The Widdershins

Hillary’s Voice

Posted on: September 8, 2016

We’ve heard soooo much about Hillary’s voice over the years. The pitch, the tone, the volume. Throughout the election we’ve watched the pundits spend more time discussing DorothyParkertoneofvoicethe characteristics of her voice than the words she actually said. I can’t think of any other woman, whether politician or someone in power, who has had their voice analyzed this way. Even with all the criticism of her as the First Lady, I don’t remember anyone suggesting she should modulate her voice. It seems to me, this scheme started in 2008.

So, it’s nice to run across a humorous piece that talks about Hillary’s voice from another angle. It must be true because the media says so. “Hillary Clinton Has Been Finding Her Voice Since 1993”

It was January 16, 1993, and the Associated Press was ruminating on the supposedly contradictory nature of the woman who would become, in four days, the First Lady of the United States.


They quoted her mentor Marian Wright Edelman as saying, “We are complicated people… I’m sure she will find her voice. She’ll do it in her own way.

What Edelman may not have anticipated is that Hillary would find her voice and lose it and find it again over and over and over for 23 years.

And so began Hillary’s glorious adventure looking for her voice like Dora the Explorer searching for the map. She found it in Beijing in 1996, but must have lost it because everyone was looking for it again when she ran for U.S. Senate in 1999. Apparently, sheThis-way-to-your-voice1 didn’t need her voice while she was a Senator because in 2008, the search was on again. She must not have needed it as Secretary of State either because Bloomberg said so.

And then her voice was gone, because in August of 2015, Bloomberg broke the news that she had found it.

“Hillary Clinton Finds Her Voice Making Gun Violence Plea Following Roanoke Murders,” Bloomberg reported. “It really wasn’t what she said, but how she said it, with what came across as honest heartbreak.” 

2016 turned out to be a bonanza year. She found her voice several months in a row. The last, snarky line: (spoiler alert)

Asked if she would be willing to submit for an interview on this subject, the Clinton campaign didn’t respond. Perhaps she couldn’t find her voice. 

What about Hillary’s voice in the 23 years prior to 1993? The one where she gave the first student commencement speech at Wellesley, at the age of 21 years, that earned a hillary-clinton-wellesley1_custom-a8c5ca1d2549da0d91af7a8c17f059b1a7ded8c0-s800-c15prominent write-up in LIFE magazine’s ‘Class of ’69’? The voice she used to graduate Yale Law School, the one she used when she was staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund, when she was first female chair for Legal Services Corporation, first female partner at the Rose Law Firm, asked to sit on the impeachment inquiry staff during the Watergate scandal? (Now THAT’S a real scandal)

If I started listed everything else she and her voice accomplished, including when she was the First Lady of Arkansas, we’d be here all day. My question is – how did she manage to do it all if she had yet to find her voice? Hypnosis?

Another thing that always seems to be missing. Just think of all the things Hillary has not only given her voice to, but how many have been given their own voice because of hers. Women and causes all over the world who were not being heard…

In 1997, Hillary and former SOS Madeline Albright started the nonprofit Vital Voice Democracy Initiative to give voice to women and put them in leadership positions. The positive response led to the Vital Voices Global Partnership, which advances women’s economic, political and social status around the world. And that is just one initiative. Hillary speaks for so many and gives many more their own voices. The positive effects of Hillary’s voice are so numerous, they are incalculable.

You never know who will be next. This is a young woman named Ella Dawson who has a STD (STI). Rather than hide in shame, she decided to become an activist to raise awareness. She was promptly and viciously attacked by – you guessed it – the “alt-right”. She tells of some of her experience here and her feelings about Hillary’s Reno speech.

I’ve been a Hillary Clinton supporter for years now, but the importance of her campaign for President didn’t hit home with me until I watched her speech last week in Reno. I know so many writers who are terrified to even mention Breitbart by name online because we so often pay for it. There Hillary was, literally reading Breitbart headlines from the podium as the audience gasped. She was unafraid of the Alt-Right’s vulgar, distorted conspiracy theories, their character assassinations, their sexist photoshopped memes. And despite her fearlessness, she was able to recognize their danger without validating their ideology.

