The drama and uncertainty that followed the recent U.S. Presidency elections could easily have been avoided if only the American voters had the foresight to choose Hillary instead of Trump in the last elections – in other words, perseverance over personality.
In the documentary ‘Hillary’, currently streaming in India on SonyLIV, the negative depiction of her personality sadly overwhelms the viewer. You are repeatedly reminded how pushy, domineering, unpopular and hated she was. Only towards the end of the series, reluctantly, is credit given to her for spearheading the movement that opened the space for women to finally claim their rightful place in American politics and paving the way for the likes of Kamala Harris to be unapologetic contenders for the possible future title of POTUS. Hillary is referred to as ‘The tip of the spear’– an apt analogy considering how sharp and piercing she was.
The series should have been more recognizing of her talents, hard work and the challenges she faced – both personal and professional – something that might have overwhelmed a lesser lady. Instead, it delves more into her losses and the reasons behind them. First the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, then the shocking defeat to Trump; if she was right or wrong to stick with her wayward husband and whether being Mrs Clinton made her path easier. That she rose from nothing to become the first woman contender to vie for the position of the most powerful person of the most powerful country in the world is casually brushed aside.
Interestingly, the docu-series has managed to capture the change in her personality after the infamous Monica Lewinsky incident. It is a different Hillary before and after Bill Clinton’s presidency. The laughing and free-spirited first lady is wary, uncertain and reserved during her campaign for the Democratic primaries and more so during her presidential campaign. The repeated allegations and insults hurled seemed to have made her develop a shell around that increasingly gets more and more difficult to penetrate.
And ultimately it is only the shell that remains while the entire persona is gone.
Bill Clinton, on the other hand, seems to have had an ‘easy’ life. Handsome, charismatic and popular, it is as if everything has been laid out for him just to take. And when a man has everything, he starts to believe that he can get away with anything. He did something no man had ever attempted before in the oval office. The excitement and the thrill he must have derived from the experience must have been further compounded when he realized he had managed to get away with it…losing neither his presidency nor his wife. If one can somehow get him to be totally candid, I suppose he might say that he has no regrets at all!
It was for this man that Hillary, without a second thought, left everything – friends, family and career; to settle down in Arkansas, even while he was a ‘nobody’. She continued to support him through his presidency… and his infidelity, despite being weighed down by the pretence of having forgiven him. In reality, it must have hurt like hell! While it may be difficult for some to fathom why she did what she did; the documentary could have been kinder to her, to her legacy and to her achievements.
As for the American public, when you choose someone because of their personality, you may not be able to simply vote them out!!!
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Dr G G Laxman Prabhu
November 14, 2020 at 7:46 am
Voters go by perceptions and projections. Both have to be grasped and reflected upon. More often than not, the latter does not happen. The consequence is undesirable electoral outcomes. All said and done, Hillary was so close to being the POTUS!
Someone has defined democracy as an arrangement wherein 51 crooks can neutralize 49 saints.
History would judge Hillary as a woman of incredible strength and unmatched resilience !
November 14, 2020 at 8:42 am
Very true. An intelligent and strong woman. Anyone else would have crumbled under the pressure and disappeared. Would be interesting to speculate how she would have handed the pandemic. This would have impacted the rest of the world. A well written relevant piece.
November 14, 2020 at 6:05 pm
A Man made world….man made rules since BC in most religions which continues. Parity is difficult to achieve till mindset changes world over. Even though we have many devi Goddess we have suppression of women in India and they have to live up to standards made by men. Most other countries have had women as president or prime minister at some point. Hillary did a good bit of good but she was unfortunately typical establishment candidate which cost her the presidency.
M Vamshi Krishna
November 15, 2020 at 5:10 am
If you cant beat them join them!
Hillary too embraced this philosophy — as opposed to say AOC! Unfortunately while this strategy helped her get the nomination, it also branded her as establishment forever. The strengths which should have been centerstage instead receded into the background and she became as much as pro big business and pro establishment as any routine politician, spouting careful soundbites and going by conventional wisdom. In the bargain she was seen as cold and calculating. Her election speeches and actions were completely robotic and planned. Contrast this with someone like Jacinda Ardern — she is warm and engaging and most importantly embraces her instincts. History will not be too kind to Hillary though she does deserve more praise for her ambition and most importantly in my view putting up with her husband!!
November 16, 2020 at 12:34 am
Politics is unforgiving. No sentiments. No justification. It’s a cruel game and all politicians are aware of it. So you go on and play the game and don’t sympathise.