It's Way Past Time For Thinkpieces About How Hillary Clinton Should Go Away To Go Away
Hello, friends out there in Internetland. My name is Robyn Pennacchia -- and I voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary. In fact, I continue to like and agree with Bernie Sanders to this very day.
THAT. BEING. SAID.
If I see one more goddamned thinkpiece telling Hillary Clinton that it is "time for her to GO AWAY," I am going to put my fist through a wall.
For years now, a not-insignificant portion of the internet has behaved as though they were the "attention police" -- there to save people from accidentally giving their attention to the "undeserving" (STOP. GIVING. THEM. ATTENTION.) and demanding the "undeserving" have the decency to disappear from public life (GO AWAAAAAAAY!).
Somehow, it is nearly always women who are committing these evil attention crimes. Weird, I know. I like to assume it is because people think we have the power to bottle all the undeserved attention we receive and use it to cast spells against men. AND MAYBE WE DO.
Frankly, I hope it is that, because that is actually less weird than "It's just personally upsetting me that this person is getting attention I don't think they ought to get." I cannot imagine a world in which I am that delicate, and I hope I never have to.
This is not a sentiment I enjoy when it is applied to Kim Kardashian, so you better believe I loathe it being applied to Hillary Clinton. The list of people who truly do need to go away (like, I don't know, literal Nazis? Dinesh D'Souza?) is so long, that by the time Hillary Clinton's number comes up, we will all be dead and gone.
The latest in this genre is a Washington Post op-ed from one Ed Rogers, a man who once wrote another WaPo op-ed titled simply, and seriously "Huntsman-Bachmann in 2012!" in case you were wondering how seriously we should consider his thoughts on why "Hillary Clinton 3.0 isn’t helping the Democrats move on."
Rogers, you see, would have been fine with allowing Clinton to do her little book tour (given that this is what most people who are able do when they write a book) so long as it was also a farewell tour. But then Clinton said she would not be going away, and that made him sad! She also didn't say that the election was over, so obviously still thinks she is running for president? I guess?
Incredibly, Clinton herself declares that she is anything but done. She isn’t on a farewell tour or even saying that the election is over. The Post reports that at a recent Clinton book party/reading, she actually said to former staff and supporters that “none of us can afford to go quietly away. We need our voices, we need our energy. … We’re not going to go anywhere. We’re still fighting and still moving.” Presumably this was not accompanied by a laugh track.
Ed Rogers also says he is concerned that Hillary Clinton going around existing means she is "blocking" new voices in the Democratic party, but what really grinds his gears is that she told NPR she would not rule out contesting the results of the 2016 election if “we learn that the Russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now.”
According to Ed Rogers, that is a lie on par with birtherism!
The Trump campaign/Russian collusion myth is now part of the Hillarysphere belief system. It is becoming to Democrats what the “birther” movement was to Republicans. Some Republicans, including Trump, decided to peddle the notion that former president Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States rather than accept the truth that he was our legitimate president
Except the thing is, it's not, because Paul Manafort and lots of other evidence, and right now Robert Mueller is investigating it to find out if there is more evidence. But according to Mueller, this is a very dangerous lie, just like "Bush lied, people died." How that's supposed to be a lie, I am honestly not sure, but OK, Ed.
Still -- lots of people are pretty sure there is something to the Russia investigation. Specifically those who are conducting it! Why single Hillary Clinton out?
The gist of the vast majority of these thinkpieces, however, is more similar to what L.A. Times writer Melissa Batchelor Warnke wrote in her piece earlier this month, titled "Hillary, I love you -- but please go away" -- that the only way to heal the divide between Bernie voters and Hillary voters is for her to disappear into the ether:
It is not the book that bothers. It’s the accompanying media tour — it’s the inevitable distraction from issues on which Democrats are finally pushing forward. It’s a refracturing of Clinton supporters and those of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a scratching at old wounds that are finally starting to heal, and redrawing divisions between organizations that are beginning to build together.
I feel like I need to be really clear about something here -- this divide was never, ever Hillary Clinton's fault. It wasn't Bernie's fault either. This divide has existed for decades. Since NAFTA, frankly, but it was certainly exacerbated during the Iraq War and by votes for the PATRIOT Act.
I know, because I am one of those very people who has consistently felt that the Democratic Party was pretty far to the Right of me, well before Bernie Sanders ever ran for President. Trust me when I say that the this divide is not going to be "healed" by Hillary Clinton going away, because it was never about Hillary Clinton to begin with. It's something that's been a long time coming.
Clinton -- who, by the way, is not only more progressive than Obama, but was far more willing to include and listen to progressives than he was -- unfortunately bore the brunt of 20 years of the Democratic Party thinking that it was in their best interests, electorally, to punch left and merge right coming to a head. Bernie was the first to bother trying to bring us in and include us, yes, but it's worth noting that Clinton saw that and then, I think, did her best to try and bring us in as well. I happen to think the Democratic Party can actually learn a lot from her in this way.
Mainstream Dems have never really had to contend with progressives and radicals being integrated in their party before (outside of "How about we do what we want and you vote for us because we are less bad than the Republicans?") and there are, naturally, going to be some growing pains and resentments, and even fears, on both sides. I say we hash them out and deal with them now rather than in 2018 or 2020. That will make us all stronger, not weaker.
Will we ever get to a point where we are super unified and all agree on all the things? Almost definitely not! I happen to think that is OK. But if we were, I promise you that Hillary Clinton going on a book tour would not be the thing that prevented it from happening. And shit, if it were, we have got to figure out how to be tougher than that, because that is just pathetic. Embarrassing, really.
The Left needs to learn to handle having Hillary Clinton around -- and, also, learn to handle having Bernie Sanders around. Let's learn to have all the people around, at least the ones who don't totally suck. Sweeping things under the rug, moving on, excluding people and not being open to listening is how we ended up in this hot mess in the first place. Let's not repeat it.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse