Don’t get me wrong. I’m a feminist and if you’re hoping that this is going to be a rant against feminism, au contraire, mon ami. With that said, I’d argue that there are a lot of problems with Hillary Clinton and that we’re doing ourselves a disservice if we sweep those under the rug. Of course, that’s probably a big part of how we got here in the first place.
Our country is one that’s divided. People who shop at Piggly Wiggly don’t usually have lots of pleasant conversations with people who shop at Whole Foods. I think that’s a shame, but that’s where things are right now. It’s led to problems in how Clinton’s been treated. Maybe it’s even led to problems in how Clinton’s reacted. That’d be far more troubling in some senses, although I’d argue that it might make more sense to try to treat the problem than to treat the symptoms. But I’d also argue that there’s no room for us to accept criticisms of Clinton’s voice, her clothing, and other gendered aspects of her or any other public figure. The thing is that we take unacceptance to an extreme.
It’s not totally normal for people to be silenced in the ways that people are silenced in America. In other countries, people can respectfully disagree and interact with one another. Picking sides isn’t always the absolute, divisive, vitriol-laden thing that it is here. In many ways, it’s a weird, terrible time and place that we’re living in.
So maybe, in order for Clinton to maintain power, she’s had to be tight with Wall Street, maybe she’s had to be a warhawk, maybe she’s had to sell out against People of Color. In this day and age, when neoliberalism’s clutches on global capital and modern formations of power has led to “Lean In” feminism, we see lots of similarly odd marriages.
Historically, feminism has been associated with radical leftist ideologies, but today, many White Feminists are often completely happy to embrace the inclusion of white women in problem-propagating institutions and call that “progress.” Of course, this isn’t all that helpful to People of Color, non-nationals, LGBTQIAPK+, disabled people, the poor, etc., but in the case of Hillary Clinton, it’s not as though she hasn’t had a choice.
The Clintons, if you don’t know, are very wealthy. There’s no particular reason why the Clintons should have to do any particular job that they wouldn’t want to do. By no means do I mean to imply that anyone shouldn’t run for office, but if given the choice between doing something that will harm a lot of disempowered people and not running for office, it’s not necessarily easy to see how a Clinton might need to do something terrible. Nothing keeps them from fading away with their millions.
But representation is important. I agree with that. In Norway, they set laws such that women represent a healthy portion of elected positions. Just imagine… In America, having a woman for president would be amazing. In a lot of ways, it’d be a sure sign of progress. But would American liberals be ecstatic over a Sarah Palin presidency? I’m skeptical. So why Clinton?
Well, maybe in part, it’s because the Whole Foods crowd doesn’t want to risk giving anything to the Piggly Wiggly crowd. In this historic election, let’s be frank: that would mean Monster Trump. We don’t want Monster Trump. But I don’t think that should preclude criticism.
Hillary Clinton supported Bill’s crime bill, calling young black men “superpredators” and leading to mass incarceration of black men, in particular; supported welfare reforms that hurt lots of poor people; supported NAFTA, which sent a lot of decent jobs overseas, leaving poor Americans in a much worse situation than they’d been in (Hello, Trump Supporters); and she supported the Iraq War and the war in Libya is often called “Hillary’s War.” It’s clear that Hillary hasn’t been kind to a lot of people who didn’t have much power. But Hillary has also been especially troublesome for women.
Before and after Bill became president, Hillary is said to have bullied the women that Bill is to have assaulted. Now, there were two “to haves” in that sentence, and I’ll get to that, but let’s stick with the program for now. Bill’s welfare reform was especially hard on poor women and children, as was the crime bill. Hillary supported a bankruptcy bill after she was informed by Elizabeth Warren that it’d be especially devastating to poor women and children. Abroad, Clinton has advocated for a dictator who was known to support Female Genital Mutilation (Mohamed Morsi) and a dictator who supported rape as a tool of war, as well as child soldiers (Paul Kagame).
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