It’s all our fault. Just ask Kathleen Parker:
She didn’t want to say she was sick.
Hillary Clinton, that is, who recently has suffered coughing fits followed Sunday by a near-collapse during New York’s 9/11 memorial ceremony. She left the ceremony early, claiming overheatedness, and appeared to weave, lose her footing and pitch forward as she approached her car, as captured on a cellphone video.
Later in the day, Clinton’s campaign announced that the Democratic candidate has pneumonia.
Most by now are familiar with the fallout — speculation about her health, concerns about her transparency in not reporting her illness sooner — all amid the furor over Clinton’s weird comment at a fundraiser about half of Donald Trump’s followers belonging in a “basket of deplorables.”
Then again, it’s hardly necessary to point out Clinton’s physical frailties, temporary though they are, when the woman is so plainly suffering. Replay after replay shows the coughing fit and then the weave-and-bob of her 9/11 episode. Anchors and commentators hit auto-pundit to produce the question du jour: Can this woman handle the presidency? Please. This woman has a bad cold. She needs rest. She’ll be fine.
Another question also arose, at least in many women’s minds: Would anyone ask the same question about a man under similar circumstances? Here’s the more pertinent question: Why do women feel they can’t admit to being sick? You know the answer. It’s because women fear showing any sign of weakness lest others presume the worst — that she’s not as good as a man.
As the weaker sex, which is only true as concerns upper-body muscle mass (about 40 percent less) and significantly less testosterone (hence less invading, marauding and pillaging), women tend to hide anything that might suggest “weaker sex.” This is absurd on its face, but it also happens to be true.
Thus, Clinton soldiered on, trying to keep to schedule despite probably feeling awful, and paid a high price for denial. Her silence about the pneumonia wasn’t so much a lack of transparency, as news-gazers have extrapolated, as it was a valiant attempt to stay the course and preclude exactly what happened. People began to wonder about her health. Critics found it easy to conclude: She’s weak; she’s frail; she’s a woman, after all.
When did it become a liability to be sick, which all of us are from time to time? For women, it began when they entered the male-dominated workplace en masse a generation ago and worked twice as hard to be as good as a man. This likely is why Clinton would rather suffer in silence than endure further scrutiny about her ability to serve — a deplorable reality deserving of its own basket.
Once again, Hillary is the victim. This is the “woman card” defense. There is another version that claims that Hillary had to conceal, deny and lie because her enemies (the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy™) want to invade her privacy in search of anything they can use against her. She is pure as the driven snow, but they will lie and distort.
So she had to lie.
And she is still lying. But it’s our fault.