a lower-case explosion of feelings regarding liberal backlash against criticizing hillary clinton

02/09/2016 02:54 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017


Joe Raedle via Getty Images

what's all the shouting about? shouldn't we all take it down a notch. yes, the dialogue between the clinton and sanders camps has gotten tense lately. it's enough to make you want to write in hushed, lower case letters. skipping the caps. skipping the italics. walking on eggshell around the word "shout."

i understand the frustration of clinton supporters, compelled to defend themselves against sexism and self-righteous berniebots who flippantly condescend to anyone who isn't 'feelin' the bern.' and trust me, we're all annoyed by the sexist entourage of bearded bernie bros sounding off on reddit and in the cesspit of online comments. they haven't been this pumped-up since the last santacon.

it's loud on both sides. over the weekend, madeline albright brazenly stated that there's a "special place in hell" for women who do not support clinton. meanwhile, gloria steinham seems to think young women are shutting down their tindr accounts to pick up boys at bernie rallies. 'where are the boys?' she asked rhetorically. 'the boys are with bernie.'" she's since apologized. bill clinton is at it now too. hardly the best messenger for anything to do with feminism, he's become accusatory of the sanders campaign, generalizing about "sexist" and "profane" attacks by sanders' supporters.

of course, there's no argument that women, and especially clinton, are placed under more scrutiny than men. there's more than an ample amount of stupid and sexist comments to be found on the internet and elsewhere, as was underscored last week in this exchange between joe scarborough and bob woodward:

"I'm sorry to dwell on the tone issue," Woodward [said], "but there is something here where Hillary Clinton suggests that she's almost not comfortable with herself, and, you know, self-acceptance is something that you communicate on television."

Host Joe Scarborough compared Clinton unfavorably to 1980s conservative icons Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, both of whom were apparently self-confident enough to keep the noise down.

"Has nobody told her that the microphone works?" Scarborough said. "Because she always keeps it up here." The "genius" of Reagan, Scarborough said while dropping into a deep baritone for emphasis, is that Reagan "kept it down low."

keep it down low? really? have they heard sanders? if he lived in the apartment downstairs from me, i'd be banging on the floorboards with a broomstick handle every time he opened his mouth. we get it... the economy is rigged... but can you please stop shouting, bernie?!

i can empathize with the frustration of clinton's supporters. she has been putting up with blatant sexism her entire career. she's been called a lesbian. a feminazi. people won't shut-up about her pantsuits and hair. and given the obstacles women continue to face, what could be more exciting, more rewarding, than finally having our first woman president? it's something we can all agree upon as a party. we want a woman president. we fucking need a woman president. that's why it's so troubling that the person with the more progressive platform and authentic message is a white, 74-year-old man from vermont.

ironically, polling suggests that clinton's largest voting obstacle isn't related to a gender gap, but an age gap. a recent poll by nbc news/wall street journal/marist has sanders leading among millennials by over 70 percent with sanders receiving more donations from women than clinton. it's a vexing problem for her campaign that she can't shake the reputation among millennials that she's a heavily compromised politician who panders to the wealthy. whether the criticisms are overblown is beside the point. the reality is that the accusations have dulled her message and branded her as inauthentic. admittedly, clinton has been more aggressively scrutinized because she's a woman, but, and let's be honest, the lack of enthusiasm has much more to do with her voting record and ties to wall street than it does with her gender.

still, the accusations of sexism from clinton supporters are intensifying, as illustrated by the popularity of courtney enlow's all-caps essay that went viral last week.


LET'S NOT PRETEND FOR A SECOND THAT THERE WOULD BE *THIS MANY* ISSUES WITH HILLARY IF SHE WAS A GODDAMN MAN," she writes. "PEOPLE WHO WOULD NEVER CONSIDER THEMSELVES BIGOTS IN ANYWAY BUT JUST KNOW THERE IS *SOMETHING* THEY DON'T CARE FOR ABOUT THIS PERSON. THEY REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT SOMETHING COULD BE SKIN COLOR OR GENDER BUT FOR VERY MANY OF THEM IT ABSOLUTELY FUCKING IS.

the article channels a very valid anger that many women (and men for that matter) have for the sexism they have witnessed and/or experienced in their lives. but it also unfairly generalizes sanders' supporters, suggesting that their frustration with clinton, perhaps unconsciously, is guided by sexism. i feel your frustration. i really do. but i'm sorry, it's not sexist to be critical of clinton's spotty relationship with progressive issues. its simply called political dialogue.

i realize that during election cycles, especially those dominated by bigoted shitbags like trump, people are prone to having very short attention spans. that's why i feel compelled to remind clinton supporters that leftie democrats didn't seek out a white, 74-year-old, new englander to run against clinton. most of us wanted elizabeth warren. in fact, democracy for america and moveon.org collected 365,000 signatures in a campaign called run warren run. i was a warren supporter long before senator sanders began to surge. but alas, she couldn't be convinced.

ultimately, progressives acquiesced to supporting sanders when warren decided not to run, which is why the accusations of sexism feel particularly out of bounds. it also begs the question: would the vitriol between the camps be this elevated if warren was running against clinton instead of sanders? would warren supporters be defending themselves against charges of sexism for attacking hillary clinton on her record? and would there be warren bros?

so sure, if you're glued to the comments section of reddit you're going to read some horrible things. but being critical of clinton's policies does not make anyone a sexist. i have no tolerance for anyone who's making sexist statements and thankfully, sanders is shrewd enough to understand that the bernie bros are a problem too: "i have heard about it. it's disgusting," sanders said. "look, we don't want that crap. ... we will do everything we can and i think we have tried. look, anybody who is supporting me that is doing the sexist things is -- we don't want them."

but this election year, we're being asked to make a choice for our future. i promised not to shout in caps, so i apologize, but WE ALL FEEL THE URGENCY TO ELECT A WOMAN AS PRESIDENT, but when it comes down to it, i can't get around the fact that clinton:

• until three years ago -- she was 65-years-old -- publicly opposed same-sex marriage.

• has a history of funding her ambitions with donations from wall street and embracing the trickle-down economic policies ushered in by her husband

• capitalized on her coziness with wall street by accepting $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs and invoked 9-11 when cornered about the ethics of doing so

• supports an escalation of drone strikes in syria and iraq and wants to further isolate russia by imposing a no-fly zone in syria

• is secretly a lesbian and is frumpy, unlikeable and shrill.

well actually, that last one is complete bullshit. it's the type of bigoted attack we hear from the far right, not from the vast majority of sanders supporters who disagree with clinton on substantive issues based in reality. to me, hillary clinton is an intelligent and a powerful woman who has persevered against incredible odds. you'd have to be sexist not to admire her. i just wish i could support her policies.