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She was ready to be our champion, so don’t criticize her because America picked someone else
In a recent interview with Fox & Friends, Kellyanne Conway, advisor to President Trump, had this to say (unpromoted) about Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democrat nominee for President and former New York Senator, after being asked to address those who call Trump mentally unfit:
“Look at the crack-up of the major left. You’ve got Hillary Clinton, who, Democrats are whispering all over this town wish this book [Clinton’s upcoming book What Happened] didn’t happen, that she would just either make herself useful or fade out of the limelight…Where is her bipartisan effort to try to help with infrastructure and meaningful tax reform, or the opioid crisis that I work on in the building behind you every single day? We haven’t heard from her. She failed to make history and she succeeds at making excuses, and that is emblematic of the Democratic Party now that is so bereft of ideas and issues that they have to then play armchair psychiatrists. We’re not going to let it happen; it’s outrageous.”
There are few people that make me as angry as Kellyanne Conway, the type of person, much like Mike Pence, who would submit people to undeniable tortures and struggles and claim that it was for their own good. I have no doubt that Kellyanne Conway knows how unhinged her president is; I have no doubt that Pence knows his own bigotry towards LGBTQ people and uses religion as a blanket shield. And I have no doubt that they ignore these truths and barrel on in the face of their own interests. Money, power, control.
“Where is Hillary?” Kellyanne wonders, on the opioid crisis, women and children, bipartisan efforts. Well, Kellyanne, she is not president. She does not have to do anything. That Kellyanne would even bring up Hillary’s name, blame her for any inaction or expect her to be spearheading anything is beyond ludicrous, it’s insulting.
It is Trump, Kellyanne, who has become President. It is Trump who should be dealing with the opioid crisis, rather than complaining to the president of Mexico that New Hampshire is a “drug-infested den.” It is Trump’s job as president to make a bipartisan effort, rather than attacking his Attorney General, any Senator that disagrees with him, and hurling insults and attacks at the media.
You haven’t heard much from her because you’re expecting her to do the president’s job. It is you, and your administration, that is making excuses. When you lost the popular vote, you claimed voter fraud. When you couldn’t get enough Republicans (of which you hold the majority in Congress, as well as a conservative-leaning Supreme Court and a Republican White House) to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, you somehow blamed Democrats. When the media questions Trump’s agenda, or challenges him on his racism, you shift the discussion to Hillary, Benghazi, her emails. Don’t expect her or criticize her for not doing the job of a president when the man you helped get elected is imploding.
There is this assumption, that stems from the same belief that Hillary was a shoe-in for the White House and that she is an unmovable force we take for granted, that Hillary needs to qualify her time; a knee-jerk reaction that she needs to be doing something. She tried to do something, but we rejected her. She doesn’t owe us anything.
Then there was an opinion piece from The Hill, titled “Hillary should have called Trump a creep to change history.”
The piece is in reaction to a segment of Clinton’s book, where she describes the second presidential debate. The set-up was a large circle with the two opponents walking around. While Clinton was speaking, Trump stalked behind her imposingly.
Clinton wrote, “It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled. It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do?’ Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up, you creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.’”
In the opinion piece, columnist Brent Budowsky wonders how “history might have changed if she had done this! Imagine how history might have changed if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) had done something similar during the GOP primaries when Trump suggested his father had a role in the Kennedy assassination!”
It is infinitely pointless to engage in “What if’s” (What if Bernie had won the nomination? What if Hillary had put more efforts into certain states?) because they ignore the very real present. But this, for some reason, spoke of such unbelievable privilege, even though I don’t believe Budowsky was coming from a bad place.
What if Hillary had called Trump a creep, said she felt uncomfortable. How would people, the media, her opponents, who already crucified her for her husband’s scandals, for alienating people, for beating Bernie, react? They would call her irrational; they would say she was overreacting. They would say that if she couldn’t handle one man being invasive, she wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure of the presidency.
I am not a woman, nor am I a racial minority, so I cannot speak from any position but my own. But as a gay man, especially growing up in a religious world and going to an all-boys school, I have had my space invaded and my security crossed. I have dealt with boys getting into my personal space, groping me, saying lewd things to me, trying to get me to crack, to break. Before I came out, they did it to instigate some sort of response and affirmation, that if I weren’t gay, I shouldn’t be bothered by a boy so close. And after I came out, they did it to prove that they owned some part of me, that I should want to be close to them, that they were entitled to it.
There is always the question of What if (What if I had spoken out? What if I had lashed back?) but there are reasons why one doesn’t. If I had, I might’ve gotten hit harder, been invaded more out of anger. If Hillary had called Trump a creep, she would be affirming to those who already believed that she was weak, that a woman would not be up to the stress.
Stop expecting Hillary to be somehow more than human. She is a person, who ran for president twice because she wanted to serve the American people. She lost, and she accepted that loss. And during that while, she has kept up on the issues. She has stayed connected. By throwing out these endless hypotheticals, or criticizing her for not doing enough (as if she wasn’t prepared to do everything for America), you are avoiding the very real reality.
Maybe she did not make history in becoming the first female president. But she is part of history. She is a central figure in our history, one of strength and resilience and resistance. She did what she could, she did more than anyone else would, and that wasn’t enough, but it helped us get to where we need to be. She was ready to be our champion, so don’t criticize her because America picked someone else and now they’re regretting it.