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Hillary Clinton is Not Getting the Credit She Deserves

            Let’s face it: someone had to run against Trump and whoever the candidate was, was surely in for it.  Hillary Clinton deserves massive amounts of respect for having to deal with Trump so much and have live debates with him.  Have you ever argued with someone so irrational and stubborn that it feels like they’ve maybe… built a brick wall around themself?  Well, that’s what Hillary has had to deal with constantly.  I mean, he literally shouts “wrong” into the mic while she’s speaking, interrupts and talks over her constantly, makes outlandish and false remarks, name calls, and uses the ol’ bait-and-switch.  As media professor Vicki Metz states, “with Trump, anything goes.  Any kind of mudslinging becomes fair game.”  Can you imagine going up to that?

              Although the exact number is disputed, Trump interjected while Hillary was speaking upwards of 35 times during the first presidential debate.  By the second debate, his campaign manager must have coached him into holding back no more than 18 interruptions.  Clinton rang in with an astounding one, and even then did she apologize and say “I hate to interrupt, but…”  Suffice to say, Trump has neither apologized nor given a segue into his interruptions, à la Kanye style.  Genesis, an intern in the Women’s Center at SUNY Old Westbury, says that Clinton has managed to stay “dignified” throughout the debate process.  She points out that Trump has been “petulant” in complaining about the amount of speaking time he got in the last debate, especially considering Trump clocked in at 40 minutes and ten seconds and Clinton at 39 minutes and five seconds. Boo hoo!

              In addition to this, Trump often scoffs at things Hillary says and shrugs them off, not taking her seriously.  This forces me to beg the question… Would he dare treat a male opponent in such a way?  I strongly doubt it.  Twitter has blown up with opposition to this as well.  Elisabeth Van Every, who works in volunteer support at a non-profit organization in Seattle, had a tweet of hers go viral when she wrote, “To the men amazed Clinton hasn’t snapped: Every woman you know has learned to do this.  This is our life in this society.”  Elisabeth shared with me her belief that HRC is held to a different standard in terms of the public and the media.  As men, Trump and even Bill Clinton can get away with being “ambitious, calculating, and grandiose.”  Trump has blatantly gotten away with appalling behaviors that no experienced politician has ever endeavored.  Many supporters even make excuses for it!  Must be nice.

              “That concept was the core of my tweet that went viral: Women simply don’t have the luxury of letting loose in public settings, because we’ll be judged as crazy, overreacting, or bitchy- and we’ll be penalized for it,” Every stated. 

              Even at her calmest and most poised, Hillary is criticized for not being warm and maternal and living up to other societal stereotypes of women.  Professor Chipley of SUNY Old Westbury attributes this in part to Trump’s efforts to put others, often times minorities, “in their place.”  Just as he tried to exclude President Obama with his “birther” conspiracies, Trump attempts to depreciate women by putting emphasis on their “aesthetic, sexual, and maternal roles,” Chipley notes. 

              As far as the mass media pinning a “likeability and sincerity problem” on Clinton, Professor Chipley blames the patriarchal lens that our society uses to evaluate leadership.  Again, women are not praised for being authoritative and “unapologetic.” 

              And then there are those “aesthetic” components to which many criticize Hillary on.  As Genesis says, “it matters what she’s saying, not what she’s wearing.”  Professor Metz brings up the constant discussion about what she’s wearing, the pantsuits, and the jewelry or lack thereof that she is wearing.  “She is under the microscope more, but why should any of that matter?,” Metz wonders. 

            Metz expresses frustration in that neither of the candidates have been granted ample time to talk about the real issues.  She is more concerned with war-torn countries, the rate of unemployment, issues of race and veterans.  “I could list ten things I’d like to see addressed and instead they’re wasting time,” she says.

            With the third and final debate quickly approaching, many anticipate that issues of healthcare, immigration, and the Supreme Court will arise.  This will be difficult in the wake of a week’s worth of “locker room talk” tapes being released and more women stepping forward with sexual assault allegations against Trump.  This time around, we look forward to Hillary not being stalked intimidatingly on stage by Trump, which painted him as an absolutely “foreboding character,” according to Metz.  Whether he did it intentionally or inadvertently, it was certainly telling.  Hillary deserves to get through an entire debate without being assaulted with memories of her husband’s infidelity, a low-blow that intern Genesis feels was simply an attack to “hit her where it hurts most.”  Hopefully the debate at the University of Nevada will be a chance for HRC to exhibit the extensive and thorough policies she has planned and is always prepared to speak about, despite being given the opportunity.  If she is given the chance to campaign and debate as any man would, the final presidential debate will also serve as a giant leap forward for the equality and equal representation that we as women deserve and that will only be hindered by Donald Trump.

            So while your playing the debate drinking game of your choice this Wednesday, raise your glass to women, to Hillary, and to the fact that she’s made it out of debate season unscathed, on top, and with grace.  When Michelle Obama said “when they go low, we go high,” she was also referring to our glasses.

 

 

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Deirdre Bardolf

Old Westbury

"With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?" Student, 22. Long Island
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