Changing of the political guard

The “old” and the “new” mingle seamlessly in our government.

We have a 237-year-old Constitution, and the way it mirrors change in modern culture still astounds the most learned within the halls of power.

The most exciting ways to exercise power came into fashion with the first females to represent the U.S. Most recently, Hillary Clinton has ceded her power in government by leaving the State Department.

Clinton is a pioneer. She was the first First Lady to hold a postgraduate degree. She was head of dozens of task forces, including one spearheading a universal health care initiative. Many such task forces served to advance the cause of women and children. She’s in the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Even as Hillary Clinton leaves the State Department, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., represents a new dawn for female power in politics.

Sinema came from humble beginnings as a homeless child and now holds doctorate and law degrees from ASU. She serves representing the 9th Congressional District in Arizona and is the first openly bisexual member of Congress. She was sworn in on a copy of the Constitution instead of the traditional Bible.

As one of the “old guard” of women in power, Clinton still throws around a lot of political weight to get what she wants. She has had to be abrasive and argumentative to make her concerns heard while people stood in the way of progress.

Today, we can all thank Clinton for being a trailblazer for the unprecedented number of women now serving in elected office. Without Clinton, there would be no Sinema.

We must wait to see what Sinema accomplishes as she remains a bulwark of liberalism in Arizona. This will require a great deal of compromise and dealmaking.

Although she holds the need to protect the weakest amongst us as a top priority, Sinema undoubtedly knows that there is a pragmatism and finesse required of her as she fights for what Arizonans need

Kyrsten Sinema comes from the new school of political thought: Free from the barriers of old, anyone can accomplish anything.

Women, as well as men for that matter, can learn from Clinton and Sinema. They are two sides of the same coin. They both want what is best for their constituencies and the country: a more progressive and egalitarian democracy.

During their respective tenures, Sinema and Clinton have showed the best way to get what they wanted. They are truly a product of their times.

Clinton represents the “old” power paradigm: taking the old institution to task. Kyrsten represents “new” power: working with the institution that Clinton helped to change.

My hope is that Sinema does not leave a passion for progress at the door and will carry the torch of the feminine mystique right into the Capitol rotunda. At the very least, Sinema should designate Clinton as her “spirit animal” while Clinton leaves the political menagerie.

 

Reach the columnist at peter.northfelt@asu.edu or follow him at @PeterNorthfelt

 

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