What Happened: Hillary Rodham Clinton

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“I did not want to be President because I want power for power’s sake.  I wanted power to do what I could to help solve problems and prepare the country for the future.”

In the book “What Happened” Hillary Clinton analyzes the recent election and herself.  The book feels personal and vulnerable. It is fascinating.

Hillary Clinton dissects the moments culminating in her race for the presidency and her loss. She admits that she fought the election on shifting ground. “I was running a traditional presidential campaign with carefully thought-out policies… while Trump was running a reality TV show…. I was giving speeches… He was ranting on Twitter. Democrats were playing by the rules… Republicans were throwing out the rule book.”

What resonated with me was her analysis of sexism:

Donald Trump didn’t invent sexism, and its impact on our politics goes far beyond this one election… Sexism is all the big and little ways that society draws a box around women and says, ‘You stay in there’. Don’t complain because nice girls don’t do that. Don’t try be something women shouldn’t be. Don’t wear that, don’t go there, don’t think that, don’t earn too much. …

Misogyny is something darker. Its rage. Disgust. Hatred… Just look at Twitter replies when a woman voices a political opinion, people hiding in the shadows step forward just far enough to rip her apart.

If we’re too tough, we’re unlikeable. If we’re too soft, we’re not cut out for the big leagues… If we want to compete for a higher office, we’re too ambitious…

Think about how often you’ve heard words used about women who lead: angry, strident, feisty, difficult, irritable, bossy, brassy, emotional, abrasive, high-maintenance, ambitious, [nasty].

Hillary Clinton refers to data on likability and success. The more successful a man is, the more likeable he is. The more successful a woman is, the less likeable she is.

I would like to end this post with a quote from 1992. Originally this statement had been controversial. Hillary Clinton implied that she regretted saying it. But in 2016, a few days before the election, Beyonce and Jay-Z helped her reclaim a comment from 1992. “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was pursue my profession.”

 

(Views are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization.)

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