[Content Note: Misogyny; Islamophobia.]
Buried deep in the transcript of the Washington Post's interview with Donald Trump is Trump saying—twice—"Hillary's not a fighter." Oh, Trump. Have I got news for you.
Every woman I know is a fighter. To walk out into the world every day, facing every iteration of sexism, from microagressions to a heightened risk of sexual assault, is to be a fighter, even if the battle has not been engaged by choice.
I'm not surprised that Trump doesn't understand even this elementary reality of women's lived experiences, since he is less disposed toward trying to empathize with our lives than he is adding to the sky-high pile of fetid garbage we encounter every day.
But even Trump, with his catastrophic lack of knowledge about women's humanity, should be acquainted with one of the most basic facts on Hillary Clinton's résumé.
She is not just a fighter—she is indomitable.
What she has been obliged to navigate on the journey to her historic nomination is unfathomable in its genuinely epic scope.
And unlike Trump, who imagines he has been "viciously attacked" by the Muslim parents of a fallen soldier because they criticized his Islamophobic policy proposal, she has had to fight her way through legitimately vicious attacks—on her, her family, her staff, and her supporters—from her ideological opponents and from the media.
There are people who say that Clinton is courageous to keep going, despite the enormity of what she faces. But courage is doing something tough you don't have to do, and doing it anyway. Clinton does not have the luxury of that choice. To get the job where she can have unique influence to effect the change she wants to see, she has had to run this gauntlet of petty debasements, character attacks, mischaracterizations, dog whistles, and unfiltered sexism. There is no choice. There is only facing it, every day.
That is not to say she lacks courage. It is only to say that what she's doing requires more than courage. It requires a fearsome tenacity to keep going, because there is no choice to avoid the horrors that await women who reach for more, except for quitting.
Trump, in his cloistered life of privilege populated by obsequious sycophants, has never been required to have the remarkable fortitude that Clinton demonstrates, day after day.
Although he says she's not a fighter, I don't believe for a moment he believes that to be true. After all, a coward knows better than anyone a fighter when they see one.
And if he really doesn't know that what he's saying is patently false already, he'll find out soon enough at the first presidential debate.
That is, if he doesn't prove that he's the one who's not a fighter by weaseling out of the debates altogether.