2016 Democratic Convention

Hillary and 'History'

History is more than a series of milestones.

|

ABC News

If you watch the Democratic convention, it's almost impossible to avoid the word "history." The organizers even made signs that have nothing but that word printed on it. Usually it refers to Hillary Clinton's status as the first woman to get a major party's presidential nomination, but occasionally the term is trotted out for other reasons too. Last night Brian Williams, reacting to Barack Obama's speech, told MSNBC's viewers that "we've now just had a presidential historian confirm for us that it was history we were seeing."

I hate this kind of talk, because it distorts what "history" means. History is more than a series of milestones and extraordinary events. History is everything, including the normal stuff that doesn't stand out while it happens. History is everything, especially the normal stuff that doesn't stand out while it happens. What is "normal" changes over time, and it is that shift in what people simply take for granted that allows so many of those milestones to be marked.

A few decades ago, the idea of a female president was science fiction. Now it feels inevitable. Not because Hillary Clinton's ascension to the White House is inevitable—it isn't—but because the number of women in the upper echelons of power has been growing; if Clinton doesn't get there first, someone else should soon. Women are now routinely appointed to the Cabinet. More than half of the states have had a woman serve as governor. Women make up about a fifth of each house of Congress. The number of women in office may not come close to matching women's percentage of the population, but it represents a far larger pool of potential presidents than we've ever seen before, and it reflects a larger stream of women into both public and private roles that once were largely reserved for men.

That stream hasn't just made it likely that a woman will become president. It is ultimately far more important than a woman becoming president. Queen Elizabeth I ruled a world power, but the English women of her era were second-class citizens in ways that the vast majority of modern Americans—even, I suspect, a majority of unreconstructed sexists—would think intolerable. What we've seen over the last few decades is something more resilient than a temporary change in who's in charge. It is an ongoing, long-term transformation in what Americans do and think. In what we consider "normal."

At some point in that shift, a woman will occupy the Oval Office, just as women now hold the reins of state in Germany, Britain, and elsewhere. Yet that will be neither the climax nor the conclusion of the story. When the textbooks tell the tale of how American gender roles changed, the first female president's picture will appear. But the story itself, if the text is any good, will be about the evolution that allowed her to take power and that didn't cease once she took it. If you haven't been watching the convention, you needn't fret that you missed a chance to witness history. You've been witnessing it all your life.

NEXT: Pine Bluff Cops Killed 107-Year-Old Man And Got Medals For Doing It, Now Won't Give Them Back

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Pakistan, Turkey…

    1. …what are “shining examples of Shitocracies in action?”

      1. Well, when ?iller was PM, Turkey was slightly less of a shithole (I was there – it was a nice time to be in Turkey)

        1. (most of that was due to ?zal, though. He died while I was there.)

          1. Gabriel . I just agree… Kathryn `s st0rry is good, last monday I got a great new BMW 5-series from having made $6876 this past five weeks and-over, ten k lass-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the most rewarding I have ever had . I started this 6 months ago and practically straight away began to earn at least $87, p/h . see it here>>>>>>>. Wisejs.com

    2. India, Israel

    3. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once
      I tried it out. This is what I do… GO THIS WEBSTE… http://www.trends88.com

    4. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $16000 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here… Read More This Website… http://www.Trends88.com

  2. I can’t wait until Hillary is history.

    1. I’m convinced by her last and current campaigns that she is the best person for the job of answering phones and making change.

      Here’s hoping that’s all she ever gets to do.

  3. The Democrats have enshrined ignorance of economics into their platform, why not history too?

    1. Well, I did read that LBJ eliminated all poverty.

      1. Well, maybe not that, but he also said that he would “have them niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years”.

      2. In the same way he eliminated his bowels.

        1. So… while screaming at a congressman on the phone?

  4. “At some point in that shift, a woman will occupy the Oval Office, just as women now hold the reins of state in Germany, Britain, and elsewhere.”

    So, she’ll also be a terrible leader?

    1. That is pretty much a certainty.

      1. Even Obama thinks so. I believe the entire reason for his endorsement of her is so posterity goes easier on his legacy that it otherwise might.

    2. Actually, I hope i can get a Yea on the notion that while Margaret Thatcher might no have been perfect from the libertarian POV she was, not fact, not all that bad.

      1. Yea

      2. I think when he mentions the UK having a terrible female leader that he is referring to their current PM, Theresa May. As of this month Thatcher is now simply the first woman PM in UK history instead of the only one.

