Grin and bear it

Megan Grossman, Contributing Writer

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been the target of recent criticism from opponents who assert that she did not smile enough during her televised interview at the Commander-in-Chief Forum with Matt Lauer on Sept. 7. Lauer spent a sizable portion of his 30 minutes with Clinton discussing her email controversy and is accused of hurrying her through other important platform issues, such as domestic terrorism.

Following the interview, Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus condemned the presidential candidate’s demeanor in a tweet, reading “@HillaryClinton was angry + defensive the entire time – no smile and uncomfortable – upset that she was caught wrongly sending our secrets.” Clinton quickly fired back, tweeting, “Actually, that’s just what taking the office of President seriously looks like.”

Before a president takes office, an oath is taken to solemnly swear the faithful execution of the job to one’s best ability and to do everything in one’s power to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. There is no reference made to a mandated demeanor. At this point in her campaign, Clinton should be afforded the opportunity to present her earnest opinion regarding controversial issues in a solemn manner.

As I head to the voting booth for the first time this November, I am not going to choose my candidate based on how they display personality in the media; rather, I am going to choose the candidate who is best fit to progress the integrity and prosperity of this nation. I do not wish for a potential U.S. president to focus on a pleasant appearance while addressing serious issues, such as personal scandals, domestic terrorism, foreign policy, and military affairs; these are solemn topics of debate which should not be handled blithely.

More perturbing to me is the fact that I do not recall an instance when a male political figure became the subject of media attention for not approaching an accusatory session warmly. Men asking women to smile conjures outdated and degrading female stereotypes, which hold no place in politics today. Clinton could be the next leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world; she should not be held to a distinctive character standard that her male predecessors have not. The American people deserve to have a clear perspective of her platform without petty distractions. The discussion the following day should have prioritized what came out of her mouth, not the slope of it. However, instead of furthering the content of the Commander-in-Chief Forum without interference, the Democratic presidential nominee spent Sept. 9 with the popular Humans of New York blogger Brandon Stanton discussing her experiences with sexism and the affect it has on her media-perceived aloof persona.

Quite frankly, I believe the countenance of my president is largely irrelevant. I do not find it disconcerting that this candidate has a reputation of being aloof; I find her air to be fitting for the situation. Personality is not a defined skill set for the commander-in-chief. Instead, the focus should be on non-reactionary abilities related to philosophy, leadership, and diplomacy. I believe that emotions play a very minute role in politics, which are best approached analytically. In my mind, Clinton’s reserved nature, in marked contrast to the Republican candidate, is a political asset.

I support Clinton’s “taking presidency seriously” face and commend her subsequent steely stance as a candidate and as a female. Though critics will undoubtedly remain in her “face,” I hope that she will continue to lead by just grinning (or not) and bearing it.

(Visited 228 times, 1 visits today)