A Recollection Greeted by Contempt
Hillary Clinton is no stranger to books. Unlike a shocking percentage of the American population (which I just searched online, reviewed, and declined to attach further information of here because it’s not, let’s say, encouraging), Hillary Clinton is an avid reader — and she gets plenty of writing done. Her 1996 book, It Takes a Village, has been subject to vitriol and unwelcoming by many republicans. Her later books, An Invitation to the White House and Living History, were scoffed at by the red establishment from the get-go. When Hard Choices dropped in 2014, it was almost a certain foreshadowing with what was ahead. We all know what happened: an ascent to the top of a major party’s ticket. Then we all know, What Happened.
Clinton’s fresh-off-the-press book is a memoir of sorts, reflecting on the biggest upset in modern political history. I have ordered a copy of the paperback (because I believe in books, pages to flip through, no matter the irony of you reading this digitally right now), and I can’t wait to devour it. I was a strong Clinton supporter last year and the year before. When she lost the electoral college late into election night, I was gutted — which you can read about here.
I tend to stay away from book reviews pertaining to the books I would like to get my hands on, only because you can almost always bet on someone casually spilling the biggest spoiler in the comment section. However, again, I know how this book ends. From the reviews I’ve read so far, it’s all mixed. You have your newspapers praising it, you have some readers hating it; you have some proud feminists holding it high, and you have your misogynists crying (as they tend to do).
But there are several big questions that come to the fore.
The new book and its tour have been welcomed, or rather not wanted, by republicans and democrats alike. The tone and sentiment are somewhat similar on both sides of the aisle: “Go away.” “Shut up already.”
And curiously enough, Clinton’s party of opposition — the very side that clung onto her aspirations with sinking teeth — welcomed her return more than the democrats. In a way, this behavior is immature on both ends. On one hand, you have the democrats trying to shun away a figure of disappointment. On the other hand, you have the republicans reveling in the defeat of the vanquished enemy — an enemy they so longed to bring down.
The proof is out there and quite simple to find. Take a look at just a few of the headlines. As simple as a headline may be, the stories behind them illustrate what is, sadly (to some), a disliked woman.
Yikes. Can you say “ouch?”
In the wake of this new book and its rapid reactions, the electorate, and the democratic party’s identity (especially) have some questions to answer. And perhaps only time will allow those answers to unfold.
What is the purpose or role of ‘What Happened?’
Some are calling it a resource of grief, of coping, and eventually acceptance. Who is the book’s audience? Is it the deflated, resolute Clinton supporter? NPR went as far to say that the book is for Hillary herself. Even if that’s the case, so what? It’s not like she needs the money from a new book. After all, she was probably the most qualified individual ever to seek the highest office in the land. Her voice is valid and maybe even required on some days, no matter how tired you are of hearing it.
In generations to come, this book might serve as a history book instead of a chronicle. Old and steady: Know the history so you don’t repeat the past.
Why can’t the general public seem to tolerate an emoting woman?
When a prominent, political man revisits a painful past, the media gives a bit of leeway. When a woman does the same, they are less forgiving — maybe even subconsciously! It’s sexism in its natural, gross, modern, yet unchanged form.
Actual headline comparison:
As showed above, from New York Magazine: “Democratic Politicians are Dreading the ‘Final Torture’ of Hillary Clinton’s Book Tour”
It’s such an inadvertent way of screaming, “HOW DARE SHE HAVE FEELINGS.”
What if there was no book from Clinton at all?
Would the reaction be different or the same? I’m certain more than a few outlets would’ve slammed Hillary for not giving her supporters anything to hold on to, or turn to after the loss. She’d be hiking in the foothills and mountains of Chappaqua, minding her own business. Meanwhile the papers and news networks would be bemoaning: “Why didn’t she write a book about this? Why isn’t she on a book tour?”
Damned if she does. Damned if she doesn’t.
What would’ve Trump done had he lost?
This one is a little unfair. It’s comparing apples to oranges. (Get it? Oranges. Yeah? Oooranges – okay, I’ll stop)
One thing is certain. Trump wouldn’t have written a book about the defeat. That’s far too calculated a thing to do, too measured and collected. It’s such a peaceful form of rebuttal. I honestly wonder when Trump last picked up a book. Not even to read. Just to touch it. When does that even happen, if ever?
He probably would’ve just gone full-attack on Clinton, her family, and her supporters. You know, the classy thing to do.
He would’ve aimed for a cable network to broadcast his propaganda machine known as “Trump TV.” Yeah, its a thing. *cringe
Fair to say that he’d be louder and more harmful than a book tour. Just sayin’.
Where are we as a country?
That’s the big question, right? No matter how progressive we thought we were, as a nation, in 2015 and 2016, we fell short of sending the first female into the tall chair in the oval office. Were we ready for it, however? Yes and no. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, yet lost the electoral college (where it matters). It’s like making a last second field goal in a football game you were behind in. Great, but didn’t matter.
The “glass ceiling” hasn’t been shattered…yet. That ultimate barrier has millions of amazing cracks on it. There is reason to believe that it will soon be broken through.
America saw Hillary Clinton as the first woman to secure the top of a major party’s ticket in a presidential election. The first woman to call the seat hers is out there. Is her name Harris or Gillibrand or Warren? Will we get it right this next time? Or will we fall short? Better yet: Is America ready? That’s the big one.
Let’s stay tuned.
Hugo is a singer and actor from West Texas. He has an affinity for anything relating to 1950s science fiction and gastronomy. Grab his horror novel in a bookshop close to you soon…very soon. Happy reading. Please recycle & practice kindness.