Rising head and shoulders above the blundering Republicans, Dr. Fiona Hill, a model of restrained, dignified professional integrity, treated these men’s “fictional narrative” of Ukraine interference into our election as a wayward attempt to support Donald Trump’s nefarious actions, playing, she insisted, into the hands of the Russian president.
It would be foolish to place the issues of moral and legal probity in the hands of one woman, or all women. Yet Dr. Hill, who was the State Department’s top advisor on Russian affairs for decades, seemed to me, uniquely as a woman, to represent a fearless insistence on doing the right thing.
Perhaps it was her fearlessness as she calmly faced a horde of questioners that impressed me as much as her righteousness. After all, as The New York Times pointed out, this is a woman who is not likely to be flustered into cutting moral corners. When she was eleven years old, the Times reported, she asked a classmate to set fire to one of her pigtails, put out the flames with her bare hands, and went on taking the test.
I see this innate fearlessness in many girls up to the age of puberty, when their fearlessness seems to be doused. The other day as I was waiting with others outside an overcrowded restaurant, I was delighted to see an eight or nine-year-old girl solving the problem of a long wait with grownups by climbing up a snow-crowned eight-foot wall and perching triumphantly on the top. It seemed a shame when her over-anxious father called her down to endure more boring waiting. Her mother echoed the same exaggerated warning.
I’m sure Dr. Hill’s mother heard about the burning pigtail from school authorities, and even chastised her daughter. But, in the long run, it is our ability and willingness to climb to the top of walls and put out fires with our bare hands what makes the world a more possible place.
Dr. Hill was calmly and methodically putting out a fire with her bare hands at the House Impeachment hearing. The Republicans present must have been very relieved that it was the last day.