I just finished Hillary Clinton’s memoir, What Happened, and I would equate reading it to having a long panic attack. Do you ever have those moments where you suddenly remember that Donald Trump is president and want to kill yourself? That’s what this book is, wrapped up in a 500-page package. I’m not saying you shouldn’t read it. You should. I’m just saying, in the words of Scar (from The Lion King, duh, do you really need to ask?), “Be prepared.”
I do wonder how much different this book might have been if it were published a few months later in light of the #MeToo movement. For instance, would Clinton’s takedown of Matt Lauer be made stronger by the confirmation that he is a uniquely terrible predator, as opposed to merely a bad journalist? Might she have addressed her collaborations with Harvey Weinstein? (Probably not.)
I also wonder whether this movement would have had as much traction—or exist at all—if Hillary Clinton were our president today. Certainly the country’s overall tenor, and the fact that our commander in chief is also a high-profile predator, contributed to the rise of this movement. Am I saying that I prefer a Trump administration to a Clinton one? God, no. That’s like saying I haven’t awoken internally screaming every morning since November 9, 2016.
Still, I think about the time a college student from my neighborhood had his entire family die in an accident, and a former classmate posted on the obituary, “At least one good thing came from this: You know how much everyone cares about you.” I remember thinking what a weird and tone-deaf thing that was for someone to say. But let me try to follow suit by finding the positive in a sea of despair: At least Trump’s presidency has taught some of us (those italics are directed at you, Mitch “child rapists are better than Democrats, I guess” McConnell and Paul “this is what a jellyfish looks like and all the tax cuts” Ryan) how strong and resilient we can be in the face of true horror.
And Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women and then won the presidency three weeks later, so I doubt having an affair with a stripper or asking the FBI director for whom he voted are going to sway you, but to those who still support him, do better and also why?