A frightening thing happened in the United States last week: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested that ESPN should fire Jemele Hill, a sportscaster, because she tweeted that the president is a white supremacist. Then Sanders said in her own defense, “I’m not the one making outrageous comments” as if reminding people that the president is, indeed, a racist and supports white supremacists is outrageous. People all over the country flipped out because an American – not the first to do this, and certainly not the last – exercised her freedom of speech and commented on an obvious trait/flaw of the current president. The problem isn’t that the president is a racist. No, the problem is that a black woman mentioned it.
What have we come to? How can we keep sinking lower? Is there no bottom to this pit?
Meanwhile, the winner of the popular vote in the election for president, the first female presidential nominee ever, a woman with more than thirty years of experience serving America in politics, released a book. How dare her?!
All week, I’ve been reading articles tearing down every bit of the book, when it was released, why her book is wrong, where HRC is doing signings and interviews, why she is wrong, and every fucking thing wrong with her, what she says, how she says it, what she wears, what she probably thinks, etc. Oh, and everyone has an opinion about if she should go away.
Fuck them. She belongs here. She’s earned her spot here more than most, and most of us chose her. She has some lessons for us, and we need to listen.
That’s not the point of this post, though. My point is we are opening our ugly, ignorant mouths and generously sharing our ugly, ignorant opinions with anyone who’ll give us enough time to shit them out, and then we’re getting inordinately upset when people point out our hypocrisy, our bigotry, and our misogyny as we tell everyone our truth. Nevermind the actual hypocrisy/bigotry/misogyny; how dare you point it out to me?!
My heart breaks as I listen to women go on and on about what Hillary Clinton must be thinking, how everything is wrong about her, how she reacts, her appearance, how she sounds, her timing. . . and then after they’ve thoroughly torn down this female (contradicting themselves all through it) in a way they would never do a man, their feelings get hurt when I ask if they’d stop with the misogynistic comments and maybe think about if the problem is Hillary Clinton or if maybe they’re just not a democrat. I ask them to be fair. How dare I?!
Bernie Sanders wrote a book, too – why aren’t we furious at him and telling him to fuck right off? tearing down everything he says, the way he says it, his dialect, his hair, his clothes, his age, his spouse, what we assume he thinks, everything he’s done wrong since he applied to college, etc.? freaking out about him butting in to throw a wrench into the Democrats’ plans for their candidate? He’s not a democrat, and their party didn’t owe him dick. Why are we blaming the divisive things Bernie’s said and done on HRC?
Since the elections, Americans are beginning to notice that the country’s racism never ended, not after the Civil War, not even with the Civil Rights Movement. We’re starting to truly understand what Black Lives Matter is, why it exists, why it still NEEDS to exist. We look around and see other people making terrible comments about minorities, about women, about our LGBTQ friends, about religions, and we call that out, yet when someone else reminds us we’re doing it, too, we ignore them or we are offended. How are we ever going to make progress on civil rights and unlearn our bigotry if we won’t fucking look at it? admit it? OWN it? Why should someone listen to us and learn from us pointing out their mistakes if we won’t notice and learn from our own mistakes?
Women are literally saying stuff like they didn’t like Hillary because “she seemed clueless that middle America hated her guts.” When did Hillary Rodham Clinton ever “seem clueless?” I’m being serious here. She knew a lot of people hated her, and she knew why. She knew of the years of propaganda that got into all of our heads (mine, too – I had to fight it, to dig in and research to find out what was true and what wasn’t). She knew some wouldn’t vote for her because she’s a woman. Candidates know some won’t like them. They all know. Why is it important for her to acknowledge to you that she knows some people won’t vote for her no matter what. Would you care if it was a man who you decided seemed clueless about who “hates his guts?” No. The same person that Hillary Rodham is in a male body would be described as experienced, decisive, and confident. Pretend it’s not true to make you feel better for making a misogynistic comment, but that won’t change facts.
We’re acknowledging that she’s been used as a punching bag, and that she was right about pretty much everything, and then we’re getting upset that she won’t go quietly into the night. Again, she’s earned her spot. The problem isn’t her. It’s us. We are letting people punch at her, blame her for everything from divisiveness to Democratic party leadership to bad hair days when it’s not on her. When someone is made out to be a patsy, you don’t make them leave; you grab the guilty party by the scruff and punish him.
“Hillary acted entitled.” No, she didn’t. She expected what she had earned: respect. She’s done the work, and she’s put in the time. She’s made mistakes, she owns them, she learns, and she moves on. If I study law and work my ass off for 30 years, serve faithfully as First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, etc. then I expect the respect I have earned and a bit of your time to listen to my proposal as one of your candidates for president. Mitt Romney acts entitled. Donald Trump acts entitled. Who’s whining about them? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Love the “Hillary took money from corporate interests.” Again, seriously? EVERY politician accepts bribes, I mean “contributions,” from corporate interests. That’s how we do it here. I’m not saying it’s right; I’m saying that using that as a reason to disparage a person’s character as if she’s the only one is just plain stupid. In the next breath these women are appalled that I would suggest they need to take a moment, read their own post again, and give some thought to if HRC was a man. They are actually saying, right after they pick apart something they completely made up and attributed to HRC, that “they treated the candidates equally.”
Why are we so much more upset about someone saying a racist is a racist than we are about the person being a racist? Why are we so much more upset about someone saying a sexist is a sexist than we are about the person being sexist?
The first step is admitting you have a problem, and America we have a problem. The fix starts with us. With me. With you. Look in the mirror, read your comments, and be honest with yourself. We hear it. Why won’t you?
If right now you are thinking “this doesn’t apply to me, because I’m not a racist” or “I’m not a sexist,” then grab your mirror, cupcake; 99.99% chance YOU are a problem because we all are to greater or lesser degrees. Take the first step.
Link: “Hillary, I love you. But please go away” – by Melissa Batchelor Warnke at Los Angeles Times
Link: “America’s vitriol towards Clinton reveals a nation mired in misogyny” – by Hadley Freeman at The Guardian
Link: “Hillary Clinton’s “coal gaffe” is a microcosm of her twisted treatment by the media” – by David Roberts at Vox