A Reflection on an Echo of a Cartoon

Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos Comics, 3 January 2017.

To the one, winter is as winter does, and we should probably leave it at that. Nonetheless, a month later, Jen Sorensen’s point still echoes:

Hillary has certainly frustrated me at times over the years, but I came to admire her intelligence and poise over the course of this election cycle. Her performance at the debates with Trump was nothing short of heroic. She also ran on the most progressive Democratic platform ever, but since policy has become almost completely divorced from politics, she gets little credit for that. I could go on, but as my husband says, this was not so much an election as an exorcism, the culmination of a decades-long smear campaign by the right.

The term “political correctness” has been the cornerstone of conservative efforts to transform the ideas of civil rights and equality into something frivolous and stupid. The right loves plucking silly examples from obscure, powerless people and blowing them up into huge “culture war” issues that supposedly threaten the nation. “PC” is an insult that plays into their hands.

Along these same lines, “liberal elites”―long a Fox News favorite―is designed to shift attention away from the actual economic elites hoovering up the world’s wealth and resources, such as the Koch Brothers or Trump, and instead make one think of poodle-owning urbanites supposedly looking down their noses at everyone (while in reality voting to raise the minimum wage). It’s a frame, not a fact, and hides a deep anti-intellectual agenda.

We can always pick bones, but the question of how much Hillary has frustrated any of us is its own; to the one, it would be strange if a supporter was never frustrated with their candidate, but, to the other, it seems strange how important it was to go out of our way, each of us in our own according to social and familial custom, to acknowledge that point. It’s not quite like the time someone asked President Obama about whoever the hell it was that disrupted the Grammy Awards the night before, but nobody ever asked George W. Bush to answer jack shit on behalf of white people that way, but it seems people are expected to apologize for Hillary Clinton, and then justify their support within that framework, far more than we might for any other politician or candidate.

And while it is easy enough to joke about the idea that soon enough it will be really hard to find a Trump voter, given the number of Republicans, anti-Clintonistas who just happened to recite Trump talking points, and so on seem to be making the explicit point that they most didn’t―you know, somewhere between, really, I didn’t, and, I most certainly did not and what could ever make you think I would?―vote for Donald Trump, it is probably worth noting that our conservative neighbors don’t really bother with that kind of ritual.

And if I note an abstract irony having to do with a shudder-inducing phrase about women and the act of apologizing, can we just leave it at that, please? Because it’s true, I didn’t figure this out until way too late, and the fact that I’m not the only one really doesn’t offer any manner of comfort. Say what we will about Maureen and the Harridan Hunters, but after a quarter century spent apologizing for one of the smartest and most successful women on the planet, it was easy to just stay in the rhythm of hitting back against scandal and avoiding deeper, hopeless engagement while never really getting around to all those affirmative posts explaining why we shouldn’t be apologizing for Hillary Clinton.

There are reasons we wanted her to be president. The only apology I owe about that I should deliver to her personally on such occasion that I might both find myself for whatever strange reason in such proximity that I might do so and have figured out what the hell to say.


Image note: Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos Comics, 3 January 2017.

Sorensen, Jen. “Oddly Enough”. Daily Kos. 3 January 2017.

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