In the same week that St. Bernard of the Snows FINALLY acknowledged reality and dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary (sort of, and if he rat fucks us AGAIN I will NOT be held responsible for my actions), I finally sat down to watch Hulu’s four-part documentary on Hillary Clinton.
Short version: It’s excellent.
Slightly longer version: You should watch it, too, if you haven’t already.
The format is simple: she – and others (Bill, Chelsea, her friends and supporters, campaign staff, several journalists) – are interviewed about various key periods in her life, with supporting video footage of key moments.
- Part one covers her girlhood and young adult years.
- Part two covers her time as first lady – of Arkansas and then the United States.
- Part three gets into her decision to run for office herself, first as Senator from New York, then as president in 2008.
- Part four is about the 2016 campaign and the aftermath, although the 2016 campaign is also pervasive throughout the other episodes.
Even after all this time, it still astonishing to me that a woman – THE FIRST WOMAN to win the presidential nomination of a major political party in our ENTIRE history – who was one of the public faces of the feminist movement for decades, who invested her career in fighting for the rights of the under-represented and marginalized, got cast as the centrist voice of the establishment by a dude who’s accomplished basically jack shit other than grifting a bunch of $27 donations and renaming a goddamn post office in his nearly 80 years on this planet AND PEOPLE BOUGHT IT.
Patriarchy is a hell of a drug.
Does she cast a METRIC SHIT TON of shade on Bernie Sanders? Hell, yes – he earned it.
Does she cast a METRIC SHIT TON of shade on James Comey? Hell, yes – and he earned it, too.
Does she apologize to Monica Lewinsky? Uh, no. Why in god’s name should that be on her?
(Let me also remind people that we are looking at a relationship that took place in 1998 through the lens of 2020. Even if Monica pursued Bill, was there an abuse of power there? Did he have a moral responsibility – even beyond the issue of having an affair – to say no? Well, sure, but we mostly lacked the analytical framework to see it that way more than 20 years ago.)
Does it become CRYSTAL clear that she was right, all those years ago, about a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” that she faced the Sisyphean task of pushing the boulder of equal rights for women up an infinite mountain of male privilege and supremacy every single day of her life, and that she just got up every morning, put on her pantsuit, and did it?
We had to watch it one ~60 minute episode per night because it so enraged my spouse that he couldn’t deal with more than that in one sitting.
Me? Well, having the advantage of being, you know, MYSELF, in a patriarchal, deeply misogynist society for nearly five decades, I reacted much more…calmly. “Yep, I recognize that. And that. And that. Damn, Hillary and I have a LOT in common. You know, other than her being WAY smarter and more accomplished than I could ever hope to be.”
Which illuminated something for me.
I was #TeamKamala until she dropped out. Then I was #TeamElizabeth until she dropped out. And now I’m #RidinWithBiden, and I’ll get into it, eventually. Damn it, if Anita Hill can move on, so can I.
While I was sad and pissed when both of my preferred candidates ended their runs, it didn’t feel as deeply personal as when Hillary lost the primary in 2008 and then the 2016 debacle.
Because, even though she’s about 20 years older than I am, I see so much of myself in her – or her in me. Whichever. So it WAS personal when she lost. It was a direct rejection of the parts of myself I am most proud of by my fellow citizens. And that hurts like hell.
I’m young enough that, barring an accident or bad luck with the coronavirus, I’m likely to live to see the first female president. And, on that day, I’ll pop the champagne and dance and shout for joy.
But in my heart, I’ll know: it should’ve been her.
Image found here.
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