Noo Saro-Wiwa reports on the interview of Hillary Clinton, and her daughter Chelsea, conducted by Mary Beard on November 10, 2019. The discussion focuses upon their book,The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience’. Saro-Wiwa follows the Party Line on Clinton as Feminist. Yet the Clinton’s passed Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act in 1996.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) is a United States federal law passed by the 104th United States Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The bill implemented major changes to U.S. social welfare policy, replacing the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
The law was a cornerstone of the Republican Party‘s “Contract with America,” and also fulfilled Clinton’s campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it.” AFDC had come under increasing criticism in the 1980s, especially from conservatives who argued that welfare recipients were “trapped in a cycle of poverty.” After the 1994 elections, the Republican-controlled Congress passed two major bills designed to reform welfare, but they were vetoed by Clinton. After negotiations between Clinton and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Congress passed PRWORA and Clinton signed the bill into law on August 22, 1996.
This was just a integral part of the Clinton’s Neo-Liberal Reforms that was a frontal attack on poor women of color. The fulfillment of Reagan’s ’76 racist campaign tag line, ‘Welfare Queens Driving Cadillacs’? Noo Saro-Wiwa hasn’t done her home work on Mrs. Clinton, which renders her Feminist propagandizing on her behalf, in the ultra-respectable, not to speak of intellectually highfalutin, Times Literary Supplement, appear just like another bourgeois magazine, Vanity Fair’s glossy chatter comes to mind. Some telling quotes from this essay:
“This book is for everybody who gets discouraged or gets knocked down and needs to figure out how to get yourself going again”, said Hillary. “We’re in a bit of a … struggle going on right now in our country.”
Beard mentioned the American swimmer Diana Nyad (b. 1949), who at the age of sixty-one swam from Cuba to Florida through shark-infested waters. Beard asked, “Was she gutsy or stupid?” Hillary responded: “I feel like I swim with sharks all the time”.
As Hillary pointed out, the development of women’s rights, from Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) to the present day, has been very quick in broad historical terms. “This is really blink-of-an-eye history, and I don’t think we can take it for granted.”
Playing devil’s advocate, Beard asked whether it was right to present these women as “irremediably gutsy”, their vulnerabilities hidden away. We don’t give enough space to the people who can’t spend their whole lives being resilient. In Hillary’s view, it is important to note that everyone has ups and downs. “I’m on a campaign against perfectionism. Young women think they have to look perfect, act perfect.”
The conversation moved on to the media’s fixation on women’s wardrobes at the expense of their opinions or policies. Chelsea aired her frustrations on the issue: Hillary had to wear dark blue trouser suits on the presidential campaign trail just to stop the press conversation from drifting towards her appearance. Beard, who has experienced her fair share of body shaming, was more blunt about her situation: “So effing what?”, she exclaimed, to a roar of laughter from the audience.
“The way I reacted when that happened to me”, said Hillary,
was to ignore it. And ignoring it because … given how people’s brains work, if a woman looks like she is agitated or upset she often is viewed as not being able to handle it whatever it is, so … when I was being stalked on stage during the second debate I’m trying to answer questions about health care and immigration and the economy and my mind is going, ‘What is he doing?’
And you know, I did entertain whirling around and saying, ‘Back up, you creep – you’re not going to intimidate me’. I did think about that, but I also then sort of played out in my head … the news, you know, the political press saying, He got to her, he rattled her; look at that, she’s gonna, you know, stand up to whatever, Putin – and she can’t take Donald Trump stalking her? Hmm, that doesn’t seem too presidential. It’s a really hard choice … When people try to denigrate you and undermine you, pay no attention whatsoever.
An actual Feminist would have never supported ‘ Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act’ but a Neo-Liberal political opportunist would and did! The Clinton pose as Feminist is pure fiction, confected after the fact of her support for a Reaganite political agenda, under the rubric of reform. To also ignore her Neo-Conservative Foreign Policy, her alliance with Clapper and Brennan in the Russia-Gate hoax is to subject history, to the most violent kind of re-write!