        1. You can’t count her, untill she has called for and won a general election.

        2. What are you talking about? The UK has never had a female PM. Remember, tories don’t count. Just ask any Guardian reader.

  5. Last night Brian Williams, reacting to Barack Obama’s speech, told MSNBC’s viewers that “we’ve now just had a presidential historian confirm for us that it was history we were seeing.”

    At least MSNBC is checking their sources, I guess?

    1. I found that to be the strangest thing I’ve read all week.

      1. That really is quite bizarre.

      2. Technically, everything you see is history a second after you’ve seen it.

    2. At least MSNBC is checking their sources, I guess?

      9/10 would laugh again

    3. I find it funny that they needed to claim that a qualified person confirmed that it was a historical moment. Despite it being Hillary and what walker thinks it is an obvious historical moment. BTW who was this qualified person and what are his bona- fids or can anyone at NBC claim to be qualified

  6. Excuse me! That’s HERSTORY!

    1. You mean hixtory, you paternalistic fascisty-fascist!

      1. Xirstory I think you mean.

  7. I’m shocked and offended that the signs didn’t say HERstory.

    1. It’s Jesse.

        1. I’ve read this several times now and I still can’t figure out what it means.

          1. Military slang for experienced veterans.

  8. Jesse – the last couple of pieces you’ve posted are hitting them out of the park. and *effortlessly*

    I think the apex of “Retarded History-Mongering” was reached a few days ago….. with this

    1. Wow. Those are some of the least impressive facts i’ve seen in a long time.

      1. He’s the first Tim on a presidential ticket.

        The. First. Tim.

        What a world we live in.

        1. HES THE FIRST VP FROM VIRGINIA SINCE WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON/JOHN TYLER, YO

        2. Tim Kaine is “one of America’s Dads,” along with Biden and Obama, and saying Hillary tonight is “Mom Night.”

          They can’t seem to grasp just how pathetic they sound.

          1. This is what happens when you have daddy issues and no one will pay you to do porn or therapy.

              1. As a Stepdad-American, the idea that Tim Kaine is “America’s Stepdad” is highly offensive to me. Dare i say, it is Not Okay.

                1. Does that make you a transdad?

              2. Like I said, John Oliver is like the kid with potential that keeps disappointing his parents.

                1. “We’re friends, right? You respect me? Well, get ready to stop.”

                2. It is very disappointing how many promising comedians just fuck it all up by getting political.

                  1. It’s sad. It’s gotten to where even though I disagree with most of what Dennis Miller says, I actually find him refreshing just because he’s not a rabid leftist. He has a different kind of rabies.

          2. You’re not my real dad!

            Barf.

        3. Eh. I knew a Tim once. He was kind of a dick.

    2. That’s like the baseball commentators who manage to come up with something that has never happened before in baseball for every game the call. If you have enough stats to hand, everything is a unique and “historic” event in some way.

      1. or like every football announcer claiming so and so is the best ever in the field. They do that every single game and for multiple players. John Madden is probably the worst offender of this but he has competition now that he is retired.

  9. Democrats might need new identity-affirmation shtick for every tool they run now.

    Few more cycles and it will be first gay black woman mentally handicapped nominee for prez in history!

    1. We still haven’t had any Asians in the Presidency.

    2. I do kind of wonder what their plan is after Hillary.

      1 Gay White Man
      1 Gay Black Man
      1 Gay White Woman
      1 Gay Black Woman
      1 Trannie Man-to-Woman
      1 Trannie Woman-to-Man

      So that’s at least 24 years of potential identity politics for the Democrats. If there is one thing Democrats have taught me, experience and ability to govern matters significantly less than your skin color or what you like to do with your genitals. These are the topics that matter.

      1. Next up – a Latino. Guaran-damn-teed.

        1. Absolutely not. There’s no return in it; the Hispanic community isn’t loud enough, powerful enough, wealthy enough, or homogenous enough for them to really worry about except as a talking point against the other team. It’s baffled me for eons as to why more Hispanics in this country don’t realize that. A few become somewhat powerful in local communities, but my perception is that they do better as GOP members in politics as a rule.

          1. There’s a decent chance that the first Hispanic president will be a Republican. Considering the second and third place finishers in this year’s GOP primary were, and that there are currently two GOP governors who are Hispanic and zero Democrats, the GOP seems to have a deeper bench. It will be amusing to watch the Democrats’ and their media cheerleaders’ reaction if such a thing comes to pass; will they go on about the historical first or quietly ignore it?

