I Write Letters

Dear Assholes Who Tell Me to Focus on Donald Trump and Stop Talking About Hillary Clinton:

Shut. The fuck. Up.

Let me expand on that thought…

1. I am a grown-ass woman of 42 years old, who has been writing about politics and culture for 13 years. I am eminently capable of holding multiple thoughts in my head at once, multitasking, and prioritizing my time and energy as I see fit. I will focus on whatever I damn well want to focus on and you can keep your unsolicited opinions to yourself.

2. Just since the election, I have written over 350 pieces about Donald Trump, including a comprehensive daily compendium of Trump news, detailing as many news items about the Trump administration as I am able, every single day. I'm fairly certain you're not doing anywhere near that amount of work covering Donald Trump, so don't tell me that my focus on Trump is insufficient.

3. LOL at your lack of self-awareness. Hectoring strangers is time you could be spending focused on Trump.

4. I will never get over the election, for reasons I have already explained. But most of the writing I'm doing about Hillary Clinton now isn't about the election, per se. It's about the way the election is being remembered.

There is a gross national gaslighting happening, as the vast majority of election postmortems engage in a sickening erasure of Clinton's strengths, her supporters' enthusiasm, the incredible history that was made, the breathtaking misogyny that was unleashed against Clinton and her visible supporters, and the harassment that kept many of her supporters silent, replacing these realities with an insistence that she was a "shitty" candidate to neuter the grave import of Russian interference, James Comey's shocking unprofessionalism, and Donald Trump's cynical appeal to white supremacy.

We are being asked to ignore that the 2016 election was a referendum on how this nation values women, as we had a choice between a proudly feminist candidate and a confessed serial sex abuser, and instead to swallow bullshit revisionist trash about how Hillary Clinton ran a "doomed campaign."

We are being asked to forget that Trump oversaw rallies at which his supporters chanted "Lock her up!" and wore shirts bearing caricatures of Clinton exhorting violence and/or using rank misogynist epithets. And that Trump himself stood on stage beside her and called her a "nasty woman." That he accused her of playing the "woman card."

We are being asked to discount aggressive media bias, which resulted in billions of dollars of free advertising for Trump. And to discount that bigotry was the primary indicator of a vote for Trump among his supporters, while Clinton ran a campaign that centered diversity, garnering 94% of votes cast by Black women, who are the backbone of the Democratic Party.

We are being asked to agree that she was just a terrible, flawed candidate and a terrible, flawed human being, despite the fact that she won the popular vote, getting more votes than any white man in history.

And despite the fact that many of us see parts of ourselves in her.

That last one? It's a biggie. There are millions and millions of Hillary Clinton supporters—especially, though not exclusively, people from marginalized populations—who saw in her some piece of their own lives, who had maybe never seen that before in a presidential candidate.

Maybe it was her indomitable spirit, her persistence in overcoming obstacles set in her path by misogynist creeps; maybe it was her pragmatic progressivism; maybe it was the model she set balancing career and family; maybe it was her dorky humor; maybe it was her wonkiness; maybe it was her diplomatic finesse; maybe it was her tenacity; maybe it was the way she advocates for children; maybe it was her willingness to blaze a trail for women; maybe it was her courage; maybe it was some other part of her, or some combination of lots of these things.

Not everyone who supported Clinton saw pieces of themselves in her, but a whole goddamn lot of us did. And when we are asked to concede that her downfall is exclusively—or even primarily—attributable to her own catastrophic flaws, that being the most qualified candidate ever to run and making history and commandingly winning the popular vote don't matter, we are being asked to concede that we aren't good enough, either.

We are being asked to participate in gaslighting that is used against us all the time, with the express purpose of making marginalized people individually responsible for their own defeats.

So that we never have to look too carefully at institutional bigotries.

When you tell me to "move on," to "get over it," to stop focusing on Hillary Clinton, you are asking me to accept this national gaslighting; you are asking me to tacitly approve, with my silence, of the tactic of holding a woman personally responsible not just for her own failures, but also for everyone else's; of rewriting history in a way that ensures we are doomed to repeat it.

Not just against presidential candidates, but against all women (and other marginalized people), who are routinely held responsible for systemic bias.

You are thus asking me to participate in my own marginalization, and that is a request I will not accommodate.

No Love,

P.S. This, too.

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