A professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley has authored a fiery op-ed claiming Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s ubiquitous email scandal is only a big deal because she’s a woman.
According to linguistics professor Robin Lakoff, the real issue isn’t that Clinton created an unsecured secret email server in defiance of explicit Department of State rules in order to avoid disclosing her emails publicly. Instead, the issue is “public communication by a woman,” which the American public apparently cannot abide.
“Emailgate is a bitch hunt, but the target is not Hillary Clinton. It’s us [women,]” Lakoff says in the piece, published Monday afternoon by Time. “The only reason the whole email flap has legs is because the candidate is female. Can you imagine this happening to a man? Clinton is guilty of SWF (Speaking While Female), and emailgate is just a reminder to us all that she has no business doing what she’s doing and must be punished, for the sake of all decent women everywhere.”
Lakoff goes on to dismiss Clinton’s emails because select Republicans, such as presidential nominee Donald Trump, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Rush Limbaugh, “are not remotely Clinton’s moral superiors.”
She then adds FBI Director James Comey to the bonfire, saying he has “shown himself to be another bully of the same kind.”
“He has repeatedly talked down to Clinton, admonishing her as a bad parent would a 5-year-old,” she writes. “He has accused her of ‘poor judgment’ and called her use of a private email server ‘extremely careless.’ If Comey’s a Boy Scout, here’s one old lady who will never let him help her across the street.”
Interestingly, Lakoff then attempts to make the email scandal a free speech issue, despite no clear connection between the secret server and the First Amendment.
“If the candidate were male, there would be no scolding and no ‘scandal,'” she says. “Those very ideas would be absurd. Men have a nearly absolute right to freedom of speech. In theory, so do women, but that, as the creationists like to say, is only a theory.”
Lakoff contends that Republicans made the decision to attack Clinton on her emails as soon as she was revealed to have touched a computer and came up with the justification later.
“Since it’s a woman, doing what decent women should never do—engaging in high-level public communication—well, there must be something wrong with that, even if we can’t quite find that something,” she says. “We will invoke the terminology of criminal law to account for our feelings. She’s getting away with treason! Put her in jail!”
Read the whole essay here.
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