so collected. She was prepared.
EPILOGUE – What we feel on the inside will manifest itself on the outside unless we camouflage it. There was no effort to camouflage the feeling of preparedness she felt on the inside. And we perceived it in full.