Enough. I've had enough. Enough of your whiny laments about Hillary Clinton. You thought you knew Hillary when the primary campaign began. You knew the sound of her voice and her laughter and you made up your mind that those things bothered you. You thought the way she smiled — or when she chose not to — told you a lot about her, but your sneers told us more about you. You decided that a lifetime devoted to politics had ruined Hillary, even when the only alternatives on the ballot were a man mired in politics for 30 years who never got anything done and a man who knew nothing about anything who spent a lifetime devoted to fraud.
Either you never knew or you never cared that Hillary polled higher than everyone else when the race began (yes, even higher than Bernie Sanders) but you sure loved to crow when a systematic take-down caused her popularity to dip. As soon as the media saw that picking Hillary apart got more viewers than lifting her up, we got an earful — from men our age, men older than us, men younger than us — eager to lecture us constantly about Hillary Clinton, didn't we? And it's still going on. It's the lecture that never ends. It spreads like a virus, sexually transmitted from dudebro to dudebro, so by now every manchild out there with a gripe against Hillary has added his voice to the giant monster that ate this election.
Men like these hate women like Hillary especially when those women attain positions of power. These men all say, "Oh, I'd vote for Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris." Sure, pal. Sure you would. Let's see what happens once they become actual threats. Right now you like them because you can frame them as plucky Frank Capra heroines but just wait until they actually start wielding real power and begin winning votes, or worse, "robbing" votes from your iconic male idols.
Now a new book Shattered has rushed to publication, attempting to vindicate perpetual crybabies like Bill Maher and others with 320 pages of breathless anecdotes about how Hillary screwed this thing up. TV personalities who make millions riling up crowds need easy explanations for their wisecracks and sound-bites because what if the real reason reveals something deeper and darker about the American identity?
Who wants to hear that? What if people cackling in bed at Fallon and Colbert were told the truth: that Trump won because too many immature simpletons couldn't feel cozy toward Hillary when she failed turn on the charm? What if one of the real reasons Democrats lost is because too many men don't think a women has any value after she's no longer sufficiently fuckable? What if it really was that several million voters were stupid enough to fall for the endless campaign waged against Hillary for the past 30 years? What then? The same male drones whose impulses are ruled by their reptilian brain stems instead of logic and reason were so intimidated by a woman in power that they voted for the dumbest, most vindictive, and criminally self-serving egomaniac in American presidential history. That sad fact is far too hard to swallow for viewers of late-night talk shows, so all the glib hosts go in for the easier, more palatable kill: "Hillary sure fucked it up!" — hoping we forget that their relentless mockery helped destroy her chances.
But enough is enough. We're sick of seeing men shrug off the part they payed in this debacle and try to lay the blame on the woman they savaged.The more asinine people like Bill Maher criticize Hillary Clinton the more of us will rise up to defend her. You see how that works? Yeah, and Chelsea too. Totally Chelsea. We're going to be all over Chelsea hashtags on Twitter, posting positive stories about her, hoping she runs for office just to watch the caterwauling white dudebros lose their shit.
Despite the near impossibility of electing two Democratic presidents in succession when the previous one leaves office (last time it happened? 1856) it did look like possibly the first woman might get elected and boy did that simple fact upset people. We weren't even allowed to be excited about it. Not even allowed to talk about it because it meant we were VOTING WITH OUR VAGINAS! How do you beat the first woman? Well you have to divide the women. And divide they did — on the right and the left.
Hillary knew she'd be getting it from the right worse than anyone has ever gotten it. But she couldn't have planned for the left's body blow. That she didn't see coming. Even Obama's campaign in 2008 wasn't near the brutal enmity she faced from Team Bernie. And of course, after her defeat eight years ago, she graciously stepped aside and worked as hard as humanly possible to bring her most ardent supporters over to Obama. In stark contrast, Bernie had to be put in a time-out up in the rafters at the convention in Philly, slumped in his seat with a pissed look on his face, pouting and egging on his malicious little monsters down below who did nothing but chant as viciously and stupidly as the Trump supporters. That is what happens when men have to lose to women. Now we know.
Why do we who still stand with Hillary like her so much? Because, despite the fabricated branding she got about dishonesty, Hillary did not lie to us. Laugh all you want but one of the reasons Hillary was always so careful and measured in what she said was the elegant prudence acquired from a lifetime of getting shit any time she misspoke. She learned never to write a check she couldn't cash.
But no one wanted to hear that. They needed someone like Trump to be what he always has been — a grandiose bullshitter. Just tell them what they want to hear, make them believe in something and you'll win. It doesn't matter what it is, or how realistic it is. And it doesn't matter if they hate you a year later, as the emo-progs did with Obama — just so long as you promise them shit. Lots and lots of free shit! Immigration shit. Jobs shit. Free college shit. Some of it is doable in like 20 years, some of it isn't. But the run for president in the television/internet era has become a joke. Now we know for sure it has nothing to do with experience or knowledge or how well you can actually govern. It only has to make voters FEEL something right here, right now. "Entertain me! Make me enjoy the reality show I'm watching."
And we really got to see a show, didn't we. Trump was the freak the media needed: half tycoon, half buffoon. Bernie was the scrappy cantankerous underdog, taking down the mighty Hillary. Oh, how the press and the public became invested in watching her fall. It got so bad that her supporters had to shrink away in secret Facebook groups, afraid to put bumper stickers on our cars or lawn signs in front of our homes — afraid for our reputations, afraid to be exiled from Coolsville, afraid because we were watching a real live witch hunt. Now we're all tuning in to watch the embers burn. It smells rotten.
