Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My Biggest Problem With Hillary Clinton

The biggest hurdle in the Democratic Convention is coming up, the one that concerns me.  It's my biggest problem with Hillary Clinton.  Bigger than her expediency, than her tendency to overthink and show hypercaution before acting.  Bigger than her hawkishness, and her defensiveness.

Hillary is going to give her speech.  And, well.  She's...um...not a good public speaker.

There's a reflexive assumption on the part of liberals and leftists that to make that statement means you're anti-woman.  That's balderdash.  It isn't sexist.  It's the reality of Hillary Clinton.  

Women can be amazing, remarkable, compelling speakers.  I've heard many in my career as a preacher, women whose voices soar and inspire and uplift.

In the secular world, you want to hear what a capable female rhetorician sounds like?  Listen to Michelle Obama.  Even before the home run she hit at the convention, I knew she was brilliant.  Warm, smart, genuine, and passionate.  She conveys strength and compassion, and can move a room with authority.  Ms. Obama is just incredible in front of a crowd.  She wows me.

But just like men can drone and men can harangue, women can be terrible at public speaking too.  Listen to any Hillary ad, and you hear it.  The most personal and genuine part of those ads comes when she says: "I'm Hillary Clinton, and I approve this message."   Then, she's alone in a room with friends.  She sounds capable and at ease.  When she's unguarded and comfortable, she's really rather compelling.

But when she's in front of a crowd, she sounds like...like...like what?

She sounds like you're in Statistics 101, and the professor is talking, and everything they say is going to be on the test.  You try to focus, you do, but they're talking directly from the Powerpoint, and you're on slide number twenty four of a hundred and seven.

Her inflections are forced, her rhythm, stilted and academic.   She struggles for warmth of tonality.  Then, when she goes for emphasis, her eyes go all Emperor Palpatine and her tone sounds more angry than passionate.  "Raaaah RAAAAAH  Raaah RAAAAAH!"

You're flashing back fourth grade again, and the class has been rowdy, and your teacher is giving the whole class a talking to.  The teacher is trying to keep it together, trying not to go off, and you can feel the strain in their soul as.  They grit their.  Teeth and.  Try not to.  Scream at.  THE CHILDREN.

It just doesn't work.  I'm sure she's been coached, but though she's smart and thoughtful and diligent and in a sane world would be the next president, (Lord, I hope this world is saner than I think) it just isn't an area of her giftedness.   Even Hermione Granger wasn't good at everything, eh?

And that's a problem, because that impacts the energy of a community.  I've known wonderful spiritual pastors who were great at the bedside or in the boardroom, but couldn't preach their way out of a wet paper bag, and that makes things hard.  You have to be able to stir a room.  To stir a people.

What to do?

At this late hour, there's not much that can be done.   But the need is great.  

Given that desperate times call for desperate measures, I wonder, perhaps, if the judicious application of whisky might help.  Two or three shots of a nice Kentucky Bourbon, administered ten minutes before her speech.   

Maybe a beer chaser midway through.

That could backfire, I'll admit.  There could be weeping and truculence, as the carefully constructed restraint of her Methodism fell away and she rambled for twenty minutes about Bill and just how much that all hurt.   

Or she could get loose, let herself trust herself, and nail it.

At a bare minimum, it'd make for an interesting speech.


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