Hey, quick disclaimer, things are a little crazy and overwhelming in my life at the moment, so sorry that this went up a bit off schedule.
So, this post is going to be both the author’s note and the first chapter, showing up.
The note starts with a pretty appropriate sentence: “This is my story of what happened.”
For those who are fans of CinemaSins…Roll credits.
Clinton acknowledges that she isn’t attempting to write a comprehensive, objective account of the 2016 United States election. I think that’s a good thing to make clear straight away. I think that the reader needs to know exactly what they’re in for and what to expect.
The first chapter discusses what it was like to attend the inauguration. In a word: uncomfortable. She appreciated the well wishes and gestures of sympathy that she got both from her supporters during the campaign, and from former U.S. presidents that also attended. I can scarcely imagine what the election night was like for Hillary Clinton herself. It was certainly an emotional night for myself, and frustrating in that, as has already been said many times before, that she got the majority of the popular vote, but still lost the electoral college. (If anybody is reading this from outside of the United States and doesn’t understand the electoral college, I understand your confusion. I’ve tried to explain that particular system to people that have grown up in other countries, and…there have been some interesting reactions.)
One funny, or perhaps horrifying, anecdote was that the ponchos that were originally to be used in case of rain…looked like Ku Klux Klan hoods. Yikes. Whoever was the first to realize that and put a stop to it is a true American hero. I can’t even imagine the memes that would have ensued.
One thing that sort of irked me is a paragraph where there’s a certain word that Clinton wants to use, but seems to be reluctant to use. She talks about authoritarian attempts to define reality. She describes widespread gaslighting without using the actual word. Still, while I take issue with tiptoeing around the name of something that should be named, I don’t know if it happens too much, so I’m keeping my mind open.
I struggle to comprehend the feeling of cognitive dissonance that Clinton must have experienced during the inauguration. In her own words: “The rest of the say was a blur of greeting old friends and trying to avoid eye contact with those people who’d said terrible things about me during the campaign.” To have to continue to rub elbows with people that said the types of things that were said.
One thing that I hope Clinton goes into later is the issue of voter suppression. There’s no doubt that there’s a problem with laws that pretty opaquely target individual groups to stop them from voting. That’s a whole can of worms, but it’s a problem that I hope the book spends more than a couple of paragraphs on it. She also mentioned that some Americans simply don’t bother to vote. There are a myriad of reasons for that, and again, I hope she goes into more of her thoughts on that later.
Overall, this chapter sets up a good foundation for what is to come. I have a lot of book to get through, and a LOT of opinions to write.