Not that it should matter, but I’ll just get it out of the way: #IGuessImWithHer.
On Nov. 8, I won’t be too excited to vote. But I’ll sure as hell be casting a ballot and I’m pretty confident it’ll be for the next President of the United States. I also know that it will be for the only candidate of four options who is anywhere near competent enough, experienced enough and capable of holding that position.
I understand why people don’t like Hillary Clinton. I even understand why they may hate her. As far as I stretch my imagination, I can’t understand how anyone can justify not voting for her when considering the alternative, especially if they claim to stand for the very values her opponent shatters, but I understand she isn’t the candidate we dreamed of.
Whether you support her or not, it’s impossible to deny: the way she was treated on the stage at the first presidential debate Monday night was nothing short of reprehensible.
Within the first 26 minutes of the debate, Vox noted that Clinton had been interrupted 25 times. It was painful to sit through.
Donald Trump relied on nothing but his ability to shout louder, and ignore social cues that my fourth grade brother understands, to propel him through the debate. Time and again, Clinton was barred from completing a single sentence, sometimes even a phrase, without Trump’s resounding, “Not true,” “I did not say that,” “Check mine also,” and sometimes just a crude, loud and dripping with arrogance, “No.”
Each time this happened, my eyes watched Clinton as I saw her face melt into the expression mine has made so many times. The face I have seen on my mother, my sister, my friends and my professors. The face of crushing frustration squeezed below the surface, begging to escape, but overpowered by a strength which keeps lips pursed, gazes forward and jaws clenched.
Because if she hadn’t, if she had allowed herself three percent of the disrespectful lack of inhibition and disregard for basic human decency Trump allotted for himself, she would have buried her own race.
Every woman knows this feeling. The feeling of being the smartest in the room, but drowning in the testosterone-soaked confidence of a below-average, unimaginative and utterly foolish man with a short temper and a loud voice.
We don’t tolerate this, the way Clinton so gracefully did, because we have a shred of respect for them. We do it because our careers are on the line. Trump’s performance — which included shouting that he had the best temperament of anyone in this country while a woman who has been clawing for this podium for the last 50 years stood quietly beside him — somehow gathered him an even more dedicated group of followers.
To review his game-winning points:
He accepts that President Obama was born in the United States. If you’re good with computers you’re likely 400 pounds. He rooted for the housing crisis so he could profit off the loss of millions of Americans, but that’s just business. Rosie O’Donnell deserved what she got.
Perhaps if his academic performance was any better than a raging dumpster fire, his blatant sexism could have somehow been ignored. But it wasn’t. So by treating Clinton like nothing more than a piece of furniture, Trump didn’t just get off scot-free — he profited.
Clinton has built her entire career while being called a bitch. Too bossy, too arrogant, too direct, too manly.
What a shame it is that having the eloquence and intelligence to hold command of a room is a trait which is “manly?”
In contrast, Trump has built a career on bullying and firing. He has criticized too many women to count, on their faces, weight, periods, outfits and skin color, and everybody knows it. He knows it. I think he’s proud of it.
The fact that Clinton did not break even once, did not waver for a single moment, during 90 continuous minutes of being interrupted, yelled over, cut off and ignored by even the moderator, puts a lump in my throat.
Women are made of steel, and this one is no exception.
Perhaps the most twisted moment of the night was not any one of the 40 times she was interrupted, but the moment that Trump pulled the audience right to the edge of the conversation this nation can’t get enough of.
“I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, I can’t do it.”
Later, Trump confirmed with CNN what we all knew the moment it slipped off his tongue — his burning desire to drag former President Bill Clinton’s infidelity into a debate with his wife, the way that millions have already done since the moment she announced her bid for presidency.
To judge Hillary Clinton based on the mistakes of Bill Clinton — 21 years ago, I might add — is the epitome of sexism and stupidity. It is to suggest that her capabilities are a direct factor of the man she is married to. That a woman cannot exist as an individual, that she is merely an extension of her husband.
At one beautiful, pivotal point in the debate, Trump made the mistake of questioning Clinton’s stamina.
And as Vox noted, it was her stamina that got her through Monday night. More generally, it’s the unparalleled stamina of a woman that gets us through the many Monday nights we’ve sat through and the many that are to come.
You don’t have to love her — I really don’t — but you’ve got to admit: she is one badass woman.
Yusra Murad ([email protected]) is a junior studying psychology, business and global health.