Friday, November 11, 2016

How High Can We Rise?

Janet Reno died this week. She was seventy-eight years old. She grew up in a country where women were afforded the right to vote. Eighteen years after the ratification of the nineteenth amendment, America's first female Attorney General was born. She was born in Miami, Florida, the daughter of journalists. A product of Dade County public schools, Ms. Reno eventually graduated from Cornell and then moved on to Harvard Law School where she was one of sixteen women in a class of five hundred.
In 1978, she was appointed State Attorney for Miami-Dade County. A champion for those whose rights are often overlooked, children and minorities, she had many of her convictions overturned on appeal, but she kept up the fight and was re-elected in a landslide. Her run for governor of Florida wasn't as successful in 1984.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Janet and she was confirmed as our nation's first woman Attorney General. Serving just under eight years, she was the longest tenured in that position since William Wirt.
And William Wirt never had Will Ferrell portray him on Saturday Night Live. Janet Reno did. Name another Attorney General who became a crowd favorite on late night TV. Times up. She rode herd on Waco, Timothy McVeigh, and the Unabomber. She was cited for contempt of Congress for not turning over documents during the impeachment of her boss, Bill Clinton. She was a trailblazer and a straight shooter who brought back the phrase, "The Buck Stops Here." Janet Reno lived by that rule.
Susan B. Anthony didn't live long enough to see the first election in which she could vote. Janet Reno, who lived through the rough and tumble years with the Clintons and all their turmoil, passed on before she could see this glass pane of glass shattered. She stomped on the Terra, and left marks for other to follow.

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