I have never seen a politician understand the danger of the Alt-Right. It made me sad that a fringe hate community has become so central to American politics that a presidential candidate has to make a speech about them. But it also filled me with genuine, raw hope for the first time since I became an activist. Finally, someone took the threat of the Alt-Right seriously. And it could only be Hillary, who has experienced their loathing for decades, long before Twitter even existed. She reminds me of myself, or of the woman I hope to become: resilient in the face of opposition, unbroken by decades of sexist attacks and restrictive stereotypes. Her candidacy is proof that the Alt-Right will ultimately fail. There is no amount of screaming and threatening that can halt progress.

If I could say anything to Hillary Clinton, it would be thank you. Thank you for making me feel less alone in this daily battle against hatred online. Thank you for never wavering in your pursuit of the full equality of women. Thank you for speaking, no matter how much talking heads criticize your tone of voice. Thank you for pushing this country forward, and thank you for taking us with you. I’m with you.

When I watched Hillary’s Reno speech I was a little surprised and more than a little afraid for her when she started, not just taking names, but naming names and kicking ass. Not just Trump, but Alex Jones, Steve Bannon, Breitbart… She even called out some guy on Twitter “white-genocide-TM ” and said – flat out – he’s a bigot. She called out the “nationalism” of Nigel Farage and Putin. I thought at the time how brave she was.

But, somewhere in my foggy brain, I knew I was missing something. I watched the media and knew they were missing something. Finally, I got it. It wasn’t what she did, it was why she did. She went where others fear to tread. She gave the media time to dig into the dungeons of the “alt-right” and inform the general public. That didn’t happen because they are afraid of them. Yeah, I said it. The media are scared of them. Why wouldn’t they be? They know what these people are capable of including threats to their kids and family.

While we were watching the media’s non-reaction to their own announcement that the head of Breitbart was Trump’s new CEO (say what?), Hillary and folks decided they would have to take it into their own hands. While the media was wasting time questioning Hill’s surrogates about the Foundation and emails, her team was gearing up for this speech.

So, here’s the why. Hillary didn’t want her surrogates and supporters to bare the brunt ofdear-haters-i-have-so-much-more-for-you-to-be-mad-at-just-be-patient-858536 bringing these rock-dwellers into daylight. So, she did what needed to be done. Herself. She’s not about to let these white supremacist, racist, misogynistic, bigots hide behind some benign “alt-right” label. She used those very words. She took that pressure, that burden, off her supporters and onto her own shoulders as she has done many times before. It was like she was waving both arms in the air and yelling “Hey Haters! I’m over here! Come bully ME!” It was the most courageous thing I’ve seen in a long time.

I wish I could be that fearless. I am not. But, I think I’ll leave a few Post-It notes around the house with the last words of Hillary’s commencement speech.

Fear is always with us, but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.

Especially, not now.

Open thread everyone.


80 Responses to "Hillary’s Voice"

GAgal, Coming out of regular lurkdom to say that this is a brilliant post beautifully written. Love the inclusion of the Dorothy Parker quote.

Roz in NJ/NYC

Excellent post and a wonderful read. You are exactly right, the media was afraid of the Alt-right, but Hillary wasn’t.

That is leadership.

And by the way, I love your voice GAgal and thank you for sharing it with us.

GAgal, I agree with Roz. This is an excellent post. Very well written.

It got me thinking about where the phrase “finding your voice” comes from. Does anyone know the origin? It always seems to be applied to women. It’s been used in titles of books and conferences: “How to Find Your Voice” or “Finding Your Voice” or “Where the Hell is My Voice? I Thought I Found It but Now It’s Gone Missing”. We all ( speaking for women here ) seem to be constantly trying to find our voices. I hope we can finally locate them. Very soon.

Vote Hillary 2016.

Wonderful essay, GAgal.

