Hillary Clinton is trying. Trying to stay out of legal trouble, trying to appear to be less robotic, and also trying to look like she’s not trying. Her campaign announced that she would now be funnier and more spontaneous. There’s nothing more spontaneous than planning, and no one funnier than that person at the party who is trying so hard to be funny. While she gets an A+ for effort, at times it seems like she is an overzealous student who wants to be valedictorian so badly she takes too much Adderall and loses her mind.
Clinton’s headquarters are in Brooklyn, New York, the capitol of curating an “I just woke up like this” image. There, among the artists and trustfund babies is a Dr. Frankenstein PR experiment. A little Instagram here, a little self-deprecating joke there, and here is Hilbot 2016. But none of her efforts have convinced me she’s not pulling a reverse Toy Story and actually shuts down when people leave the room. We have just gone through an administration where we’ve seen the president and vice president cry publicly multiple times, unafraid to show their hearts and having the courage to be vulnerable. If America wanted a wax figure as Commander-in-Chief, we would have elected Mitt Romney.
Her campaign announced that she would now be funnier and more spontaneous.
There is something at play here, something more than a bad public image, that has many people deboarding the Clinton train. If we can’t tell who you are, how do we know we can trust you? The Benghazi scandal is a divisive and confusing ordeal, a political funhouse mirror that is deeply unsettling mostly because it’s so hard to know who to believe. Is it really driven by a right-wing conspiracy? And what of the email fallout; did she know she had highly classified documents about North Korea on an unsecure server?
The fact that I’m not entirely sure about what she did or didn’t know is enough of a trigger to give me flashbacks to 2005, when the “who knew what, and when” inquiry arose out of the Iraqi war. Clinton would not be pleased to be compared to the Bush administration, but many people, particularly Millennials, are weary of political dynasties (particularly when the politician’s moral compass is going all Bermuda Triangle on us). The conversations I have with my left-leaning peers are centered on the question: What if Joe Biden has Elizabeth Warren as a running mate and we have to choose between them and Bernie Sanders? Clinton isn’t even a part of the equation for many of us.
Clinton isn’t even a part of the equation for many of us.
Clinton will likely continue to reinvent herself, but the results won’t be what she’s looking for. If she’s not comfortable with herself, we won’t be either. If I run into her on the streets of Brooklyn, I will tell her this: Be yourself, play to your strengths, and don’t forget who you are. When someone tries to be someone they are not, they seem awkward, stilted, and somewhat untrustworthy.
If Hillary wants to be president (and there’s no denying she does), she’s got to stop listening to focus groups, polls, and anyone else. She’s got to figure out what she believes in so much that we can’t help but believe, too. Otherwise, HilBot 2016 will be as passe as an old iPhone. Robotic politicians went out with Dwight Eisenhower. In this era, being human means admitting fault, embracing your uniqueness without exploiting it, and showing emotion. Humanity 2016, anyone?
Lori Chandler is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, NY, which is the most unoriginal sentence she has ever written. You can look at her silly drawings on Tumblr, Rad Drawings, or read her silly tweets @LilBoodleChild. Enough about her, she says: How are you?