Why Millennials shouldn’t have to read the 1996 Article on Hillary Clinton
This article started out as a comment to an article written by Savannah L. Barker for The Voidist, but as it got longer, I decided it needed to be an article in itself, because I don’t think this point of view regarding Hillary Clinton, and what should be discussed in American elections, is getting any air time at all. The original article is here.
Sorry, but as someone who was 21 when Clinton was elected, and working in DC, in politics, I remember FAR too well the Hillary who you are re-writing history on. She wasn’t the first one to push the boundaries. Many first ladies did before her. Eleanor Roosevelt virtually ran the White House at times during her husband’s unknown to the public illness. Betty Ford spoke out on additction. First ladies became more verbal, and not always in comfortable ways. Barbara Bush made many statements that weren’t in line with her husband’s administration (abortion), and many didn’t follow a career path they wanted (Laura Bush, Michelle Obama). They understood there is a role in public service, even if you don’t get to be POTUS. All these things are a choice, and all these women made them.
Savannah Barker says that Hillary Clinton is a feminist. Calling Hilliary a ‘feminist’ demeans all women. Women — or anyone — should be able to stand or fall on our ideas, results, abilities and other qualities — of which trust and honesty is key. THAT is why Hiliary isn’t getting the Millenials, or lots of other people. Even those who say they will vote for her generally come in below 30% (even as low as 10%) when it comes to ‘do you trust Hillary Clinton’.
She made a choice — back from Arkansas — to do whatever it took to cow women to keep them quiet so she and her husband could get to where they wanted to do (yes, he was having affairs back then, and she did her role to keep them quiet so their could rise in the ranks). Those aren’t the actions of a feminist. They are those of a bully, and someone who is already part of the establishment, and will do what it takes to get what they want. The ‘feminism’ you might be talking about, back then, was elitist, white, and very establishment. She benefited from it, and built on it.
She made a choice to stand by Bill Clinton when the sorid Monica Lewinsky debacle played out. She decided to run for Senate from NY, to accept the Secretary of State role proffered, and to think she could still do things her way, under this cloak of entitlement the Clinton’s have always had; no problem, have a junior staffer install a server in your house and ignore the rules on the use of personal email for secure national emails. Bengahzi. Bin Laden. And who knows what else.
Most importantly, and troubling, is the amount of money she, Bill, and Chelsea have taken through the Clinton Foundation. Billions. From global heads of state, large corporations, etc. And we are supposed to believe her — when she has lied to us all so many times before — when she says there is no quid pro quo, that they wouldn’t get an extra minute on a call, or give an extra moment hesitation when making a decision involving any of these people? If so, you are being very very dim. Wake up.
Millenials are seeing the right version of Hillary. We are all the sum of our experiences. No one is a blank canvas, and she is covered in a multitude of colours. The question is when too many bleed together — when does that inital interaction + others lead to handicapping her from being the best choice for the party’s nomination, and possibly the presidency? She’s lied. She told us how very very broke they were when they left the White House now they are literally millionaires many times over. She has made dubious decisions, both personally and professionally.
Hannah Barker talks of a misogynistic press. She talks about a vast right wing conspiracy press — especially during her husband’s impeachment hearings. Yes, she has been raked over the coals of the journalists, but without smoke, there isn’t fire, and the Clinton’s have behaved in a way that have given reason for her to get a harsher ride than others. That’s what happens when you play fast and loose with the truth, and think you are a special class, and the rules don’t apply to you. If you don’t like it you, you have an option: get out of politics. Otherwise, you know what is coming. That is why there is an entire industry of people who do nothing but opposition research and investigative journalism.
You have to remember, she is married to one of the few president’s ever impeached. That alone will get you a shedload more press than any other person. Impeachment is incredibly serious. Yes, he was acquitted subsequently, but he was charged civilly, and had his license to practice law in Arkansas suspended, and later by the Supreme Court. It’s just that Bill Clinton did his smiling and drawling, and suddenly everyone forgot he lied to us, and tried to, and to a certain extent, did, ruin a young woman’s life (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Oops. He did. In the end he tried to explain he though he didn’t because he was ‘receiving’ and not ‘giving’. Really?)
So after all this, and plenty more, it is great she has survived, and has the guts to want to go run. But she hasn’t proven herself to be a safe pair of hands, nor an honest pair. She hasn’t show brilliant judgement in many ways. But this isn’t a feminist issue. This is a who is best for America issue. And in a country of almost 350 million, the few options available are a sad indictment of the country — is this the best? Of course not. But politics requires a certain type of narcassistic personality that needs the daily hit of the public polls, and the rough and tumble.
Don’t denigrate women by saying this is about feminism. Because of all the women out there who have done SO MUCH for feminism, Hillary has done SO MUCH (especially behind the scenes) to undo it, as long as it benefits her family, and their goals.
Millenials are getting the warts and all version, which is the absolute right version to be voting on. Which is right, as we are all flawed. But there is a higher expectation of the compass and overall judgement the leader of the country should have. And people need to decide if she meets that. And in this field of worse upon worse, she might. In other years, she might not.
Vote. That is the most important thing, woman or man. Why is American voter turnout so low? Look at the options. Who wants to have any part of that. No one is giving anyone a reason to believe. Elections in America are now a war of attrition, not a debate of ideas and promise. That is incredibly depressing. Sad. Horrifying.
Sarah Silverman gives an excellent reason why Hillary may just not be the right person. Sometimes too much water has gone under the bridge. Or you just burned the damn bridge.
Like Sarah says, I really don’t care either way who you vote for, but American’s, get off your sofa and VOTE. Otherwise, you get the government you get, with the flawed leaders, the baser and baser debates, the made for soundbite comments, and the sleaze and Super PACs. And you don’t get to complain, whinge, or nag for the next 4 years. But you deserve what you wind up with.
Kristine is Anglo-American, a Brooklynite by birth, British citizen, with Irish sass from my dad. Wants: wine, whisky, lots of sleep. Ecomm / tech geek. Sports mad. Wants to be in Cornwall, and listen to sea.