@1 Thank you so much Roz. Come out of lurkdom a lot more please!

@2 Thanks Prolix! I really do feel like Hillary wanted to protect her surrogates and supporters. Can you imagine what it was like for the young woman above when these creeps were stalking her? {shudder}

@3 Thank you Beata! I get so tired of the media ignoring every good thing Hillary has done. Now that you mention it, I’ve never noticed the ‘find your voice’ as a man thing either.

@4 Thanks, Sweet Sue. Hillary is one brave woman!

Wonderfully stated!

Absolutely fantastic post GAgal! Beautifully done. 🙂

Thank you for this great post, GAgal. You’ve spoken for all of us outraged over yet another aspect of the media’s trivializing, sexist “reporting” on HIllary’s campaign.

Off topic but I loved this headline on WaPo’s The Daily 202:
Matt Lauer’s widely panned performance shows the perils for debate moderators

Noooo…not at all. There’s no peril for the moderators if they’re competent and know how to handle the task.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is angry that the NBC host devoted one-third of her time on stage to asking a series of follow-up questions about her email practices as secretary of state and then gave her little time to talk about pressing national security issues.

And more:

The most galling moment came when Donald Trump repeated his demonstrably false claim that he was “totally against the war in Iraq,” and Lauer never pressed him on it.

I’m really irked that no one in the media is mentioning that when Hillary was asked how we were going to defeat ISIS, Lauer had the nerve to say to her ‘as quickly as you can’ to try to rush her.

Precarious manhood…

A 2010 study by Victoria L. Brescoll and Tyler G. Okimoto found that people’s views of a fictional male state senator did not change when they were told he was ambitious. When told that a fictional female state senator was ambitious, however, men and women alike “experienced feelings of moral outrage,” such as contempt, anger, and disgust.

HRC is being profiled on Humans of New York on Facebook. There were two photos and little monologues today already.

@14> HRC actually discusses what men can do vs. what women can do and how people perceive them for the same thing (namely, “speaking passionately” from the podium at rallies) in the 2nd of Humans of New York photo.

@13: Fred Kaplan over at Slate did mention the “hurry-up” thing a bit.

By the time Lauer got around to asking her about the Iran nuclear deal and she started to explain the deal’s context, he interrupted and urged her to make her answer quick. He did that a couple of times.

@17 Ah, it was the Iran Deal. I’ll have to watch it again to see if that was the one where he tried to interrupt her and she said ‘Matt, this is really important…’

@18: Kaplan did write that Lauer did it a couple of times so it could have been with ISIS also. I was watching but getting more and more disgusted at the same time.

@18 & 19, the “quickly as you can” came after the ISIS question from the audience. One-half the time spent on stupid email questions and when the greatest foreign policy/military question is presented its: Quickly as you can.

Like I said last night — “Lauer is a joke.” He was out of his league — maybe the next time there is a need for insight into Justin Beiber’s latest tattoo Lauer can be put on speed dial.

GAgal, I love this post! Its perfect, right down to the little pix.

I came here earlier today and posted some tweets and things on the previous post. Sorry, I don’t know how I missed that there was a new one up!

@12, there is a new hashtag on twitter today: #LaueringTheBar

@21 Thanks Annie. I’ll go check out your tweets and links.

This is the AP’s idea of “correcting” a tweet from TWO WEEKS ago.

BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.

It now will be replaced by a tweet that says:

AP review: Many of the discretionary meetings Clinton had at State were with people who gave to Clinton Foundation.

Here is Blue Nation Review’s new site.

By the way, I love that ornate outlet cover, high on the wall above Hillary in that picture. I’ve lived in old houses like that. To turn on the overhead lights, you had to walk to the center of the room and use a pull chain.

Now, how many times did you hear this today after last week’s “pee down both legs and stick a nail in a wall socket” idiocy from Judicial Watch. When will the media ever learn — probably never. Jonathan Allen’s second Clinton rule: No matter how crazy, believe it is true about Hillary until it is 110% proved not to be true.

