I used to watch Roller Derby when I was a boy. The fastest skaters would race out ahead trying to lap the pack, and if they did, their teammates would work to pick off the opposing skaters with body slams and worse, so that the speedster could pass them and score a point. Pass four skaters, get four points. Meanwhile, if the opposing team’s speedsters were approaching to try scoring some points of their own, the lead skater on your team could pop his or her hands down crisply on their hips and thereby “call off the jam.” This would end that particular play, with all the skaters then cruising a few laps before the referee started the next play.
I’ve found “calling off the jam” a handy metaphor ever since, both for my own private distempers and for larger public activities and conflicts when it struck me that we would all benefit if the main antagonists could only place their hands on their hips and go cruise a few laps in peace.
And Good Golly Miss Molly, could we ever benefit from calling off the jam in the matter of Hillary Clinton.
Has there been a more vilified, paranoia-inducing figure in modern American history than this former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and Democratic nominee for president?
I suddenly realized, I think, how sick I was of the absurd claim that Hillary is some kind of leftist radical trying to suck the soul out of America, rather than what she really is: a true middle-of-the-road, incremental and cautious mainstream Democrat.
And while I was certainly aware of this seemingly over-the-top hatred of her, I’m not sure I quite grasped its depth, nor its level of bile, almost none of it in a jokey manner or tone. When I typed “Hillary-Satan” into my search bar hoping to find a few images exhibiting what could rightfully be called “Hillary Derangement Syndrome,” I was dismayed to find pages and pages of horrible manufactured images depicting her as a Satan-worshipper, Satan him-herself, a vampire, a sexual deviant. Admittedly, I had not much perused the kinds of websites that were producing this vileness en masse not only throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, but for many years before.
No, Hillary hatred is of another order, although it’s not too unlike Obama hatred, come to think of it.
I wonder what that could be about.
And the issue doesn’t reflect on only the far-right fringe. Surely you notice many Democrats who actually voted for her starting off every response to a conversation about her ever since with variations on, “Of course she was a flawed candidate,” or “I was never a big fan of hers, but…”
So: She was a flawed candidate with a track record? Who had made some mistakes in her long career in public service? Maybe tried to cover her behind a time or two? Couldn’t summon enough animal spirits to deliver a stemwinder of a speech?
Glad no other politicians have ever exhibited the same.
Still, if you’re a Democrat who thought she ran a crappy campaign or just lacked some essential human connection that would have otherwise inspired voters to flock to the polls on her behalf, fine. That’s not what is at issue here.
What we’re talking about is the vicious, scurrilous, red-faced vilification that her legions of severe detractors have directed toward her over decades, the sum total of which has been able to paint her with great success as some kind of radical extremist, wait, no, even worse than that: a radical feminist.
Here’s a quickie I wrote earlier today on a friend’s Facebook post that was discussing Trump and quickly turned into tiresome ripostes from Trump supporters playing the old “What about Hillary?” card, which in turn engendered “We’re not talking about Hillary here” responses from Trump detractors:
And actually, I’d LIKE to talk about Hillary, in order to properly pillory her for being such a socialist-commie-leftist radical as to espouse loony-tunes causes such as health care for all (suck it up, ya bunch of sissies!), protecting the environment (trees, phhhsawww!), professional diplomacy (yack, yack, yack!!) and trying to deny even more & higher tax cuts for our wealthy friends (and hard-working job creators!). Clearly, she should move to Russia…
All right, so it’s a little wise-ass—sorry.
Reading my friend’s Facebook thread, I suddenly realized, I think, how sick I was of the absurd claim that Hillary is some kind of leftist radical trying to suck the soul out of America, rather than what she really is: a true middle-of-the-road, incremental and cautious mainstream Democrat informed by her history and her utterly conventional Christian faith (Methodist, not the Church of Satan) that commands her to seek justice, be civil, tend to the poor, and be good stewards of the earth.
How dare she espouse such Satanic socialist views in our tender democracy?
So again: what’s with the vehemence, the demonization, the seemingly irrational hatred Hillary inspires?
Her husband, after all, presided over a remarkable expansion of the American economy while governing in business-friendly ways and enacting significant reforms to the welfare system that did not sit well with the traditional Democratic left. And there was no reason, given Hillary’s track record, to think she would preside in much—if any—different fashion.
So wherefrom the hatred? Wasn’t because of her lack of a penis, was it?
In various business meetings over the years in a variety of settings, I couldn’t help but notice, as the data on such things show in volumes and volumes, that men did more of the talking, tended to push harder for their points of view than women did, and, when faced with a woman who asked hard questions or negotiated with some degree of insistence and ruthlessness, the meeting post-mortems would often engender the classic phrase, “What a bitch!”
In business, a man who holds his ground is tough, and just being a good negotiator. Women doing the same are “bitches.”
This reality is so commonplace in the business world that it borders on cliche.
Of course, it’s not like that in the political world or wider culture.
Not at all…
Truly, Hillary Clinton’s main problem, whatever character deficiencies or policy shortfalls she may have presented to any person observing her from their own subjective perch over the years, is that she is a woman, and a trailblazing one at that. (Just as the trailblazing Barack Obama’s main problem was the color of his skin. Could anything be clearer today, in this post-Charlottesville world?)
A smart, ambitious, shrewd, competent woman, and nobody’s fool.
And still hacking through a wilderness of misogyny that keeps the powder of its most violent resistance dry for those who would most directly challenge it by seeking to become the most influential person in the world.
Anyone think this resistance is only about Hillary?
Well, here comes that bitch Elizabeth Warren.
And Nancy Pelosi, we know, has always been a bitch.
Kamala Harris, used to playing the prosecutor’s role and rolling over for no one, ever?
She may be the baddest bitch of all. And she’s black, to boot.
If she ever gets anywhere near presidential contention, that fact ought to get her devil horns growing at twice the rate that Hillary’s ever did.
Who else, on this day? R.I.P. Queen of Soul…
Deep appreciation to the photographers! Unless otherwise stated, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing.
Elizabeth Haslam, whose photos (except for the books) grace the rotating banner at top of page.
Library books photo by Larry Rose, all rights reserved, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roller Derby photo by Eli Christman, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gammaman/
Hillary devil poster from the public domain.
Jesus and Satan wrestling was an ad produced by Russian intelligence services that ran on various social media during the 2016 campaign.