A Letter to My Granddaughter
I read your sad texts to your grandma.
“How can the most qualified woman lose to the least qualified man?” you asked. It breaks my heart that you must live with this. I know this seems to you to be a cruel blow to all women. The country chose that deeply flawed, unqualified man simply because his opponent was a woman. But can I try to tell you where I feel that there was more to Hillary’s defeat than pure male arrogance, and that most of the country didn’t reject a woman’s talents and ambitions simply because she was a woman?
This was certainly part of it and, like Obama’s being black, it was an underlying emotion framing many people’s reaction to her. But there was more to it than that. Let me explain and maybe make it less painful and personal for you.
First, in recent times, the title of “politician” has become a derogatory term in America. If you are a politician you are dishonest. You are guilty of accepting graft. You don’t look after anyone’s interests but your own. And if you have been at it for a while you are an “insider.” One of the core group of crooks.
Hillary has 30 years of experience in government administration, legislation and diplomacy. She is very experienced and qualified. But that could also be sold as her being guilty of 30 years of crooked insider dealing. In both the primaries and the election her opponents painted her this way. It was a picture that fitted many voters’ preconceived template. An easy sell.
Most of America saw Hillary as flawed and secretive. Hillary does guard her privacy. She has been investigated and smeared by the right wing for 30 years. She has had every part of her private and personal life questioned and sensationalized by the media. They have repeated all the lies and cockamamie conspiracy theories cooked up by the people who hate and fear her. The more they all snoop the more she becomes guarded. The more guarded she becomes the more the media report her as secretive.
Secondly, she was a victim of circumstances beyond her control and often in the control of those who wished her ill. The Russians hacked her emails and those of the Democratic National Committee and released them at crucial times through WikiLinks. The media jumped onto the scoops with no regard to their source, importance or consequences. What the e-mails showed was ordinary party politics. Political parties’ sausage-making. Nothing new, nothing nefarious. But we saw only the Democrats doing it. Putin saw to that.
Then, the FBI rekindled the “scandal” of her using her private servers (like her two predecessors did) by announcing the discovery of new e-mails — 10 days before the election. Then two days before the election they said “oops, sorry” which didn’t stop Trump from continuing to use this old news to “expose” her as a crook at his rallies. The rallies were doggedly covered by the media who also in the two-day run-up to the voting kept on running his dark sinister commercials declaring these “new e-mails” would send her to jail.
While canvassing, I found that to all those who were doubtful about Hillary this last-minute evidence was the topper.
The Hillary campaign decided not to even mention the FBI’s “oops sorry” these last two days. People would read or hear about it. Why even bring it up? Meanwhile Trump harped on it in his rallies and the dark fearful commercials kept on playing over and over on TV. Everybody reads the papers or listens to the news, right?
Mostly, people were misinformed. They took the media’s word that both candidates were equally unpopular, equally flawed. Many Republicans and religious people voted for that equally flawed person who would appoint the Supreme Court Justices they wanted. Others wanted someone who said he would just fix things. No details, just fix it.
But there are more strong, qualified women out there coming. There are more elections coming. There are more informed people who care and they are already here — like you, Liz.
Jack Robinson is a resident of Piqua and past contributing columnist for the Daily Call.