The Go Away Hillary Watch, Part Four

[Previously: On Hillary Clinton's Beautiful Refusal to "Go Away"; Can't F#@king Win; Let's Talk About These Optics.]

Immediately after the election, Hillary Clinton took some time to process the outcome. She took long walks in the woods near her home, during which people bumped into her. They took selfies with her and posted them, leading to jokes, so many jokes, about how she was "lost in the woods," frequently accompanied by questions, from media and average people, about why she wasn't doing more.

Then she emerged back on the public stage, giving speeches and interviews. She was greeted not with relief by the very people who had previously demanding her return, but with admonishments to "go away." Often quite literally.

Even when these hot takes don't explicitly tell her to "go away," they audit whether she is saying the right things in the right places with the right tone—a policing designed to always find her failing in one way or another. And they frequently include warnings to her about the ruination she will wreak on the Democratic Party, if she does not STFU and go away.

Over the last several days, there have been two more prominent articles in this vein.

Kayla Epstein at the Washington Post: "Hillary Clinton is returning to public life. But if she wants to help Democrats, she should tread carefully." That's the headline. Epstein writes: "[I]f she's going to return to public life—and help to Democrats—she's going to need to choose her words and actions wisely."

Amie Parnes at the Hill [video may autoplay at link]: "Dems want Hillary Clinton to leave spotlight." The piece quotes a number of anonymous Democrats, only two of whom would go on record, who complain that Clinton isn't taking enough responsibility for her loss and say she sounds "bitter" and "angry."


I have spent my entire life watching smart women who got shit right long before everyone else did being silenced and told to "go away," then accused of being bitter and angry and unhelpful.

While simultaneously not seeing the same thing happen to men. Even men who got shit wrong. Sometimes breathtakingly wrong. (*cough* Bill Kristol *cough*)

Anyone who would like to tell me that this isn't misogyny will be asked to explain to me how it is that Bernie Sanders, whose entire shtick is bitterness and anger (that isn't a criticism), and who has never taken any responsibility for his primary loss, choosing instead to blame the DNC, superdelegates, and the primary schedule (that is a criticism), has been elevated to party leader (despite the fact that he still isn't a member of the Democratic Party), while Clinton (who has helped build the Democratic Party for 40 years) is told to STFU and go away.

There is a clear double-standard at work. And every time I write about this, I hear from women who were passionate Hillary Clinton supporters, women of all ages and ethnicities and identities, who tell me that, every time they see diminishing garbage like this directed at Clinton, feel like they're being told to go away. That if Clinton isn't regarded as having something of value to say, when she is saying what they are feeling, that what they have to say and what they are feeling is of no value to the Democratic Party and to this country, either.

That's a fucking problem.

And it's a fucking problem that is magnified by the fact that every Democrat who is being most vociferously targeted for blame following the election is a woman. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Donna Brazile. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, as Democrats strategize to "un-Pelosi the party."

When Tom Perez and Bernie Sanders went on a "unity tour" featuring no female headliners. When Black women are having to write letters asking to be included in party leadership. When a female candidate has to withdraw from a race because of threats. When there's a goddamn sexual predator in the Oval Office.

This is a time when we need to be standing unyieldingly with Democratic female leaders. Not abandoning them. And certainly not telling them to go away.

I am appalled that I even have to write those sentences.

And I will never stop being incandescently angry—and, yes, bitter—at watching a woman who's given a lifetime of service to her country being told to go away.

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