Today I got into an online argument with some of Bernie’s true believers, including many women who yelled at me, you know how folks do that online, ALL CAPS LET’S YOU KNOW THEY’RE SERIOUS or MAD–because I reject the demand that Hillary Clinton should release the transcripts of her speeches. See, I remember the vast right wing conspiracy, no quotes needed cause it’s very real, that was mobilized to attack her husband, Bill Clinton AND her.
It seems to some of these folks that HRC (twitter speak for Hillary Rodham Clinton) is so powerful that she caused the economic meltdown wrought by Wall Street cause she got money to talk to them (let the irony of that sink in.) I have not doubt that she told them some of what they wanted to hear and some of what she wanted to say. Is she withholding the transcripts because she beguiled them with offers of more power and more tax breaks and then bewitched them into giving her bunches of gelt, mucho duckets, lots a’lettuce (pop quiz, what is the origin of those terms?)
That’s unlikely, I suspect she doesn’t want you to see the coziness she has with the leaders of affluence and influence but also because she tends to be just a little hard-headed in a way that’s NOT politically expedient. She can’t help resisting the kind of parsing of her words, her clothing and her every political reaction that no other presidential candidate has had to withstand, NO OTHER.
And here I agree with her, this feels like a witch hunt to me. Now, let’s get this straight, I do have trouble with her triangulating, her “no we can’t” philosophy that says we can’t have what other countries, not all of them rich, have-like universal childcare, healthcare and free college. She is too hawkish for me and her vote for the Iraq War is hard to forget so I am voting for Bernie when and where I can.
BUT, here I am shouting at you in CAPS-ya know, being a woman of certain age-I saw what happened when Bill treated her as a partner, when she tried to come up with something like Obamacare, possibly even more universal and progressive than that since it is essentially, Romneycare. I saw the vicious response, the backlash to her presumption to have brains and power. And, she saw it and felt it too. She and Bill fought back with political expediency. She learned through brutal experience what a lightning rod a strong opinionated woman can be, and she adapted for good or ill but mostly for her husband’s sake (another contradiction, why did she stay, see Shonda Rimes for a possible explanation, in last week’s Scandal.)
If we look back at the period of actual witch hunts, we see that women who were survivors no matter what you threw at them, women who kept their own counsel and didn’t seem to need others, who refused to bow down, were accused of all manner of powers, powers that couldn’t be explained in the usual way.
Well, I didn’t have the type of ambition that HRC or most politicians have so I have not adjusted my political beliefs to the times the way she has. But I can tell you something about the pressures an opinionated woman in politics experiences. Back in the Anita Hill days, I had just started to work for a politician who later fired me for bridling against the demands he made of me that had nothing to do with the job. It almost ruined my life. I kept my principles intact-and got nowhere in politics. Bernie has kept his too so I’m voting for him and those principles.
As to HRC’s principles though, one thing she never abandoned was her belief in women’s rights-to abortion, to contraceptives, to rights akin to being a human (“it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights,” http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/hillaryclintonbeijingspeech.htm) That’s no small thing. Should I shout that at you? THAT’S NO SMALL THING.
Another aspect of Hillary’s run that we neglect at our peril and continue to state in our ignorance, is that Bernie’s campaign has all the young people-not all folks-unless you consider white people the only ones who count. I can’t tell you, as an old white lady, why so many Black women, and Asians and Latinas are supporting HRC over someone who talks about legislating opportunity for everyone like Bernie does.
Maybe it’s the fact that the Clintons have really worked at establishing relationships, especially in the Black community. Or maybe, as MSNBC’s commentator Joy Reid, noted, women of color are pragmatic and will not join a movement they don’t see as producing results. Whatever the reason, I have to consider that their support is thoughtful. It would be disrespectful not to do that.
If you want more reminders of what Hillary Clinton has gone through to get where she’s gotten to, read Michelle Goldberg’s “Hard Choices, I used to hate Hillary, now I’m voting for her.” She writes, “revisiting news stories from the 1990s, I was reminded that before she was excoriated as a sellout corporatist, she was excoriated as a feminist radical. She was widely seen as being to her husband’s left, in a way that threatened his political viability. Time after time, under intense pressure, she would overcorrect, trying to convince a skeptical mainstream press that she was a sensible centrist. Eventually, her tendency toward triangulation became almost instinctive.”
To be honest, Michelle’s response seems to be fairly reactionary but it does express some of my disgust with the attacks on her as a candidate. Have you NOTICED (yeah, I’m shouting again) that we have never had a woman president? Here we are the exceptional country, and I use that term inadvisably, but we can’t seem to get there.
Oh, I get it-Hillary isn’t that woman, that candidate-that we want. She may just be the candidate that paves the way but can’t get to the end of the road with us. It seems her very desire to be all things to all people may have doomed her in this time of “authenticity.”
But if you tell me that she is so evil, so representative of the power structure that you can’t even vote for her if she gets the nomination, I won’t see you as the enemy (the way some of you will already see me as the enemy for “defending” her.) I didn’t get mad at voters who chose Nader either. After all they didn’t really elect Bush, the Supreme Court picked him.
Oh, gee, there’s a thought. The next president will pick a number of nominees to the high court. Sigh, if that doesn’t turn you into a supporter of whomever our nominee turns out to be, I’ll resist the urge to shout-LOOK WHAT’S COMING!