As the polls prepare to open on #Election2016 / #ElectionNight, it’s perhaps a good moment to step back, pause, and consider with care the next phase in the evolution of U.S. politics. The hashtag, #ElectionFinalThoughts, should be renamed to reflect the fact that following this election, no matter who enters the Oval Office, some serious thinking needs to be done in order to address certain issues that have cropped up during @realDonaldTrump and @HillaryClinton campaigns, respectively. #ElectionContinuingThoughts might be such a hashtag, where issues, once thought to be resolved/won and therefore no longer important issues (Civil Rights, for example), or even issues that rarely get a mention in the mainstream press (Indigenous Peoples, for example), can be discussed in order to figure out the best way forward for U.S., and by extension, world politics.
Another issue that has cropped up, but that pretty much has been skirted around, is one of the practice, whether intended or not, of woman-hating rhetoric, acts, sentiments, and other such stuff. That’s certainly the opinion of Barbara Kingsolver, who makes the case that girls growing up when she did faced overwhelming opposition to ideas that girls “could go to college, have jobs, be doctors, tentatively working my way up the ladder” to the position of president, perhaps. Well, now that time has come. There is indeed a woman knocking on the door marked Commander-in-Chief, and, judging by the press coverage stemming from Trump and his supporters, as well as those from within her own party, you’d think this particular woman was the Devil incarnate. Michelle Goldberg writes:
“I’ve interviewed Trump supporters, conventional conservatives, Bernie Sanders fans, and even a few people who reluctantly voted for Clinton in the Democratic primary but who nevertheless say they can’t stand her. Most of them described a venal cynic. Strikingly, the reasons people commonly give for hating Clinton now are almost the exact opposite of the reasons people gave for hating her in the 1990s. Back then, she was a self-righteous ideologue; now she’s a corrupt tool of the establishment. Back then, she was too rigid; now she’s too flexible.”
So, it seems that Hillary is too this, or too that – she’s just not Goldilocks enough. But it seems that the language used to speak ill of Hillary is the kind of language usually reserved for denigrating women, in particular. She is too “stupid” because she stood by Bill during the Lewinsky scandal. She is too “old” even though she’s not as old as Ronald Reagan when he won. She is too “ill” because she recently suffered an illness whilst attending a 9/11-remembrance ceremony. She is too “risky” because of the old email business (and please forgive any naivety, here, but this seems to be about the worst of Hillary’s misdemeanours, which, when you think about it, doesn’t seem all that bad when on the other side we seem forever to be discussing Trump and over a dozen seemingly plausible accusations of sexual assault). Basically, according to her haters, she’s a stupid, old, unwell, and unstable WOMAN.
And when discussing the other accusation that seems to be ever at hand to beat Hillary down, that she’s too much a part of the “corrupt,” self-serving U.S. politics, are people really saying that she’s all that different from what’s gone before? Really?
Is she worse than James Buchanan, who failed to prevent the outbreak of the Civil War?
Is she worse than Warren G. Harding, and his mishandling of the Teapot Dome oil reserves?
Is she worse than Andrew Johnson, who opposed measures, such as the Fourteenth Amendment?
Is she worse than Franklin Pierce, whose administration was responsible for the so called “Bleeding Kansas” or Border War, considered as being one of the key events that led to Civil War?
Is she worse than Millard Fillmore, who endorsed the Fugitive Slave Act?
Is she worse than John Tyler, the first American head of state to face impeachment?
Worse than Shrub?
Hillary Clinton is no different than any of the other aspiring Presidential candidates before her, except for one thing: Hillary is a woman. It remains to be seen whether Americans are willing to accept a woman as President, but make no mistake, woman-hating is prevalent in society. Having a woman in The White House may expose more of the woman-hating, as seen throughout the entirety of the election campaign. But how severe does the woman-hating have to get before people call it out for what it is?
When do we stop adding to, as The Hawk calls it, our collective “history of stupidity?”