She has a crucial story to tell, yet critics on both left and right are shouting her down, writes Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman
There has been much talk of late from professed fans of American history about how important it is to remember the major figures from the countrys political past. Sure, those statues are celebrating confederate generals who were willing to die for the right to enslave black people. But still we mustnt forget our political legends, fellow Americans! So its rather intriguing that theres one part of American history that many people are desperate to forget to silence, tear down, steamroller and push out on an ice floe: Hillary Clinton.
Clintons memoir about the 2016 election, What Happened, was published this week and, boy, some people are not happy about it. It is too soon for her to be speaking, goes one complaint (reminder: Bernie Sanders published his book a week after the election and no one complained about that). She is riling up her base and dividing the Democrats, cry others, an idea that is almost sweet in the faith it puts in a book that the vast majority of Americans wont read, written by a woman who couldnt even rile up enough people on a campaign trail that all Americans endured for two years.
She is still not accepting blame and that is repulsive, tut other people when, in fact, she accepts quite a lot of blame in the book. Ive tried to learn from my mistakes. There are plenty, as youll see, and they are mine and mine alone, she writes. But because she points out that other factors played a part in her loss (guess what? They did!), and hasnt nailed herself to a cross and thrown herself over Niagara Falls, she is a responsibility-shirking neolibtard.
Themost overwhelming sentiment about Clinton and her book is that she just needs to go away. One poll this week had 61% of respondents saying Clinton needs to retire, but given that she pretty much has done, what they really mean is she needs to shut up. Meanwhile, Amazon is having to weed out vicious reviews from people it reckons have yet to even read the book and are engaged in a coordinated campaign to rubbish it.
Obviously some of this anger has come from the right, because there are a lot of people who see no contradiction in defending statues commemorating racism while condemning memoirs by presidential candidates. But it has also come at least as much from the left.
Last Sunday the New York Times asked Whats to be done about Hillary Clinton, the woman who wont go away?. When Clinton appeared at an event back in May, one writer from New Yorks liberal tabloid, the Daily News, implored, Hey Hillary Clinton, shut the fuck up and go away. The following month, VanityFair, a decidedly anti-Republican publication, ran an article headlined, Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into the Night? It surely doesnt need spelling out that no other failed presidential candidate including the many who have written books about their disappointed hopes has been on the receiving end of this kind of vitriol, this determined attempt to silence.