Two nights ago was the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. President Cheeto decided not to go before the invitations had even been sent out. Shocking, right? He figured his time could be better spent talking at yet another rally, seemingly forgetting again that the election’s over, than sit down to dinner with the press and hear some well-deserved criticism. But this isn’t about that dinner.
On that same night, political satirist Samantha Bee provided her own “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.” It was pretty entertaining, actually. Will Ferrell performed a stand-up routine of his iconic George W. Bush impression. Jake Tapper interrogated Samantha Bee as only he could, and Bee eviscerated several news organizations (specifically, CNN and Fox News) while congratulating others on a job well done. The purpose of her dinner was to promote good journalism in a world growing crazier by the minute.
One segment stood out to me. Mostly because it was unexpected but also because I cried. That’s some pretty powerful stuff. Samantha Bee performed a monologue as if Hillary Clinton had won. If we hadn’t elected a walking cheesepuff with golden pubes on his head, we’d have our Madame President.
It’s an intriguing bit of wishful thinking. I’m not delusional…at least, I’m not about this. I know that there’s no way we’ll ever have Hillary Clinton as our Commander-in-Chief. It pains me to say this, but that boat has sailed. Even if Trump was impeached tomorrow and subsequently removed from office for treason, that wouldn’t change. Even if Mike Pence was found to be complicit in this investigation and was thrown in jail, that wouldn’t change. Even if they held a special election because of the contentious results of the election (contentious because of Russian hacking and the FBI’s last-minute reopening of the investigation into Hillary’s emails), that wouldn’t change. Hillary Clinton will never be our president. We are stuck with leaders forevermore that are not her.
I’ve accepted this. At least, I thought I had until I saw Samantha Bee’s depiction of an alternative present. And it broke my heart. Since the election, I’ve seen a lot of negativity thrown Hillary Clinton’s way. Hell, the negativity was aimed at her with expert-like precision during the election, too. She’s undergone so much bad press and multiple investigations for years. Even now, when people say they still don’t like her, I ask why. I have to know–what was wrong with her? How could anyone choose Trump over her? They very rarely give me a real answer. It’s usually, “I just didn’t like her.” Or, “She seemed fake.” These arguments make not sense to me, since Trump isn’t exactly the posterchild for likability or honesty.
Despite all these trials and tribulations, Clinton developed into a smart, well-reasoned, and compassionate human being. That’s the part that kills me. Her every move has been analyzed and reanalyzed for decades, yet she’s never been charged with anything. If there’d been something to charge her with, believe me, it would have happened. Other than using a private server as well as a personal phone to send work emails (which both Mike Pence and Colon Powell have done, thank you very much), all of Hillary’s actions have proven to be above-board. Wild rumors might have abounded, but she’s never been anything but a hard worker who cares about the people under her care.
So, ask yourself, what would life be like right now if she’d won? Well, I guarantee she wouldn’t be going golfing every weekend. Bill would be staying in the White House, unlike Melania. Our secret service wouldn’t be run ragged trying to keep the president safe. Trump would be making her life hell, but so would all the Republicans in Congress. She would have renominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. I argued with a Social Studies teacher (a colleague of mine) about this one, but I believe that she would have done it. He figured that as a politician it would be more advantageous to choose a more liberal-minded judge. I, however, looked at the Republican Congress. She would have done the same and chosen the more moderate Merrick Garland. The Republicans would have breathed a sigh of relief not to be getting another liberal on the Supreme Court, and the Democrats would have been appeased that the seat wouldn’t have been stolen from them.
More than anything else, though, what would the atmosphere be like? Would you be terrified that Hillary would bomb North Korea in the morning? Would you wake up to your twitter account to find out she’d thrown out a dozen or two crazy rants at 3 a.m.? Would the majority of Americans be looking at the free press like they’re the enemy of the people? Would we have ever allowed her family to take over key roles in the White House? Would there be random press releases where the president spent all their time yelling at the press for being fake news? Would you be worried about losing your health care or access to birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood? Would you wake up every morning feeling sick to your stomach because of what is happening to our country?
Hillary Clinton’s presidency would have been so vastly different from today’s. Sure, we would have been just as divided as we are now, but the democrats wouldn’t be clearing out craft stores of their posterboard every weekend. Clinton would also be the target for multiple investigations (she always is), but unlike Trump’s, these investigations would turn up nothing. Clinton would be working towards gaining more jobs in the midwest, not lifting sanctions on coal that will produce no coal jobs anyway. She’d be working with EPA, not trying to demolish it. She saw that alternative sources of power were the way of the future, so we’d move the country gradually away from fossil fuels. Her first 100 days would have been a booger for her considering all the opposition she’d face in Congress, but this is Hillary Rodham Clinton we’re talking about. This is Hillary. She’s faced opposition every step of the way, first at home, then school, then Arkansas, the White House, the Senate, and finally as Secretary of State. She’s a worker, and as all three of the Presidential debates she shared with Trump proved, she’s fucking smart.
But that’s enough indulging. Hillary Clinton will never be president, and it’s masochistic to contemplate.
I highly doubt she’ll ever read this, but Hillary Clinton, I just have one thing to say to you. It was my greatest honor to vote for you last fall. My state has mail-in ballots only, and I voted for you so fast that I practically broke the sound barrier getting my ballot to the post office. You are a good, kind individual who deserved better than what you got. I will never regret voting for you.
For those of you who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, I have just one thing to add. I hope you’re happy.
Photo from The New Yorker