“What Happened” By HRC
Whether a die-hard fan of Hillary Rodham Clinton or a die-hard hater, her new book about the 2016 US President Election is bound to throw you through a loop. While she manages to go into this book on even footing for who caused her loss in the election, there are parts of the book that people will not agree with, and that is how it should be. She tries to make this book a mixture of responsibility, love and understanding. Many people looked at this book as her not taking her blame, which was my intial thought when I heard about this book, but she does own up to her mistakes. Yet, Hillary Rodham Clinton brings up problems that affected who won the election.
This is What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
A few notes before we begin: Most people are not indifferent about HRC, which leads people to take biases. I am a Hillary Clinton supporter and I voted for her in the 2016 election. However, I chose to look at this book academically versus on a fan base. I went in with the lenses of feminist and marxist.
Throughout the book, she chooses to have a mixture of politics and personal. For an academic, it was too much personal; for the curious reader, it was perhaps too much politics. While I can critique her way of writing and there can be the argument for a ghost writer in the land of “Fake News,” I hope to stay more focused on the story that she wants to tell. Thus, I will focus on specific parts.
Her election coming off the ground, spoiler alert, was slow. HRC had many supporters, it was her that has some concerns about coming in. In the 2008 election, she was seen as the safe candidate, but the United States of America wanted a change, which Barack Obama came. She knew the pain of losing the election of 2008, so this caused hesitation. When looking through the collection of Democrat contenders, she pulled easily to the front. There were other contenders, like Bernie Sanders, but he was too left for right-wing voters to jump over; however, many Bernie Sanders found Hillary Clinton either too moderate or they did not trust her.
Now, this brings up at least two main points of why people didn’t vote for HRC. This is not just liberals who didn’t vote for her, but also conservative voters who found Donald Trump unappealing. Both these things are brought up in her book with others in the wings.
For is her “damn emails.” HRC repeats, even in the book, that personal emails are used constantly in the government because it is a matter of easiness. While it was a dumb decision, she is not the only one. HRC vents her frustration about the emails being such an issue, even venting when the subject was yet brought up again in October. In the book, HRC shares some of her emails, like this one from September 2009 when she emailed John Podesta:
“I’m on endless calls about the UN. Could I call you early tomorrow? Would btw 6:30 and 8:00 be too early? Please wear socks to bed to keep your feet warm.” This is just one of the emails that got her into hot water, and for what? Her voice throughout the chapter is filled with just annoyance toward this whole thing.
Another one of her problems, which HRC brings up is the fact that she is a woman, and for many women who have been typing “Me Too” on their social media, this will not come as a shock. HRC was held back because she was a woman, and in politics, being a woman is terrible because there is nothing you can do right.
In her chapter titled “On Being a Woman in Politics,” HRC gets candid about how women are treated, and it is not just her. “… it begins: the analysis of her face, her body, her voice, her demeanor; the diminishment of her stature, her ideas, her accomplishments, her integrity” (116). Others might call this chapter a blaming chapter where she put it on other people, but in a lot of cases, it is other people’s problems.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has faced sexism throughout her life, and she lists it here. She revisits how she didn’t fit into the cookie-cutter persona of the First Lady of Arkansas and how that caused problems. She changed her last name to Clinton so that she was better accepted. She speaks about her childhood and how she grew up knowing she could be what she wanted; she passed these values onto her daughter and the millions of other women who listen.
Thus, this is how we all know the line from HRC: “To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton didn’t become President of the United States of America, but she did make history. She became the first female nomination from a major political party in the United States of America. That is a step forward, like Shirley Chisholm brought us a step forward. It will not be an easy climb, HRC knows, but we will get there.
Among the many problems she faced in the 2016 election, such as trolls, fake robots, fake news and Russians, Hillary Rodham Clinton still came up. Throughout the chapter “Why” she incorporates research into her writing, as well as the painful truth of what people said after the election.
I will admit, when I heard about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book where she wanted to speak about the 2016 election, I wanted it to stop. I do not want to talk about the election anymore, let alone think about it. Most times I do not want to think about President Trump, even as my phone buzzes with a new Breaking-News notification.
Throughout “Why” though, she tries to understand and help us understand what exactly happened. Really, the whole book does that, but “Why” drives home her point, rolled up into one present. Was it herself that doomed the election, the Russians, economic anxiety, bigotry, her emails, voter suppression, Trump’s charm, or was it a mixture of all?
When it comes to the end of the book, her title part is “Resilience” with the chapters of “Love and Kindness” and “Onward Together.” HRC hoped that President Trump would bring the country together, but he has divided us more than ever. However, she does not want us to lose hope, wanting us to remember that “love trumps hate” and that kindness will get you far in life. It is about more than tolerance, but acceptance. When acceptance happens, we can finally love. We keep going.
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton gives an overview of the 2016 election and all the moving components of it, while showing us the painful details that goes into it. Most people do not think about what decisions need to be made, nor do we take the chance to understand. In this book, HRC does her best to make us understand while she tries to do it herself.