Hillary Clinton’s ‘What Happened’ Says Something Revealing About America
Later, Clinton brings a similar wistfulness to her account of the second debate with Trump, at which he stalked her on stage, seeking to intimidate her. “Do you stay calm,” she asks, referring to her options, “keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? … Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up, you creep, get away from me, I know you love to intimidate women but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.’ ”
I would have loved to see her do the latter, but even now, Clinton isn’t sure. This highlights one of my problems with her as a politician: her reserve, her sense of caution, which is also, I would suggest, part of the reason she didn’t win. And yet, if “What Happened” has anything to tell us, it’s that this is part of a larger problem with the culture and the way it deals with women, and especially with successful women, who are generally regarded as a threat. When even someone as accomplished as Hillary Clinton is reluctant (afraid, even) to speak her mind about something we all witnessed — Trump hulking behind her on the debate stage, looming, getting too close — what does it say for the rest of us? Only that we are not as enlightened, as advanced, as we believe.