It’s now old news that Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state, senator, and first lady of the United States of America, lost the 2016 U.S presidential election to Donald Trump, a business man with zero political experience. Albeit narrowly clinching the popular vote, Clinton conceded the electoral college vote to Trump, making her the first presidential candidate since Al Gore to win the popular vote yet lose the election.
More shocking than Trump’s victory, despite his lack of political experience, is his calibre. President-elect, Donald Trump, is a self-proclaimed grabber of women’s genitals, son of a Ku Klux Klan affiliate, hater of Muslims, employer but ironically detractor of Mexicans and immigrants. This calibre of man went on to defeat an intelligent, qualified, politically experienced candidate, who just so happens to be a woman.
Before I go any further, I’d like to make it clear that Hillary Clinton isn’t necessarily my cup of coffee. Yes, I’m thankful for the massive crack she left in the glass ceiling, she continues to inspire me and many women across the world to be audacious, hard working, and persistent in our pursuit of equity.
However, in line with my theory that no human being is completely good or completely evil, it is worthy of note that Clinton has made some fundamentally horrible decisions that resulted in the death of many individuals, including my fellow Nigerians.
Lest I remind my readers that not so far back in history, 2009 to be precise, in Clinton’s official capacity as secretary of state, she refused to declare Boko Haram a terrorist group during the early stages of their operation. This allowed room for them to gain more grounds and power. Clinton later on recommended that the U.S.A should not sell weapons to Nigeria due to trumped up humanitarian allegations.
Clinton, under the leadership of Barack Obama, led the Gaddafi hit squad which destabilised Libya and set the country and its citizens score years backwards in terms of development and governance. It is impossible to convince me that the “all knowing”, “all powerful”, United States of America was naive enough not to think of the consequences that would emanate from murdering an incumbent president without installing a replacement. So, no. Hillary Clinton is not my cup of tea or coffee.
The fact still remains, however, that Clinton was more qualified to be president than Donald Trump ever will be. But before I fully delve into the matter at hand, I believe this is a great opportunity to remind our leaders (not ‘inform’, but to ‘remind’ them) because they know and have refused to act on the fact that most “development partners” in Africa are self-righteous narcissists who aversely work against the growth and development of our continent. African leaders must stand up, stand together, support one another, and begin making decisions that please us first before pleasing the international community.
Before I digress too far, Donald Trump’s emergence as president-elect is not just a colossal disaster waiting to unfold but a true dampener of the spirits, hopes, dreams, and aspirations of many young women and girls around the world, which was why I decided to write this article. Trump’s victory is a slap on the face of feminists and females who work hard to succeed in life, young girls who dare to believe their dreams are valid.
How do we begin to convince teenage girls that despite Trump’s win, if they go to school, get good grades, work hard – really hard, they’ll achieve anything they put their minds to? This ideology was trashed when Trump defeated Clinton (but maybe it’s for the best because this notion has always been problematic and far from the truth. We’ll save this thought for another day).
Not only are Trump’s ideologies fundamentally flawed, Clinton outsmarts and outperforms him in every facet of life, not to talk of leadership. Clinton has significantly better people skills, she’s far more politically exposed and experienced, and she is more sensitive to diverse cultures, people, religions and races. You don’t have to love or even like her to see that, which is why it came as a huge shock to people across the world, especially us women, who believed there was no way on earth, in heaven, hell and in between that Donald Trump, a chauvinist, misogynist and bigot, could defeat his not-so-perfect but not-as-bad rival, Hillary Clinton.
President-elect, Donald Trump, is the same man who rode down the escalators of Trump Towers and addressed a gathering of pressmen saying, I quote; “Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers” and described a professional, articulate, female journalist who was tough on him during an interview that, “she was bleeding through her eyes or wherever she bleeds”. It is simultaneously shocking and scary to know that a man of his calibre will assume the role of Chief Commanding Officer of the most important elective position in world. One can only imagine how the next four years will unfold.
The most significant question we must ask ourselves however is, how big a role did Clinton’s gender play in her defeat? My take is, her gender played a role but it was not significant enough to make her lose the electoral college votes. As aforementioned, Clinton won the popular vote, meaning more people voted for her than Trump, although not significantly much.
Michael Moore, American political commentator and filmmaker, rightly stated that Trump’s victory was The Last Stand of the Angry White Man: “there is a sense that the power has slipped out of their hands, that their way of doing things is no longer how things are done[…] the rule that said girls in school should get an equal chance at playing sports.
Then they let them fly commercial jets. Before we knew it, Beyoncé stormed on the field at this year’s Super Bowl (our game!) with an army of Black Women, fists raised, declaring that our domination was hereby terminated! Oh, the humanity! That’s a small peek into the mind of the Endangered White Male.”
He further elaborates, “nearly 70 percent of all voters think Hillary is untrustworthy and dishonest. She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected. That’s why she fights against gays getting married one moment, and the next she’s officiating a gay marriage.” Moore’s analysis is spot on! Clinton’s defeat cannot be solely attributed to her gender but a plethora of factors.
For one, most female millennials couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton because they did not trust her. FBI director, James Comey’s decision to reopen her “email gate” investigation 11 days to the election dealt her campaign a huge blow which most definitely contributed to her defeat.
With hindsight, Clinton’s loss should have been anticipated considering the fact since the Great Depression, Americans have never voted a third-term leader and in the perspective of most Americans, Clinton was, by extension, Obama’s third term.
According to CNN polls, White male voters (who are predominately responsible for Trump’s victory) were sick of America’s political establishment: corruption in Washington and the perceived threat of losing their jobs to immigrants. Voting for Trump was their way of lashing out and fighting back.
Clinton’s defeat is not a defeat of women.
In summary, my message to young women and girls across the world is simple. Do not let Clinton’s loss derail your ambition. As a matter of fact, it should be a lesson to us all that when we find ourselves in the battlefield of politics, business, whatever it is we are involved in, we must rise above: fight fair, fight clean, ensure we go home with a clean conscience but fight, we must!
Do all in your power, that is just, to achieve your goals. The bad news however, is the fact that you must work significantly harder than your male counterparts to achieve the same goals due to the glass ceiling that looms. But guess what? The glass ceiling is just glass; meaning that it’s breakable, it can be shattered! Collectively, we can overcome as long as we refuse to grow weary!
Wherever you are, whatever it is you do, never, ever, ever, accept the archaic rhetoric that a woman’s place is sectionalised to a handful of rooms.
About the Author:
Osasu Igbinedion is the Host and Executive Producer of 'The Osasu Show' on AIT, Ben TV and ITV.