By Taylor Kuether – Washington, DC
Knowing I was writing a feminist recap of last night’s presidential debate (the first in what has been called the most painful election of our lives), I began taking notes the second the clock struck 9 p.m. By 9:07, I’d abandoned the note taking.
It’s nearly midnight and I sit here now, one bottle of wine in, planning to tap out a recap of some kind, but all I can put together is this: Why?
Tonight we watched the single most qualified candidate in presidential election history debate an orange trash bag full of moldy leaves and the odd rat carcass. Tonight we watched a former secretary of state, former senator, former first lady, former lawyer – I could go on – debate a Hitler-esque racist with tiny hands and an even tinier I.Q.
How did we get here? How are we even remotely in a position in which we’re willing to watch a measured, sober, qualified, tested, experienced candidate defend herself against a raging moron?
Hillary deserves better. For the first time in history, the United States is watching a woman debate in contest for the highest position in American politics and arguably the world. She’s not debating an equally qualified human being with a slightly different fiscal and social agenda. She’s debating against orange cotton candy with a turd-filled center.
She deserves better; we deserve better; women deserve better.
During tonight’s debate, Hillary hit pay equity in the first 45 seconds of her two-minute allotment. She hit paid family leave within 15 seconds after that, and affordable childcare and debt-free college not thirty seconds afterward.
Within Donald’s first two minutes, he name-dropped Ronald Reagan.
This is beautifully allegorical: Hillary is looking out for our future and Donald is fetishizing the past. Ronald Reagan’s tenure lasted eight years and ended nearly 27 years ago (or as Donald would say, 26 and a half, “to be semi-exact”).
To “Make America Great Again” is to return to America’s past. We’re far from perfect, and I hope most Americans would willingly volunteer that. But to return to our (even more) racist, (even more) classist, (even more) sexist history is exactly what it sounds like: regression.
Americans who want to elect the orange ogre are the same Americans who thrived and profited off racism, classism, sexism and any and every other ism you can think of. To “make America great again” is to return to our darker roots; roots we haven’t yet shaken, but which Hillary has made strides and intentions against.
This is no recap because this is no contest. It’s frankly insulting to Hillary and to women everywhere that this is our presidential election. Hillary deserves better, and so do we.