It is Right That It is Hillary
The 2016 election has been brutal. I wish we could fast-forward through this toxic
election and just skip to Hillary Clinton’s politically motivated impeachment trial.
Unless a mysterious video taken by Vince Foster of him wandering deep into the
woods of Fort Marcy Park surfaces. It would end with him standing in the corner of
a basement in some long abandoned building. The last image would be Hillary
turning to the camera Blair Witch style. It is pretty likely that the woman who has
had young Republican white males checking under their beds for the last thirty
years will be our next President of the United States. Even if there was such a video,
most Americans would just shrug their shoulders and go, “She’s still better than
Maybe it is fitting that our first female president will have had to crawl through a
river of fecal matter in this election like the character of Andy Dufresne in the movie
The Shawshank Redemption? Women in our society have had to fuss, fight, march,
and be unruly to get almost every right society has grudgingly granted them. There
are thousands of women alive right now who were born into a world where they did
not have the right to vote because of the parts they were born with. Millions more
that put up with slapping, grabbing and being told they had no rights apart from the
men in their lives.
Long after almost every other industrialized nation in the world has had a female
head of state, after almost a century of women having the vote, America went, “Well,
maybe we are ready?” Even then it took America’s hemorrhoid in waiting, Donald
Trump, to be her opponent for it to become a reality.
So, maybe it is fitting that it is Hillary Clinton, a woman who has had a spine forged
in steel after more than three decades of standing in the breech, is the one who will
break the ultimate glass celling. She has had every form of insult, every piece of mud
possible thrown at her, and she has never given up.
In Arkansas, many critics blamed her for her husband’s first political loss. She was
not lady-like enough. She needed to lighten her hair, put away her glasses, lose some
weight, and take her husband’s last name. It did not matter that she was smart and
talented. She wasn’t what they wanted. And she came back, went door to door, and
Her husband ran for president and she was humiliated on national television
because he could not keep it in his pants. She knew about the “bimbos.” I am sure
she even confronted him a time or two about it. That is something that too many
women in our society have to deal with behind closed doors, with their only comfort
being the privacy of that pain. Boys will be boys. She did it with television cameras
in her face and smarmy little men talking to everyone she knew, trying to find one
more morsel of dirt, one more little tidbit of gossip that they could smack her with. I
am sure there was no more lonely place in the world than your first introduction to
the American people than sitting on a couch on a news magazine show holding your
husband’s hand when most of you wants to choke him to death. She held on, and
Bernie bros and young women today cannot understand how much she was
smeared in the 1990s. Fat little men behind radio microphones implied that she was
a lesbian, called her a bitch and other words a person does not say in polite
company. Then there were the jokes, mean spirited and spiteful. Before her, First
Ladies were left alone. She became a petty punch line. Hillary nutcrackers for sale.
What is the Hillary Kentucky Fried Chicken special? Two small breasts, two large
thighs, and two left wings. No First Lady had ever been talked about like that before.
They accused her of financial wrong doings. Almost everyday there was a scandal
that turned out not to be a scandal at all. She had to suffer with the whispers that
came after the suicide of one of her best friends, a man she often turned to for advice
and comfort, that she had murdered him. Even so called ministers of God spit out
vile, untrue things at her. She was not the traditional First Lady. She wasn’t what
they wanted. And she came back. She got up every morning and did not let them
She tried to focus on doing something good, something that would make a
difference in millions of children and women’s lives. She fought to change our health
care system, something that even conservatives acknowledged needed to happen. It
is true that she made some mistakes in the process. Yet, she was mocked for it. It
was derisively called Hillarycare. Rather than working together, her opponents
smelled blood in the water. They saw her defeat as a millstone around her
husband’s neck and a chance to bring down his presidency. It would have been easy
to give up. Yet, she came back and they won reelection.
