Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hillary News & Views 7.12.16: Listen.


Today’s Hillary News & Views is about listening.

Hillary Clinton speaks to the African Methodist Episcopal Church National Convention in Philadelphia:
The families of the lost are trying to tell us. We need to listen. People are crying out for criminal justice reform. Families are being torn apart by excessive incarceration. Young people are being threatened and humiliated by racial profiling. Children are growing up in homes shattered by prison and poverty.
They’re trying to tell us. We need to listen.
Brave police officers are working hard every day to inspire trust and confidence. As we mourn the Dallas police officers who died and pray for those wounded, let’s not forget how the Dallas Police Department in particular has earned a reputation for excellence. They’ve worked hard for years to improve policing and strengthen their bonds with the community. And they’ve gotten results.
Police officers across the country are pouring their hearts into this work, because they know how vital it is to the peace, tranquility, justice, and equality of America. They’re trying to tell us. And we need to listen.
People are crying out for relief from gun violence. We remember Reverend Clementa Pinckney, eight congregants at Mother Emanuel in Charleston — and thousands more killed every year by guns across our nation. Things have become so broken in Washington that to just try to get a vote on compromise gun safety reforms, John Lewis himself had to stage a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Gun violence is ripping apart people’s lives. They’re trying to tell us. And we need to listen.
Melissa McEwan reflects at Shakesville:
Clinton doesn't pretend to have all the solutions. To the absolute contrary, she said straightforwardly: "No one has all the answers. We need to find them together. Indeed, that is the only way we can find them."
She urged listening, and that is important (as is it always). And what she said was important, too. Which is not to suggest that it is enough. No single speech, no serious of speeches no matter how many in number, ever could be.
It is only to say that I am grateful that she is talking about these issues frankly. And I need to express my gratitude because I want her to keep talking about them. I want her to keep listening, and keep talking, and keep developing better policy, and keep getting better and better at how she talks about these life and death issues.

Listening is what Hillary Clinton does. It’s what she has always done.

Looking back on this campaign, the Mothers of the Movement seem more relevant than ever. They came together and they supported Hillary Clinton. Because she listened.
New York Times reported:
The mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, and a half-dozen other black women who had lost children in clashes with the police or in gun violence, were flown in from around the country and invited to gather around a table. They were joined by Hillary Clinton, who asked them, one by one, to tell her their stories.
“She took her pad and her ink pen, she wrote her own notes, and she asked us what did we need,” said Maria Hamilton, whose son Dontre was shot 14 times by a white Milwaukee police officer in 2014.
“You are the mothers of the children who are dying in the streets,” Mrs. Clinton told the group, Ms. McBath recalled. “You have a lot of power individually,” she said. “But collectively, you need to come together. The country needs to hear from you.”
Mrs. Clinton shows a different side when she is around the mothers. She talks less and seems more maternal, growing teary and turning to Scripture in response to the women’s pain. “Let us not grow weary of doing good, because in due time we will harvest if we stay focused,” she often says, paraphrasing Galatians 6:9.
The events at which the mothers appear unleash emotional reactions. At Tabernacle Community Baptist Church in Milwaukee last month, a woman in the congregation wailed as the other mothers told their stories. “When we heard those screams, we knew,” said Ms. Nance-Holt, who had driven from Chicago to campaign for Mrs. Clinton. “That was the sound when your child has been murdered.”
After the event, the campaign brought the woman backstage to meet Mrs. Clinton. The candidate listened intently to her story, and then promised to follow up.
Last night, Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver appeared on Bloomberg Politics to preview the rally that the Senator will have with the Secretary today:

When asked what has changed, Weaver had this to say [Starts at 3:08 in the video above]:
“The secretary, over the past weeks, has really made it a strong point that she is open to listening to the concerns of the people — 13 million plus people — who vote on real substance, that she’s willing to listen, that there’s a place at the table for them in her campaign, and ultimately in her administration. So, that’s a very strong outreach on her part. It is to be applauded.”
A lot of folks in my Twitter feed were ecstatic over the new Ezra Klein piece for Vox about Hillary Clinton being a great listener and that being central to her leadership skills.