            1. “There’s a decent chance that the first Hispanic president will be a Republican. ”

              That doesn’t count.

      2. Given that the GOP never produces any decent nominees, I think it wouldn’t hurt them to just start nominating a half black half asian handicapped lesbian tranny every election, just to troll progressives. Just to rob them of as many ‘firsts’ as possible..

    3. Isn’t that Obama?

  10. She may be the first woman President to be impeached and removed from office.

    History!

    1. I might vote for her, if this looks likely! The salty ham tears would be so yummy.

    2. Never. The Democrats in the Senate would never vote to convict no matter what she did.

      1. True. And imagine the backlash the Reps would receive attempting to impeach the first female POTUS, no matter how much evidence that supports the claim. Its just like with Obama, either you’re with her or you’re a bigot.

        1. This of course is why the Republicans in congress will not even consider seriously opposing Obama.

      2. she could strangle a puppy and shoot a kid tonight on stage and she would never be prosecuted. And she would blame the NRA for her shooting the kid.

  11. And she reached the pinnacle of U.S. politics…by marrying well.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, folks. If the person in question were “Hillary Rodham”, who had never met Bill Clinton, she wouldn’t be the Democratic nominee. More likely, just another apparatchik pushing the party line.

    That’s the irony here. As much as they’re trying to push this as the triumph of inclusion and diversity, it really boils down to good old-fashioned nepotism.

    1. Yeah, I’ve worked with a dozen women who are more impressive than Hillary Clinton.

      And holding Hillary up as an example of a modern career oriented woman is an insult to all of them.

      Before coming to the White House, Hillary’s only professional accomplishment was getting the principals in the one real estate partnership she put together thrown in jail.

      I was hoping we might somehow see a Carly/Hillary debate.

      Hillary Clinton isn’t fit to be Carly Fiornia’s executive assistant.

      1. Generally, I’ve found that a career woman who genuinely is impressive rarely make much of an issue of the fact that they’re women.

        1. Of course; dependence on one’s gender or race-based status as a victim is a substitute for, not a supplement of, actual talent.

      2. Before coming to the White House, Hillary’s only professional accomplishment was getting the principals in the one real estate partnership she put together thrown in jail.

        Hey, that’s not true. She also made a rape victim cry on the stand in the process of (successfully) defending the perpetrator.

        1. Honestly, that sounds like the kind of defense attorney I’d like to have in my corner. Maybe she should have stuck with that.

          1. Do you, uh, do a lot of rapes, Zeb?

            1. STEVE SMITH MAKE ZEB PROTEGE!

          2. I agree. In fact, I wouldn’t even take issue with her defending an accused rapist if she were a staunch supporter of due process. A principled willingness to defend the constitutional rights of even an accused rapist would show some character.

            It’s the fact that she doesn’t believe in due process and would gladly implement ‘guilty until proven innocent’ for men accused of sexually assaulting women that make her actions so despicable and hypocritical.

      3. I was hoping we might somehow see a Carly/Hillary debate.

        I still think Carly should have been the VP for Trump.

        1. But why would Carly want that gig?

    2. Evita!

    3. All of her “achievements” are basically riding the coattails of a powerful man. A powerful, serial sexual assaulter and rapist man. Who she enabled and covered for. Quite the banner day for feminism, I must say.

    4. She’d be Hillary Lifshitz, a probate attorney or something living in Naperville.

  12. A nice observation that government is not society, Jesse, and we shouldn’t believe the lies of the government propagandists that the state is the important thing. Unfortunately, the people who write history these days are all thoroughgoing totalitarians who reveal, with almost everything they say, that they believe:

    Everything for the State, Nothing outside the State, Nothing against the State.

    Unless and until the State does it, its not real.

    1. Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.

      1. Shut up, Donnie.

  13. it reflects a larger stream of women into both public and private roles that once were largely reserved for men.

    I made history with a stream just a few minutes ago. At 1:58 PM EST on July 28, 2016, I pissed most of my urine into a urinal. And that piss is now a part of #history.

    1. Most of your piss? Already having trouble with maintaining a stream? I know someone who can examine you.

      *nods at Jesse*

      1. It’s like holding your thumb over the end of a garden hose.

        1. And the kink in the middle being your enlarged prostate?

          1. Enraged. That’s the medical term.

            1. Terms of Enragement: Warty, the Doomcock of Doom, and the Angry Prostate from Hell

            2. Thanks, SF. I’m totally using that.

              “So, in case XXXXXXXXX, the patient initially presented with an enraged prostate. . . .