Then one morning her husband came in to talk to her. He was being accused of
having an inappropriate relationship with an intern young enough to be their
daughter. It was little wonder that she believed him. He had been attacked for years
about such things, some true, most not even in the realm of reality, and even he
would not be so stupid to have done such a thing in the Oval Office. Friends assured
her that the young woman was just a lovesick stalker. So, she fought for everything
they had scratched and clawed for.
She would discover that he openly and bold-faced lied to her. It took almost two
years to get past the pain of that deception. Still, it was a lot of things. It was not a
high crime and misdemeanor. She hadn’t done anything wrong and she got drug
through the mud again. Somehow, she became the bad guy, not the one having the
affair, her, the innocent one in all it. How do you talk to your daughter about things
like that? And she came back.
So much of what she wanted them to accomplish was taken away from them that
second term, but instead of going away quietly, retiring to dinner parties and a life
in the country behind high walls, she decided to run for Senate out of New York.
After what she had been through, I don’t think there is a human being alive who
would not understand if she had said no. She was called power hungry, a Macbeth-
like queen. And she won.
Of course, she was hated for it. Even her enemies acknowledge that she was a great
Senator, that she had no problem reaching out and working with some of the very
people that had called her names. I don’t know how many of us could do that. You
can disagree with her politics, but you cannot disagree with how she conducted
herself in that body.
In 2008, she ran for the presidency. It was hers to lose and she lost it. A young
upstart and once in a lifetime politician named Barack Obama beat her. In snowy
New Hampshire she broke down and cried. Like when she was the First Lady of
Arkansas and First Lady of the United States, she wasn’t what the American people
wanted. Yet, she got up again. She wasn’t “likeable enough.”
She swallowed her pride and accepted the job as Secretary of State. She put in long
hours, crisscrossed the world at an age when most people are slowing down with an
eye towards retirement. And they attacked her. Benghazi became a tragedy in
search of a scandal. Even though the Bush administration had shown the same
sloppiness with emails, Republicans were outraged. It became accepted wisdom that
she was a liar and was not trustworthy even though that is not remotely true. In a
world that wants things that are bright, shiny and new, she was just old Hillary.
In 2016, she tried again for the presidency. It appeared that there was nobody else
out there. She found herself not wanted again. The Democrats fell in love with a little
known elderly, socialist Senator from Vermont who had accomplished almost
nothing in his long congressional career. It was hers to lose and it appeared to be
slipping out of her fingers again.
She held on, she fought and she won. And even after she won, the Bernie bros tried
to take it from her even though they had lost the popular vote, the electoral vote,
and the super delegates. She was the most qualified person to run for the presidency
since James Madison, and she found herself in a dogfight with a reality star who
cannot keep his hands to himself or his mouth shut. He had one of the worst national
conventions ever, was embarrassed in all three debates, attacked war heroes, the
handicapped, and gold star parents. He has called women fat pigs, incited violence at
his rallies, has repeatedly sworn on stage, demonized minorities, preyed on the
darker impulses of the American soul, and, yet, it has still been a dogfight. It has
been an election of men behaving badly and Hillary trying to maintain her dignity.
And she has been hated for it. Hated.
While Barack Obama was seen as the chosen one, and there were open tears when
he won, I don’t think Hillary’s victory will have the same reception. There will be no
Noble Peace Prize waiting for her arrival in Washington. The Republicans and her
enemies are already talking about tying her down with hearings and investigations,
and the first votes have not even been counted. There are even the rumors of
impeachment and that carpet in the Oval Office has not even been changed yet.
If I ever have a daughter and the world seems against her, and when you are a
woman there are times that it is, I will point to Hillary. When she wants to give up, I
will tell her to be like Hillary. When she is called, named and lied about, Hillary.
When that mountain seems too tall to climb, Hillary.
She doesn’t have to be perfect. She does not have to be the most beautiful woman
in the room. She doesn’t have to have everyone like her. She just has to try as hard
as she can, like Hillary. I think it is right that Hillary Clinton should be our first