The forces that elected Obama couldn't protect him from the opposition he faced. They didn't try. They just let him twist in the wind, their miracle worker who couldn't work miracles. When are we going to stop making excuses for the voters who really must step up to the plate but don't? They don't vote and then they whine about the choices those who voted do make.
Now the show is over. Flat balloons lie scattered in corners, there's some kind of sticky stuff on the floor, and all we can hear — in our heartbreak, in our despair, in our loneliness — is more white men yapping. They're yapping on the left, they're yapping on the right . Yap yap yap, as they did for an entire year.
All the journalists who very badly bungled their coverage of the election by chasing after salacious clickbait to keep their outlets alive in a time of intense competition, are now seeking to relieve themselves of the burden of guilt of having failed the American people. The book Shattered has quickly become their New Testament: see, it's right there in chapter 3, verses 10–13, "And lo, though the press erred mightily in judgment, Lord knows they did nothing wrong. Because, hark! Hear the uproar unceasing from every network. Suspended like damnable turds in the firmament above were her eternal emails." Yes, the journalists have written the first of many books to absolve themselves of their sins. "She was just a bad candidate. Her campaign was shitty. See, we were right all along. And we made lots and lots of money off of it. Witch hunts sell. Prepare for more."
So I'm here to tell you Bernie Sanders supporters and Trump supporters and anyone else out there trying to finish the job you started on Hillary that we're not going away. Many keep wondering why we are still defending Hillary Clinton. As poor conflicted Andrew Sullivan recently spat out, why do we "feel sorry" for her. The answer is simple: we love her. I'll say it again — we love Hillary Clinton. Why? Because she stood up for all the things we believed were worth fighting for. Because she stood up to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and Bernie Sanders and the journalists and politicians who have been accusing her of all manner of corruption since the day she became Bill Clinton's wife. And before that even.
Anyone who honestly researches Hillary will find that 90% of the accusations against her are flat out hysteria — mass hysteria. Like Goodie Proctor back in Salem-level hysteria. So why did she keep coming back, I wondered. Oh, Bill Maher and his band of brothers likely thought, "she's just ambitious." But it was more than that. She's a fighter. She was never going to stop unless they found a way to stop her, and it's our country's greatest loss that she was stopped.
So I look at her and I see a hero. I look at her and see someone who took it and took it and took it and then took it some more. I also see someone who gave a speech on women's rights as human rights, someone who had to swallow a lot of nonsense from arrogant pricks to try to pass universal healthcare back in the '90s. I see a woman who got out there anyway, despite our culture's utter rejection of how she looks, what she wears, how she laughs. Most of us just want to zip it up and shut it down, but Hillary? She spent her life defying the built-in endgame for women.
And even now, when the power has been handed over 100% to the Republicans, when our democracy is threatened, our future, the environment and all living things on it — the attacks on Hillary can't stop. Like an unhealthy domestic partnership, the reckless cruelties just keep coming and coming and coming. Enough. We saw her humiliated, dehumanized, criticized, ripped apart, and virtually burned at the stake, while the townspeople pointed and laughed, drooling all the while for the deliciousness of the take-down.
Hillary's movement remains strong. No, some of our core principles are not ever going to be enough to woo the white working class males or the still whipped-up Sanders supporters. But there are millions of us out there who love Hillary and admire her and feel fired up and inspired because of her. I pity the candidate who dismisses us. You will never win. You will always lose. We outnumber you by tens of millions. We are loyal Democratic men and women of all ethnicities and backgrounds, the Obama coalition and the Hillary coalition have come together and we make up the ever-reliable base of the real Democratic Party. We're ready to work, ready to be enthusiastic and we are so very done with your blame-slinging bullshit.
They said exactly the same thing in 1972, about the Democrats being out of touch with the people, only Richard Nixon said it and he was great at manipulating the narrative. Democrats are falling for every trick in the book right now, outsmarted every step of the way by the billionaires backing Trump. Buckling under this hysteria is a perfect example of that. It's like the last scene in Jaws where Quint has been eaten by the shark, and they have to go with Hooper's dumb idea of getting in the shark cage ("You go in the cage, cage goes in the water, shark in the water. Our shark. Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies…")
What we're doing now is trying to mirror Trump, to find OUR version of Trump, a populist, working-class hero. But we'll bungle it like we did in '72, chasing an ideology that makes the most noise but doesn't cover enough of the bases. But go ahead and fall for it. McGovern lost every state but Massachusetts. Maybe we can aim to beat that record.
You want Hillary, and now Chelsea, to go away? We don't. We want to continue to listen to her and all Democrats who are there day in and day out working for the people not chasing the spotlight. We value her wisdom and her experience. Shame on the media for its treatment of her. Shame on the hard left for its dismissal of her, shame on the worst of America gathered in stadiums wearing t-shirts that said "Trump that bitch," in a room full of men and women whose right arms were itching to stiffen to Sieg Heil! Whose dubious erections wriggled slightly every time they chanted, "Lock her up, lock her up," joining an invisible hand with the Bernie supporters who chanted "She's a liar, she's a liar," as though it was decided then and there. Mob rule.
You can take the people out of Salem but you can't take Salem out of the people.
History will treat Hillary Clinton kindly despite all of that, and in ten years' time the only thing anyone will remember about this election was that it took a village — with torches and pitchforks — to bring down Hillary Clinton, the first woman who should have been president.
This article appeared in Medium on April 23, 2014
April 24, 2017