Bill Clinton’s Speech

Filed in Featured, National by on July 27, 2016

Hillary Clinton wird 65

This started out as a comment, but morphed into a post. Last night I was asked a question on the DNC Convention post, “Was Bill Clinton’s speech sexist?”

No.

Oh, you want more? Ok.

Here are my thoughts on Bill’s speech. I disagree with Maddow. It wasn’t sexist, but it was a fascinating gender role reversal. Bill Clinton was the first man to give the traditional First Lady speech.

The role of the First Lady speech is to share personal stories of her and the candidate’s life together, to show what a good and loving parent the candidate is, to remind everyone of their spouses accomplishments, their strengths, etc.. Basically, the First Lady speech is an reminder and introduction to the candidate by the person who knows them best.

Bill did just that.

He begins with how they met, stressing the fact that, not only did she introduce herself to him, but that she turned down his marriage proposal two times. The stories he shared were deeply personal; The visuals he drew powerful. By the end of these stories we see why he wanted to build a life with her as a partner. See? First Lady speech.

That part was interesting when you consider how it was flipped. We’re very familiar with the other side of the story: The man asked her three times to marry him – which shows his determination, that he works for his goals and is focused. Bill Clinton showed us the other side – not of a woman “playing hard to get” but of a women who had her own dreams and career and how, together, they forged their future.

I’m probably going to get my next points out of order, so I’ll just label them by topic.

Her early career. First, wow. I wasn’t aware of everything she had done. Calling out segregated schools. Putting counselors in elementary schools. Pre-K. Helping children with special needs and disabilities. Giving low income parents the tools they need to help their children – talk about speaking my language.

She has a ton of accomplishments – most of which people (especially young people) have no idea about. That was/is one of the most frustrating things about this election season. Reducing Hillary to a caricature was not only unfair, it was completely dishonest. It also shut down any sort of discussion. Disagreeing with certain policies is fine, painting her as the most horrible person ever is not.

Let me say this, in my lifetime I can’t remember a Presidential candidate who has had such an amazing resume outside of their holding office. Carter’s post Presidency works springs to mind. To me, that’s admirable. Hillary accomplished so many things without holding office. She actually did the hard work, the ground work, the work that doesn’t get acknowledged by simply casting a vote or signing a bill into law. Bill highlighting these achievements mattered and resonated with me. Bill flipped the old (and tired) saying “behind every great man there’s a great woman” on its head. No where in this speech did Bill place her behind him, she was at his side, and in many instances, ahead of him working on her own things.

Parenting. This subject is always tricky for women. If you have a successful career it’s way too often assumed that you must have dropped the ball on parenting. Green candidate, Jill Stein, showed us how this is done by tweeting about Hillary Clinton on Mother’s Day:

I agree w/ Hillary, it’s time to elect a woman for President. But I want that President to reflect the values of being a mother. #MothersDay

— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) May 8, 2016

That tweet reveals far more about Jill Stein than Hillary Clinton. Stein isn’t even original in her sexism, just nasty. It isn’t as if mothers everywhere haven’t had to defend their decisions, career, etc. to justify their life choices and demonstrate that they “reflect the values of being a mother.”

The “being a good mother” (aka superwoman) is a classic sexist attack. Don’t believe me? Okay, then tell me when was the last time you heard anyone wonder if a male politician is a good enough dad? Or how they’d balance raising children and a career.

And here’s an FYI and completely off topic: Many people have no idea how tired “I’m all for a woman (POC, and other minorities) President (or any other position), just not this woman (POC, and other minorities)” is. Maybe it’s because they have no idea how often women, POC, and other minorities hear this line. Not kidding, we hear it all the time.

Back to the speech…

Basically Bill Clinton’s speech was about Hillary – who she is, her accomplishments, etc.. One of his most powerful points (and one she’s made many times herself) is that while you may not support her, she will support you. Just look at her resume. She’s done the hard, non-glamorous, out of the limelight work. If you weren’t aware of that (and you really should have been aware of a lot of it) then the First Man spelled it out – just like every First Lady before him.

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A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

Comments (13)

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  1. Delaware Dem says:

    Excellent post. It seems that Maddow’s main objection is that Bill was talking about trying to hit on Hillary, which traveled dangerously close to the topic of Bill’s sexual affairs and him being a womanizer. And that is the best way I can describe Maddow’s objection. I am not sure how it is sexist, unless you view any man trying to ask a woman out on a date as automatically sexist, in which case, you are nuts.

  2. pandora says:

    Did I miss the times the press worried over McCain and Trump’s infidelities? ;-)

  3. Jason330 says:

    Heard on CNN this morning: Hillarys speech was sexists because she didn’t say that little boys can grow up to be President. WTF? Our nation discourse is horrendous.

  4. pandora says:

    I know… because boys have never grown up to be President!

    One of the most frustrating things about this election season is the deliberate diminishing of the fact that we could nominate the first woman for the office of president. That’s actually a big effing deal.

  5. Delaware Dem says:

    Well, the nomination is done. We have nominated the first woman for president. Now we have to elect her.

  6. Jenr says:

    A man was talking about his wife, what attracted him to her and how he admired & loved her.

    There are plenty of things that I don’t love about Bill Clinton but the man is allowed to talk about his wife and their collective story in his own terms. He certainly doesn’t need Rachel Maddow’s or anyone’s approval. My guess is that his wife loved hearing the retelling of their story from his perspective.

  7. Jenr says:

    The speech provided a visual of a young woman fighting for others, a young couple starting out and a caring mother raising a child. Those are powerful images.

  8. Franny Black says:

    Perfectly expressed!

  9. pandora says:

    Thank you, Franny!

  10. kavips says:

    Rachel’s take comes from a woman who has had to defend her sexuality to an America that was at one time, hostile to it. She is entitled to her opinion and it probably does reflect her take on how women should behave.

    But it is just the take of one woman, or one sliver of society… One of the most amazing things never said about life, at least it was a surprise to me, is the divide between those who actually have children, and those who don’t…

    This is not a diatribe for family values. We are only a happy nation when everyone has the opportunity to be happy regardless of how others judge. No, it is an expression of the reality of how our psychology changes, if not our perspective, because we now have responsibilities continuing onward after our own ultimate expiration dates..

    You can’t understand what having children is like, until you’ve been there…

    And so, the message of Bill last night, was lost I think on Rachel, because she, being who she is, has never “been there”….

    What it’s like to have children, is one of the mysteries that cannot be explained adequately to anyone who has none, simply because they don’t have the experience to appreciate it.

    Sort of like explaining what studying for a Ph.d is like to someone in first grade… You can speak, they can hear you and accept you, but they really have no clue of what you are saying…

    Once again, the disclaimer: .. It’s a life choice. Having children does not make you better than not having them… if that is your choice… But for someone to postulate on what it is like to have them, and the pontificate on such without every being a mom or dad, puts them in the position of hypocrisy… and taints their future utterances with less credibility….

  11. mouse says:

    If Ms. Clinton wants some revenge, I would proudly be her under the desk boy toy