By HOO SOOK HWANG
ST. PAUL (July 20, 2014) — Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was at Common Good Books in Saint Paul on Sunday to promote her new book, “Hard Choices.”
Joining the former First Lady, U.S. Senator and possible 2016 Presidential candidate, were U.S. Sen. Al Franken, Gov. Mark Dayton and Mayor Chris Coleman, who all gave Clinton a warm welcome as she entered the store with her hard covered book in hand.
The staff of Common Good Books, owned by Garrison Keillor on the corner of Grand and Snelling Avenues, did an incredible job of organizing the event, which allowed more than 1,100 Clinton supporters who stood in line for up to three hours. the opportunity to meet and greet her, while leaving with an autographed copy.
The turn out was successful and Clinton made a very intentional effort to greet everyone who walked through the line.
One middle school teacher asked Clinton, “I teach middle school, do you have any advice?” Clinton responded, “Sometimes it’s hard. You get knocked down. It doesn’t matter. You have to keep getting back up!”
Clinton offered Sage wisdom from her lifetime of experiences, challenges and accomplishments. She focused on resilience and opportunity, engageing college age students in conversation as they passed through.
Clinton asked the young people what they were doing for work or college. She reminded several young women that the world needs young people to get an education towards fulfilling their goals.
While some affiliates and news reviews have reported that the length of the book is too long, I found it to be a relative perspective when one compares the length to the extraordinary political life. Given Clinton’s years of political service, 650 pages pales in comparison.
Compare this to children and young adolescents who continue to devour JK Rowling’s, Harry Potter series of 10 books and can’t get enough of the longest book, which read 870 pages long.
While Clinton’s book isn’t immersed in fantasy, she discusses magical efforts that may be needed to bring polarized parties together towards decreasing political turmoil and increasing peace. Having met leaders around the globe, Clinton concluded that possibilities continue to trump impasses.
Clinton underscored a broad range of global and national experiences she had with leaders around the world. The list is not exhaustive, but impressive. She discussed the highs and lows of a life in politics, as well as the opportunities politics have presented in throughout her life.
Despite the large number of people who attended the book signing, there were very few people of color in attendance and even fewer Asians. Yet, in Clinton’s book, she wrote that her first stop as Secretary of State was to visit the, Japanese Empress Michiko.
Clinton went on to capture experiences related to television journalist Laura Ling, who was held in captivity in North Korea (2009), under the leadership of Kim Jong II, as well as Ling’s release and return to the United States.
Clinton shared accounts of visits to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. Her book reports a meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in which she hoped to create a more equitable balance in 2009. Clinton also met with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo in Beijing to discuss peace efforts for the next generation.
Given the content in, “Hard Choices,” which addressed foreign policy, national issues and legislative policies, it seemed Asians could benefit from having access to important events like this. Clinton’s book, “Hard Choices,” impacts politics and reveals a nuanced ethnic and racial viewpoint.
How can media outlets work towards increasing invitations across cultural and racial groups so that these types of events are more inclusive? What needs to happen so that Asians in Minnesota are invited to attend important and historical events, so they too can meet and experience global leaders who visit the Twin Cities?