A feminist reflects on Hillary Clinton


(State Department Photo/Public Domain)

In a University of Massachusetts Amherst English class the other day, we were discussing the politics of Ntozake Shange’s poetry. As I shared my opinion on the reading, I was interrupted by a male in the group.

He apologized, saying he did not mean to interrupt me. He stopped himself and gave me space to speak.

The night before, I watched Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump interrupt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton 51 times during the first presidential debate.

I watched as this man completely ignored the rules and said whatever he pleased.

A college-aged male apologized to me in a classroom, but a presidential candidate could not shut up on a debate stage for 90 minutes.

This is telling.

According to CBS, a record 81.4 million  people tuned in Monday night and witnessed a qualified politician share the stage with a misogynistic businessman. Mr. Trump has little to no political experience, but he does have an impressive legacy of screwing people over.

Feminists took to Twitter during the debate.

Clinton, the first female presidential candidate of a major party to take the debate stage, deserved a better candidate standing next to her.

I was a Bernie Sanders supporter before the Democratic National Convention in July, and like many Sanders supporters, I was skeptical of Clinton. 

Though she may not be Sanders, I agree with President Barack ObamaClinton is qualified to be the next president of the United States.

She spent eight years in the U.S. Senate, on the Armed Services Committee. She served on committees that focused on the environment, children and health, and was nominated by President Obama to serve as secretary of state in 2009.

Trump was questioned about a statement he made saying Clinton “doesn’t have the stamina” to be president. Clinton came back with the perfect response.

“As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee he can talk to me about stamina,” Clinton said.

Many saw the debate as a complete disaster, but Clinton made some good points.

Unfortunately, many of the issues that millennial voters care about — like climate change, student debt and social inequality — were not touched on by either candidate.

When asked during the debate about how she would deal with racial tensions, Clinton took the opportunity to respond.

“I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police,” Clinton said.

She also spoke about the need for prison reform and praised the end of private prisons. Though Clinton called young black males “super-predators” in 1996, she has since apologized for the statement.

For many Americans, Clinton is not their first choice. Only nine percent of the population voted for Trump and Clinton during the presidential primaries, according to The New York Times.

Regardless, she is qualified and ready for the job of president.

“I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did,” Clinton said, “You know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.”

Her past is not perfect and she is not the perfect candidate, but Clinton deserves your serious reconsideration. She did a wonderful job remaining calm and collected on that debate stage, calling Trump out for his lies when necessary.

Not to say Clinton got everything right, but at least she knew what she was talking about.

Clinton told the audience that Trump made unwarranted harmful comments about 1996 Miss Universe Pageant winner Alicia Machado. He called her “Miss Piggy” for her weight gain and “Miss Housekeeping” because of her race. Though Trump questioned Clinton on her sources, a simple fact check shows Trump did say those things.

Do we really want a president who shames women for their weight? A president who calls women “pigs,” or “slobs” or “dogs,” and who says he believes “women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men?”

I sure hope not.

What does it mean for our entire country when we sit and watch this man get away with destructive, oppressive behavior and speech?

If anything, the debate captured what professional women deal with in their everyday lives. The must tolerate the lies and insults of a less qualified male co-worker and maintain their composure.

Trump is allowed to display emotions of disgust and discontent openly, but women are perceived as too emotional if they do the same.

Trump seems to flex every ounce of white male privilege he has. On the other hand, Clinton was criticized for being too prepared for the debate.

She is the most scrutinized politician in our country. It seems like she can never win.

To me, Trump’s violent language that alluded to a harsher police state was foreboding. He used phrases such as “law and order,” when asked about how he would deal with the racial tensions today.

Watching Clinton last week felt like a heartbreak and a triumph. Electing the first female president will not solve all our gender inequality issues, much like how electing Obama as the first African-American president did not solve institutionalized racism.

But for women who have been told that they are too sensitive, who have been interrupted during conversations or have been complimented in a way that made them feel uncomfortable — Clinton’s rise to the top is for you.

It is time to change our perception of power. Electing our first female president is a good start.

Email Carson at cmcgrath@umass.edu or follow her on Twitter @McgrathCarson.

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