I was not ecstatic. I was annoyed. Because Klein is a longtime progressive who should have known that already. So when he asks this question...
This is an effort to answer a question I’ve been struggling with since at least 2008: Why is the Hillary Clinton described to me by her staff, her colleagues, and even her foes so different from the one I see on the campaign trail?
...he seems completely oblivious to his own culpability in not understanding the answer. Check this out:
Her explanation for the Gap is simple enough. “There’s a lot of behavioral science that if you attack someone endlessly — even if none of what you say is true — the very fact of attacking that person raises doubts and creates a negative perspective,” she says. “As someone Exhibit A on that — since it has been a long time that I’ve been in that position — I get that.”
I don’t buy it.
So as I interviewed Clinton's staffers, colleagues, friends, and foes, I began every discussion with some form of the same question: What is true about the Hillary Clinton you’ve worked with that doesn’t come through on the campaign trail?
The answers startled me in their consistency. Every single person brought up, in some way or another, the exact same quality they feel leads Clinton to excel in governance and struggle in campaigns. On the one hand, that makes my job as a reporter easy. There actually is an answer to the question. On the other hand, it makes my job as a writer harder: It isn’t a very satisfying answer to the question, at least not when you first hear it.
Hillary Clinton, they said over and over again, listens.
The first few times I heard someone praise Clinton’s listening, I discounted it. After hearing it five, six, seven times, I got annoyed by it. What a gendered compliment: “She listens.” It sounds like a caricature of what we would say about a female politician.
But after hearing it 11, 12, 15 times, I began to take it seriously, ask more questions about it. And as I did, the Gap began to make more sense.
Klein had to hear it more a dozen times to start believing it. He rejected Clinton’s own words, and those who know her best, because it didn’t fit the narrative he had in his head, the one he has been complicit in pushing, even in his own “Come to Jesus,” mea culpa article that crafts the fact that “Clinton listens” as some revelation, instead of what her supporters, advocates, and quite frankly, less privileged journalists have been noting for years now.

Klein just didn’t listen to the women, to the persons of color, who knew this about Clinton all along. And when given the chance to speak to this woman who is such an enigma to him, he didn’t ask her a single question that reflected any interest or concern on his part about the unique challenges facing women and persons of color today. Not a coincidence.

Melissa McEwan wrote this for Blue Nation Review back in May:
Hillary Clinton started her 2016 campaign with a listening tour. She wanted to meet with the people she hoped to serve as their president, so she could hear what they had to say.
The media narrative that she was “inaccessible” persisted nevertheless. But Hillary wasn’t inaccessible to voters. That was the whole point.
Because listening to people she seeks to help has been a centerpiece of Hillary’s career.
When average people from extraordinary—and often painful—circumstances are asked why they campaign with and for her, they say, almost unanimously, that it is because she listened to them.
“She’s a listener” is a thing I have read again and again, from people who have worked for her and people who have met her, even if it was only the briefest of meetings.
And should they meet her once more, she remembers the details from their previous encounter. Because listening, for her, is not a gimmick or a party trick: It’s the way she comes to understand the world, and the people who inhabit it.
Even her most fervent detractors will begrudgingly acknowledge her enviable breadth of knowledge on a vast variety of subjects. That expertise didn’t get absorbed from the ether. She is, famously, a voracious learner—and to be a learner is to be a listener.
So many of our struggles as a country, and indeed even our struggles on forming a cohesive, intersectional progressive movement, come about because we don’t do enough listening, particularly to those who are marginalized by their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or orientation.

Like Clinton, we need to listen. With open minds, open ears, and open hearts.

Today, I will open them all when Bernie Sanders speaks, and I hope his supporters do the same when Clinton takes the stage.

We’re all in this together. We need to listen.



  1. I give Ezra credit for staying wondering, not clamping on to the 'received wisdom,' he is a white man and grew up surrounded. It's the disconnect with Others, the mistrusting of the women who have long backed her, because we're women, and they don't listen to us.

    When guys like Ezra come to realize they've been played, they start thinking more widely, and that's what it takes to wade through all the institutionalized misogyny.

    Like when you find out there is no Santa Claus, and that's it for the Easter Bunny.