History's Greatest Monster

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Over the weekend, it was reported that billionaire liberal funder George Soros donated $6 million to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton.

Naturally, this has launched a million ships sailing with the "Establishment Candidate!" banner. That Soros donated to Clinton is PROOF! that she is the establishment candidate.

(Unlike Bernie Sanders, whose campaign is also being fueled by super PAC money, despite popular beliefs to the contrary.)

This is a perfect example of how "establishment" functions as misogynist shorthand. Because "leading Democratic contender gets huge donation from liberal funder" isn't really all that scandalous.

It's only when it's stuffed inside the framing that Clinton, a woman running for an office which has never been held by a woman, is emblematic of the establishment that has disallowed female officeholders, that suddenly support from a prominent liberal funder is evidence of her corruption.

Instead of evidence of her demonstrated competence having earned that level of support.

Yesterday morning, I was reading through the 3,000+ pages of Clinton's State Department emails, released last summer (because what the fuck else would I be doing on a Sunday morning?), and the emails are so revealing.

They draw a picture of a dedicated public servant who has an unfathomably broad knowledge of the world; who is funny, kind, smart, tireless, a good boss; who does the same things that smart women everywhere do—makes self-deprecating jokes, asks instead of demands, is ridiculously accommodating.

She seeks to share credit with her staff. When there is a breakdown in communication that has inconvenienced her twice, she doesn't get angry but asks, simply, "What's up?" She always refers to President Obama as "the POTUS."

I got through less than 20% of the emails, but I came away thinking: If Hillary Clinton were truly representative of the establishment, we'd be pretty damn lucky.

(I am, by the way, not the only person to have had this experience: "I Was One of the Most Ardent Hillary Haters on the Planet…Until I Read Her Emails.)

Here, as but one example, is your establishment candidate and history's greatest monster:

screen cap of an email authored by Hillary Clinton, with the subject line 'Noori Ali' and reading: 'Do you remember Noori Ali(?), the ten year old Yemeni girl who got herself divorced? I met her at the Glamour awards last year. There was a CNN story last few days about how unhappy she is, still living at home, not attending school and quite angry that her life is not better. Is there any way we can help her? Could we get her to the US for counseling and education?'

Most of the emails are centered around scheduling, including daily emails detailing her schedule for the day. They are a mile long, exhausting just to read. And still she finds time to read the news and ask if there's any way to help a little girl on the other side of the world.

Here, I will insert the requisite disclaimer that I don't think Hillary Clinton is beyond criticism. I don't think everyone, or anyone, is obliged to like her or trust her. There are plenty of people, and I count myself among them, who have criticisms of Clinton's policies, past and/or present, and who can mount those criticisms without relying on lazy narratives rooted in uninterrogated misogyny.

I don't believe Hillary Clinton is above reproach. But goddammit I do believe she deserves better than to be routinely demeaned with demonstrably unjustifiable characterizations that are indistinguishable from the mendacious shit Rush Limbaugh has been disgorging about her since the 1990s.

And if you fancy yourself a person who thinks we need more women in politics, then you should believe that, too.

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