“A group of about 30 emails sent or received by [Clinton] about the 2012 Benghazi attacks and in [the] FBI investigation into her use of a private email system contains only one previously undisclosed email,” Spencer S. Hsu reports: “The revelation of the existence of as many as 30 potentially related emails in a conservative group’s public records lawsuit briefly roiled the presidential race … But the criticisms were undercut by the single newly released email, which is a complimentary note to Clinton from another U.S. diplomat. The government said in a filing that all the other emails turned out to be unrelated or duplicates of previously searched records.”

This is the same guy who asked a candidate for President, former Secretary of State, and U.S. Senator about ISIS and said, “Please as quickly as you can.”

Matt Lauer

@24, AP is dead to me.

@25, thanks for that!

@27, ha! That is rich. Thanks Prolix!

@28, ick.

The banner on Drudge Report is a headline that 71% of doctors say Hillary’s health concerns are serious. Don’t hate me because I have to know what the enemy is saying.

This is what they don’t tell you. The small sample of doctors (250 who responded on the internet) were selected from the Association of American Physicians. Here’s what you need to know about them:

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a politically conservative non-profit association founded in 1943 to “fight socialized medicine and to fight the government takeover of medicine.” The group was reported to have approximately 4,000 members in 2005, and 5,000 in 2014. Notable members include Ron Paul and John Cooksey. Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul, was a member for over two decades until his election to the U.S. Senate.

The association is generally recognized as politically conservative or ultra-conservative, and its publication advocates a range of scientifically discredited theories, including the belief that HIV does not cause AIDS, that being gay reduces life expectancy, that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer, and that there are links between autism and vaccinations.

Yeah, Prolix, I saw that on facebook and when I researched the group i found out pretty much the whole statement is a farce. Who would go to a doctor who thought he could diagnose people on tape? Shades of Bill Frist attempting to diagnose Teri Schiavo.

GAGal, this post is truly excellent. I am also thrilled that you have joined our group of posters here. And Roz, nice to see your comments! Keep it.up.

I agree Hillary’s voice has been strong, consistent and brave throughout her entire career. Too bad the media can only hear that it’s coming from a woman.

Sorry I disappeared. I started feeling terrible last night and laid down. I slept over 12 hours and woke up twice having broken a fever. I hope I’m done with that.

They won’t stop talking about the emails until Hill wins re-election and they realize they can get no more mileage out of it.

@35: Some of the House Repubs are saying that if Hillary is elected President that they want to consider impeachment because of the email issues. 🙄–and-clinton/2016/09/09/9967d320-765c-11e6-9781-49e591781754_story.html

@34: Hope you’re feeling better now GAgal.

@34: GAgal, ditto what Fredster said. Take it easy this weekend!

@36: Are these asshats in such gerrymandered districts that we have no chance of voting them out of office? Gawd, I’m sick of this s***.

@36 Paul Ryan won his primary by a landslide. He’ll win re-election. How long is he going to coddle these people? He’ll just look like a ineffectual leader who is afraid of his own colleagues.

@37 I slept three more hours this afternoon. I’m still in the “recline” position.

@39: Yep they are. Thank your state legislature since they create the districts every ten years.

@38 Beata, fortunately I don’t have anything I have to do this weekend.

Just saw a clip with Chuck Todd who is very puzzled why Hillary doesn’t just pivot away from her email questions the way Trump does – on everything. Somebody smack him.

@40: If Ryan wants to remain Speaker, he will probably have to coddle the crazies. From Fredster’s link @36:

“Ryan and others are keenly aware that the conservative bloc is likely to be even stronger in the House next year because 10 or more House Republicans are likely to lose their seats in November, and the ones who remain will include the most conservative.”

Funny or Die has a good explanation for Trump’s rise in some polls.

In 2016, we’ve got to get Hillary elected, take control of the Senate and make inroads in the House. Then we gain control of the House in 2018 with a really strong GOTV effort and also bring back Downton Abbey.

I ask you, is that too much to ask?

