Hey, Hillary: Smile, Girl
You know, the world would be a happier place if a girl would just smile more.
Just ask the guys on Twitter.
Now, by “girl,” I mean a former U.S. senator and secretary of state who is likely to be the first female president of these allegedly united states.
As for “the world,” let’s narrow it down. We’re talking mean men who apparently spend much of their day breathing into paper bags because they’re not even allowed to ask a secretary to grab them a cuppa joe anymore without someone from HR signing them up for diversity training.
What? No more office wife? Evidence of hell in a handbasket right there. Just ask them.
So now we’ve got this Hillary woman going all presidential on us. She’s everywhere. Giving speeches. Declaring victories. Starring in one town hall after another. How much suffering must a good ol’ boy endure?
“God,” they pray, “pick another name.”
On Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton did what even Hillary Clinton thought she wouldn’t do: She swept the primaries. Missouri (barely), Illinois, North Carolina, Florida — she won them and my home state of Ohio, which is in the Eastern time zone, people. Boy am I tired of (SET ITAL) that (END ITAL) question.
Clinton strolled her conquering self across the stage in Florida as results poured in, and she delivered a victory speech while some of the white guys in TV-land offered their critiques via Twitter.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “Smile. You just had a big night.”
Because nothing says “commander in chief” like a girlish grin for the camera.
Fox News’ Brit Hume: “Hillary having a big night in the primaries. So she’s shouting angrily in her victory speech. Supporters loving it. What’s she mad at?”
Well, golly. Let’s take a look at what she was saying.
This, for example:
“Our commander in chief has to be able to defend our country, not embarrass it; engage our allies, not alienate them; defeat our adversaries, not embolden them. When we hear a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States, when he embraces torture, that doesn’t make him strong; it makes him wrong.”
Banning Muslims? Torture? Rounding up immigrants? Where are the punch lines, Madam Secretary? If you can’t find a joke in this material, how will you ever make us laugh about the Islamic State group?
“Our campaign is for the steelworker I met in Ohio on Sunday night,” Clinton continued, “who’s laid off but hoping to get back to work. It’s for the mother I met in Miami whose five children haven’t seen their father since he was deported. She dreams of a day when deportations end and families are reunited on a path to citizenship in America. And it is for the mothers I stood with in Chicago yesterday, who have lost children to gun violence.”
Not one smile during that whole paragraph.
See what he means?
Fox News’ Howard Kurtz tweeted: “Hillary shouting her speech. She has the floor; a more conversational tone might be better for connecting with folks at home.”
Kurtz’s follow-up tweet: “Getting attacked for saying Hillary shouted. Was not saying she was shrill. I’ve just heard her deliver more effective speeches.”
This reminded me of another primary night — the one two weeks ago, when MSNBC cut away from Clinton’s live victory speech so that three guys could talk about how she needs to speak more softly.
At a rally.
Politics is still a home away from home for women, apparently. Takes me back to a moment a couple of years ago when a Republican U.S. senator, who clearly had no idea that I was married to one of his Democratic colleagues, asked me what I do with my days.
“I write for a living,” I told him.
“Good for you,” he said, swinging his fist across his chest. The smile on his face made me think he’d misunderstood me to say that I had just learned how to make my own aprons.
Some men hear what they want to hear, and too many men don’t want to hear from women at all. This is an unhappy century for them, and it’s only going to get worse. One grandmother barreling her way toward the presidency is bound to work up all kinds of other women who’ve had it up to here with the catcall mentality of men who measure our worth by our ability to make them feel better about their limited view of us.
“Where will it all end?” they wonder.
At the White House, I’d guess.
I’m smiling as I say that. Does that help?
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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Photo: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters during a campaign stop in Saint Louis, Missouri March 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria