No, Hillary Clinton's 'People' Cover Didn't Include A Walker, Guys
Hillary Clinton graced the cover of People this week, and it didn't take long for conservatives to pick the photo apart. Because how do we talk about female politicians if we aren't talking about their looks, amirite? A popular theory amongst right-wing pundits was that Clinton was leaning against a walker in the People cover shot. Really? Scroll down, take a real, close glance, and tell me that is a walker. Have you ever seen a walker with ornate iron work? Is this the Victorian era? I know that no one could really, viably believe that if she was using a walker it would've made it into the frame.
It was unfortunate troll-bait for the same type of people who wonder if Hillary's impending grandchild will have any type of effect on her 2016 bid for president. Thankfully, the walker myth has been debunked by People: Seriously, journalists had to take time out of their schedule to call People and confirm that it was a garden chair from the Clinton's backyard. That's a real thing that happened.
It's hard to imagine that a male politician, clearly leaning on a chair in the same pose, would've inspired the same kind of speculation or Twitter punchlines. Since the announcement of her first grandchild in April, there seems to be an inordinate amount of focus placed on Hillary's age and the subsequent implications of frailty rather than her political career. Because God forbid we could take her seriously. The grandmother peg only gave critics the avenue to ram their latest attacks through.
While serving as secretary of state in 2012, Hillary fell and suffered a concussion. During her People interview, she was asked if she suffered any "lingering effects" from the injury. “No. I did have a concussion and some effects in the aftermath of it, mostly dizziness, double vision. Those all dissipated."
The next part of her response was nothing short of artful.
“At the inauguration for President [Barack] Obama’s second term, I was standing [with] Paul Ryan. I said, ‘Congressman, I read that you’re a great athlete. Have you ever had a concussion?’ ‘Oh, yeah. Three at least.’ I said, ‘Were they serious?’ He said, ‘One was really serious. I’m so grateful to my mother, because she said, ‘You’re grounded. You’re going to rest until it goes away.’ And of course it did.’”Paul Ryan, of course, ran for vice-president under almost-president Mitt Romney in 2012. See what she did there?There have been grandfathers in the White House. There have been people in the White House who have had frail health. Why, then, does it suddenly become an almost ageist issue when we talk about Hillary? Take a good, hard look at the make-up of political bodies in the United States and tell me that you don't see people just as old, or much older, than Hillary. Still, no one questions their health in otherwise unrelated interviews.