              1. And you can totally play it off as an autocorrect failure if anyone says anything.

                1. I was planning to do it during a meeting.

                  “What’s that, doctor? Its not an “enraged” prostate? My apologies, I’m not a clinician.

                  So, the patient initially presented with an engorged prostate . . . “

      2. *gets out stethoscope*

        You can trust me, I worked for a urologist for 7 years.

        1. Next line will be: “Here drink this”

          And then blackout.

          1. You don’t know me!

            *hides ‘ludes behind back*

            Where were we? Oh yes, turn your head and cough please.

            1. You hide lubes behind back too, don’t you?

              1. It’s hard to hide a 55 gallon drum of personal lubricant behind one’s back, Ted.

  14. Ben Shapiro (who’s hit and miss for me, he’s got some good points, but he’s also a self-absorbed elitist with a near Stalinist interpretation of art) mentioned on his podcast that his wife (a doctor) already does far more good than Clinton would ever do. Throwing a woman, especially one as profoundly horrible as Clinton into the White House is nothing compared to the number of professional women in the workforce provided actual value.

    Just hope that they’ll be receiving their information on the first female President from American textbooks, and not from archaeological digs of the ruins of the long dead American Empire.

    1. Just hope that they’ll be receiving their information on the first female President from American textbooks, and not from archaeological digs of the ruins of the long dead American Empire.

      That train has already left the station. The only question now is how long the decline will take.

    2. Rather like Obama setting back race relations 20 years, I imagine electing Hillary will do much the same for women and feminists. I mean, sure, L.A. hasn’t seen massive rioting. Yet.

  15. Last night Brian Williams, reacting to Barack Obama’s speech, told MSNBC’s viewers that “we’ve now just had a presidential historian confirm for us that it was history we were seeing.”

    *facepalm*

    Well, Brian, at least you’re not even pretending to be serious any more. Now you can do you.

  16. Last night Brian Williams, reacting to Barack Obama’s speech, told MSNBC’s viewers that “we’ve now just had a presidential historian confirm for us that it was history we were seeing.”

    Here’s a fun game: the next time someone tells you what an amazing and inspiring orator he is, ask them for a couple of memorable quotes from his greatest speeches. The puzzled looks and hem-haw will amuse you for days,

    1. “hem-haw”

      That should count as a quote

    2. “Let me be clear.”
      “I believe”
      “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.”

      Satisfied?

      1. You left out his greatest hit: “That’s not who we are!”

        1. “All too often…”
          “Some say…”

          He should open a chain of breakfast restaurants. Waffle King.

        2. If you like your plan, you can keep it?

        3. “You didn’t build that.”

    3. You didn’t build that!

      What do I win?

      1. Free waffles!

      2. Free waffles!

        1. With a side of squirrel!

        2. *wiggles eyebrows lasciviously at waffles*

          Why, hello there.

      3. This is actually his most memorable quote for me, and it happened almost 4 years ago. Breathtaking stupidity.

      4. You didn’t build that!

        That was inspired brilliance, wasn’t it?

  17. The constant references to history about Obama and Hillary seem to indicate some sort of Marxist conception of history as inevitable “progress.”

    1. When in fact history is a circle, and the only question is will we have our few years of fascism or will we skip right from our Weimar era into our ‘East German’ phase? Right now my bets are on the latter.

  18. Instapundit: Re: Milo’s Interview on CNN

    Kosik has been with CNN for nearly a decade; so presumably, she’s well marinated in its corporate culture. The network’s founders and former executives have admitted to being in bed with some of the worst, murderous dictators on the planet, including Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro. In more recent years, the network’s commentators have filed glowing reports on North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il.

    But when faced with a gay British conservative whose weapons of mass destruction are strictly rhetorical, the death glare:

    The left knows who its real enemies are, that’s for sure.

    1. Dr Attila Tan, from Bonn

      Sure, just try to behead Atilla the Hun.

    2. Dr. Tan looks like a pretty formidable guy.

      From the article:

      The remaining staff and patients barricaded themselves in a visiting room and called the police.

      . . .

      “Then they screamed Allahu Akbar three times, in that moment I thought it was all over.

      “I thought he had killed Dr Tan and his wife.”

      The cops apparently arrived on time to stop the attack, but what are the odds? And what would it be like to look a coworker in the eye and say “I’m so glad you weren’t beheaded while I cowered in the closet.”

    3. What the hell? I mean literally what the hell? A doctor tries to treat your son and you think staging a knife attack on his clinic is an appropriate response. WTF was he trying to accomplish?

  19. So your first female party nominee is someone who regularly acts as if the law does not apply to her, and when caught out claims incompetence rather than malevolent intent. If anything, should that not embarrass women that such as person as Hilary is presented as the best their sex has to offer?

    1. It should embarrass the women who support her, yes.

    2. They only thing her supporters are embarrassed about is your double-standard, because you know that NOBODY WOULD COMPLAIN IF A MAN DID IT.

    3. I’ve often wondered that. I mean, if Hillary is so great then why do so many of her major screw ups look almost as if they were intentional and only afterwards did she play the ‘woman card’ that she’s just not as good as man so we shouldn’t expect as much out of her?

      I mean, either she’s incompetent or she’s evil. Take your pick, but in no universe is she truthful or reflect well on women.

      1. Permit me: Why not both?

  20. Hopefully she’s the first woman to lose a general election for the presidency.

    1. Its been done, multiple times.

  21. Shouldn’t we be holding these applause until the first transwoman is nominated? Is there anything worth accomplishing as a woman if a woman born with a penis doesn’t do it at the same time?

    1. You seem optimistically certain that Hillary has no penis.

      1. She has five or six at this point, but she wasn’t born with them.

      2. SugarFree has made his thoughts on Hillary’s anatomy very clear.

        1. Hillary Hugewoman and the Pseudo-Penis of Doom: Warty Hugeman’s Fever Dream!

      3. *shushes WTF*

        Dammit, SugarFree, he didn’t mean it. We need no elaboration on whatever occupies the space between Hillary’s legs. None whatsoever.

        1. Jesus, what the hell was I thinking?!

          1. Jesus, what the hell was I thinking?!

            Don’t play coy, you love the erotic stylings of our homespun Wilford Brimley.

            1. I do, yes, it shames me to say.

        2. the space between Hillary’s legs

          When did I ever mention legs?

        3. whatever occupies the space between Hillary’s legs

          Pedipalps, and tentacles with mouths, eyes, and stranger extrusions on their ends, mostly.

          1. Don’t forget the urticating hairs.

        4. I hear she has a second deformed head down there, a Siamese twin of sorts.

  22. Is the Elite Media Failing to Reach Trump Voters?

    Because influencing who people vote for is their job, right?

    /ts

    1. Well what do you expect from a whining trump supporter like Glenn Greenwald?

    2. The role of the journalist is to make information that is in the public interest available to the public.

      So, is Taylor Swift bi-curious?

  23. The first female chief executive in what is now the United States was Queen Anne of Great Britain (an entity which actually came into existence during her reign). She ruled from 1702 to 1714, which was before Hillary was born.

    Anne achieved what Hillary is seeking now – to become chief executive based on who she’s related to.

    Anne’s American subjects even named a war after her, which is definitely the kind of honor Hillary would like to have.

    Like Hillary, she wasn’t very kind to religious people who dissented from her own ideology.

    1. The main difference is that you’d never catch Hillary with a Marlborough.

      1. She’s got a Virginia Slim.

    2. She ruled from 1702 to 1714, which was before Hillary was born.

      Fool! Hillary was spawned from the eldritch emptiness outside of time as the human mind is capable of perceiving it!

    3. No, wait, it was This is a link“>Mary II.

      No, it was Elizabeth I.

      1. Wow, so many woman chief executives in America it’s hard to keep track.

        So Elizabeth was the (air quotes) “virgin queen” and had Virginia named after her. (Probably should have been called Slutsylvania, but it’s too late to change it now)

        Mary II shared the throne with her husband William III until she died in 1694, which is too bad because she didn’t get to hear the awesome funeral music Henry Purcell wrote for her.

        1. Oh, and all three had serious Daddy issues. Good thing there wasn’t psychiatry at the time or they’d have bankrupted the treasury paying for therapists.

    4. Blackbeard also named his ship after her.

  24. That’s HERstory, you misgynist!

  25. “A few decades ago, the idea of a female president was science fiction.”

    Oh come on.

  26. History, or…… “herstory”?

  27. I’m making over $9k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do…. Go to tech tab for work detail..

    CLICK THIS LINK=====>> http://www.earnmax6.com/

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.