I wonder if Hillary Clinton has ever woken up and thought, “today is going to be easy”.
I wonder, if in 30-odd years, her alarm has ever gone off at 5am (or so I imagine; successful people get up early) and she has had a moment of relief because her day will be straightforward, achievable, pleasant, even.
I wonder if, as she makes her coffee and checks her multiple phones (and possibly email accounts), she ever *isn’t* thinking about the mountain she’s got to climb, again; the investigations into parts of her life to prove she is flawed, criminal even; the ongoing accusations that her husband is a rapist by the Republican party; the ways in which she can prove she isn’t robotic or boring or cold; the fact that her opponent is Donald Trump and still young women in America won’t vote for her.
I think there’s a special type of exhaustion that only women know; the exhaustion of pressure; of being all things to all people; of doing everything for everyone
Because whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, after 30 years of systematic sexism from the right-wing press, one of the biggest presidential scandals for generations and relentlessly fighting to make history, I wonder if it is *ever* easy to be Hillary Clinton. Yes, there’s money and privilege and power. That’s easy. But the day-on-day, year-on-year character assassination from all angles, laced with relentless sexism? That, to me at least, sounds like spirit-breaking levels of exhausting.
And yet on she goes: like a mountain goat in a hurricane or Jeremy Corbyn in a coup, and today will be no exception. At the start of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) – where she will accept the formal nomination as the presidential candidate for the Democratic party (a glass ceiling-smashing, history-making move in itself) – she, as ever, has a few headaches; the DNC chair has resigned, with perfectly-timed leaked emails (what is it with Hillary and emails?!) suggesting there was unfair bias towards Hillary’s campaign. And then there’s Tim Kaine, Hillary’s running mate, announced on Friday. “He Hates Abortions,” scream the headlines. “How can Hillary do this?!” She has betrayed the woman’s cause! Is she even a feminist?!”
This interesting article on US site Bustle will tell you that Kaine – who is Catholic and doesn’t personally support abortion – clearly believes in, and crucially votes for, a woman’s right to do as she pleases with her own body. Now don’t get me wrong; he’s no Elizabeth Warren, but with his power as a senator he has voted for abortion. So hold your horses everyone; Kaine isn’t actually a secret Republican, Hillary is still actually a feminist, and she hasn’t let down the sisterhood. Kaine might be a safe pair of hands over an inspired choice, such as progressive Warren or appointing the first hispanic VP, but still the record shows Kaine hasn’t voted for criminalising abortion. In 2008 he said, “I strongly support the right of women to make their own health and reproductive decisions and, for that reason, will oppose efforts to weaken or subvert the basic holding of Roe v. Wade.”
Now I’m certainly not asking anyone to feel sorry for Hillary Clinton; she chose the life of politics and she lives a life of privilege that millions in her own country couldn’t even dream of.
But when that alarm goes off, as I imagine it to do, every day, as it has for 30-plus years, I wonder if she ever manages to forget that most mornings it seems the whole world is against her; that everyone from newspapers editors to twitter trolls, will take her apart, with a relish that seems to be saved only for her?
I think there’s a special type of exhaustion that only women know; the exhaustion of pressure; of being all things to all people; of doing everything for everyone; and the exhaustion of failing when that's not humanly doable.
I think nobody knows that exhaustion better than Hillary Clinton.