We spent so much time together over the past year. I wondered what pantsuit she would wear next (please not the blue or lavender; the black and beige tones are better). And I thought we would have many more occasions to bond. But, suddenly, she was torn away from us—by James Comey and Vladimir Putin. And now all we get are glimpses of her in rare photos as she traipses through the woods in casual outerwear.
I’m now in the bargaining stage of mourning. I imagine over and over, “What if that letter from the FBI were not sent?” “What if she won Florida? And then captured Michigan, which she probably really did if the ballots from malfunctioning voting machines were hand counted.” These are tortuous thoughts, but they still offer an escape from the most tortuous thought of all: that Donald Trump is the president-elect.
There are other hard realities to face. Sure, Hillary had flaws and baggage. I’m afraid it’s now clear that, like Obama had to be, the first woman president will need to be near flawless, with close to zero baggage. And she will need to be extraordinarily qualified, as well as light-the-room-on-fire likable. Clearly, a white man can be an incompetent, corrupt, compromised, indecent, insulting, unlikable, cruel, disgusting, etc.
Another harsh fact: in addition to intelligence officers being confident that Russia was behind the hacks of the DNC and Clinton campaign, there is now evidence that Putin himself was involved and chose which documents to release to harm Clinton. And the media was complicit, gleefully publishing each leak.
From voter roll purging and other suppression efforts to the FBI intrusion to the Russian breach of our elections, it’s clear that there were major efforts to manipulate the election. And now many of her supporters are wondering, why aren’t Clinton and Obama at least putting up a fight? Why isn’t she speaking out? Why is she just stomping over dead leaves through Chappaqua?
Maybe she’s purposely planting these forest photo ops and getting them out to the public. But for what reason? My hunch is that they want to show her supporters she’s okay. And if she can make it through, so can we. It’s all an effort to prevent us from leaping off the nearest building.
She knows that there are millions of college-educated women out there who are devastated and enraged by this election. They also know we’re not about to take to the streets with guns. We don’t believe in them and we don’t know how to use them. Thus, these photos are giving us ideas on how to cope, for our own self-healing. Perhaps we should take a brisk hike or curl up with a good novel. (Cue Hillary in woodsy areas and browsing independent bookstores.)
Maybe we’d get relief through enjoyment of a jazz show. (Cut to a Hill and Bill photo at a music venue, drinking themselves into forgetting November 8, 2016, with a glass of champagne—or two or three or four.) With these selfies, Hillary is saying, “Take care of yourself. Spend quality time with your pets, just like I’m commiserating with my dogs.” I also know several lesbian friends who are suffering greatly from the outcome. Perhaps they should get a picture of Hillary next to a Subaru. She could hold up a sign, “Provincetown Bound.”
If these photo opportunities are not planted and simply impromptu, we need to face another surprising truth: that she and Bill actually enjoy each other’s company. For a couple whose relationship many have figured is opportunistic and just for appearance’s sake, they are sure always together.
Mostly, Hillary is hitting the woods to work out her own emotions over the election. I’m doing something similar, except in my case, I’m pacing my room. She is probably right now walking among the trees, repeating to herself, “Me? A weak candidate? Ha. It only took the GOP, the House Oversight Committee, fake news, a contentious primary, the far left, a rogue FBI, Russia, and Putin to fight like hell to bring me down. And I still got nearly three million votes more. Take that, haters. Ooh, other hikers. I’m ready for my close-up.”
For now, I bid a fond farewell to Hill, until the next sighting. You have earned a nice and peaceful walk.
Hilary Schwartz is a comedian and writer based in NYC with love (and hate) for politics. She is a regular contributor to Political Storm.