‘What is America’s problem with Hillary Clinton?’ This is a thought that has been running through my head for a few months now. Maybe my naïve, British thinking brain cannot quite comprehend how there could possibly be any overly negative depictions of her when she has an opposition quite as hideous as Donald Trump. So I decided to investigate.
It can’t possibly be her CV. Graduate of Wellesley College- third best liberal arts college in the US- and then of Yale University. Senator of New York, 2001-09, she supported bills which were both political and social. So yes, she has experience. Check. She supported going into Afghanistan in 2001- something which certainly attracted negative attention. But she was also key in ensuring ‘Purple Heart Day’, which supports American soldiers and their families. Furthermore, she was senator during 9/11 and was proactive in upping the city’s security and helping to rebuild after the devastation. She subsequently ran for Democrat nominee in 2008, losing of course to current President (and perhaps the coolest guy in politics) Barack Obama.
So where could the controversy begin? Her role as Secretary of State brought opportunities for her to shine and also raised some awkward questions especially with regards to attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. A terrorist organization attacked the base killing the US Ambassador to Libya and three other CIA and US defence agents: Clinton took responsibility for their deaths which she attributed to poor security within the base. Trump and most conservative media use Benghazi as a point of reference: Trump has actually invited one of the victims’ mother to the third and final debate in an attempt to rattle his opponent. Further scandal surrounded Clinton when it was revealed she’d sent state official emails through her personal account. No doubt the awkward phases of Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State compensates for some of the negativity, but I feel that it perhaps lies deeper than that.
I’ve seen nothing about the Hillary Doctrine, a proposed law which requests violence against women to be a matter of national security- unless of course you think about those who call her a ‘feminazi’. Similarly, she was in charge of the department who carried out the assassination of Osama bin Laden, a fact that even I forgotten. In a country which has a 20% pay gap between males and females; where on average 3 women a day are killed by a man known to them, what does it say about America’s attitude towards women? I’ve seen her called a ‘bitch’, a ‘feminist’ and even once a meme asked if a woman could run the country when she has her menstrual cycle. Perhaps Hillary’s problem doesn’t lie with her faults and weaknesses, it seems to me that it may also lie with her gender.
It would be silly to not consider the impact of Hillary’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. His notorious affair and other sexual assault allegations which led to his impeachment has been a shadow over her campaign, used against her in the tackiest of ways: Trump has invited three women who accused Bill of sexual assault to the front row of the third debate. This has definitely been an issue for Clinton and it has been used against her repeatedly for cheap shots. There has been little attention to the fact that Trump has been accused of rape multiple times, is a serial adulterer, sexist, racist, homophobe and misogynist- until recently anyway. Clinton has her faults but so does every candidate. Perhaps if social media considered properly what life would be like with Trump, they’d be a little less critical.
–By Harriet Stocker