@45: If the Dems pick up a couple of seats (no majority) and if Ryan wants to attempt to pass anything in the House he may have to form a coalition of the Dems and the “normal” Repubs to try to get it done. Of course that would be suicide for Ryan so he’ll probably just sit back and twiddle this thumbs.

@47: It’s possible, but the the Senate Repubs are already working on Dems up for reelection in 2018.

@33 Madamab, I almost missed your comment. Thank you.

So Trump said in a speech today that Hillary could shoot somebody right in the heart and she wouldn’t be prosecuted.

@46: That Funny or Die piece is hysterical. I have to go throw some cold water on myself to stop laughing.

@52: I’ll never think of Pumpkin-spiced anything again in the same way. 😆

Mr. Pundit has a good one over there about the “forum” that was on MSNBC. *** NOTE ***: As usualy with Mr. Pundit, lots of adult language there.

One of 22 pictures released by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library today:

Trump and Big Dog

@54 Hilarious! If only…

@34, GAgal, hope you are feeling better. Lots of rest and a shot or two of good bourbon and it will all be better.

@55: Oh the irony. 😛

@53 Fredster, was it here that I saw a link a while back to a gas station advertising “We now have pumpkin spice diesel”?

In any case, it couldn’t be more nauseating that the variety you linked to. Maybe it is true that anything in that flavor gets a bump this time of year.

@59: Pat, I don’t think so, but yeah, the merchants just seem to inundate us with that stuff at this time of year. I would not be surprised to see pumpkin spiced Dog Chow or Tender Vittles.

@60 Still more appetizing than pumpkin spiced Cheeto.

How long before the clamorous Yam takes credit?

Russia and the United States reached agreement early Saturday on a new plan to reduce violence in the Syria conflict that, if successful, could lead for the first time to joint military targeting.

@63: Yeah, you know he’ll never give Kerry or Obama any credit.

Charles Pierce has a cute little article about WaPo calling b.s. on the NYT’s continuing C.D.S.

That link also has another link to another article about the NYT’s vendetta (?).

@65 & 66, liked those links! Enjoyed the other stuff too, Rude Pundit, Funny or Die, etc.

GAgal, hope you feel better soon and have a restful weekend.

I don’t think I can do a pumpkin spice drink this year. If I go to a coffee house, the last thing I want to think about is Trump.

I saw a funny tweet yesterday. It was a pic of Matt LauerTheBar grinning and some enterprising photoshopper put orange powder all around his mouth, like he was kissing Trumps ass. Which was actually true.

annie, did you check the kitteh on the right?

@69, omg, its priceless! Love it!

@70: I’m more of a dog person but that kitteh was too cute not to have that on here.

I saw that Post callout today. On Morning Joe, Mika has been priceless lately as she has finally had enough of the equivalency. If you are a thinking person, she has been saying, you must vote for Hillary or leave the top of the ticket blank. That’s your choice, take it or leave it. Trump is not an acceptable choice. PERIOD. It seems the media is waking up to the fact that their relentless smearing of HRC isn’t just fun and games, it could make the election of the Enraged Cheeto a reality. (Don’t worry, it won’t, but it should never even have been close!) What a bunch of f*cking idiots.

Now the media will spend weeks disseminating HRC’s comments about the “basket of deplorables.” Which is a great line, by the way.

@74: LMAO! Randy Rainbow’s videos have been some of the funniest I’ve seen during this election.

Thanks for posting that link, contrask.

An important point about the “basket of deplorables” is that she was saying SOME of Becheetoed Baloney’s supporters belong there. The others, she rightly pointed out, are just desperate and she understands why.

That’s the thing about her. She does understand. We need to keep emphasizing that wonderful fact.

@76> Yes, it’s what she was saying, but almost no headline I’ve seen tries to reflect that accurately.

almost anything positive for Hillary doesn’t get mentioned in the press. I have only seen this deadline at ABC – nowhere else.

@76: This is what Hillary said about Trump supporters who are not “a basket of deplorables”:

“That other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change,” Clinton said. “It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”

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