by Ashley Quinton
The Lance – News and Politics Writer
I bought tickets to see Hillary Clinton speak in Toronto about her new book What Happened, months ago. The day couldn’t come soon enough. When it arrived I took Via to Burlington and hopped a GoTrain to Union Station, camera and voice recorder charged and ready to capture what I anticipated was going to be a life-altering moment.
Her appearance turned out to be disappointingly short, for all the anticipation I’d built.
Besides that, however, Hillary’s discussion was great – full of grace and humour.
My co-worker Georgina, who came along, wondered what I thought the ratio would be between women and men at the Enercare centre. I laughed, clearly, the answer was obvious – the majority would be women. On the Go, four women sat across from us talking about Hillary’s stop in Toronto. They commented how disappointing and appalling it was to see her lose to Trump and how many wonderful causes she’d worked on over the years – including advocating for a ‘socialist’ healthcare plan, child welfare and education, to name just a few things they respected Hillary for.
Clearly, this was going to be a love-in for a woman who won the US presidential popular vote by more than three million.
Hillary approached the stage surrounded by RCMP officers dressed as well as Sean Connery in a Bond movie. She outlined what her discussion would look like. The headings came right out of her $250 book (“free” with the purchase of a ticket).
After her remarks, she sat down with CEO and founder of Women in Governance, Caroline Codsi, to discuss the topics of her book including: Russia’s interference with the 2016 election, sexism in politics, her regrets following the election, James Comey’s reluctance to announce the investigation into Trump and Russia, Julian Assange, and how she will look to move forward for the betterment of the United States.
Clinton talked about the double standard when it comes to women in politics “when a woman advocates for others, her likability is high. But, when she advocates for herself, her likability decreases.” Likeable, apparently, as First Lady, Secretary of State and New York Senator. A lot less likable as the first female presidential nominee of a major party in the United States. Her solution sounds simple: “to get sexism out of politics, we must put more women into politics.”
This is an important topic, but Clinton didn’t delve too deeply into it. Rather, she spent most of her time throwing jabs at Trump. I get this. I think he’s a fool, to put it gently. But, when your book is a reflection of what we can do to move on, you need to address the future more than the past. But by bashing Trump, Hillary provided red meat to an audience and they ate it up – every reaction was on cue.
The polished performer that she is, Hillary’s answers to the interviewer’s questions were thoughtful and truthful. She took time to address the issue of alternative facts, “there is no such thing as an alternative fact. There can only be facts” which need to be backed up with evidence. “We are living an outright assault on truth and reason,” Clinton said, swiping again at Trump, “an example of an alternative fact is when world leaders straight out lie about facts, like the size of the crowd at an inauguration.”
Upon reflection, I understand her bitterness and playing up the blame game. I think to this day many Americans are still trying to understand why and how this happened. Was it Comey? Was it Russia? Was it just an overall dislike of Clinton? Was it the way Americans select their President in a system where the loser gets millions of more votes than the victor? All of the above, perhaps.
Overall, I enjoyed Hillary’s talk. It was motivating to see someone who has been knocked down so hard to get back up and fight for her country. To sum up the event in three words – it was inspiring, redundant and calculated. And it made me feel good to be a Canadian when she said,
“A few Canadians have asked me why I don’t move to Canada. I say because my country needs more than ever.”
Hillary Clinton is a woman who has fought hard to get where she is. She has earned her ribbons and deserves better than this. She has done so much good for her country, but people tend to forget about those accomplishments and instead focus on her negatives.
I think, if this book tour is what Hillary needs to get her groove back, then you “Go Girl”! But, add a little more bite and bark a little less.
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