Editor's note: This is part of an ongoing conversation about talking about politics during the election season with kids.
With official nominees for both major political parties now, your kids are probably wondering what you think about the upcoming presidential race.
This blog previously featured How do you talk to your kids about Trump? After the Democratic National Convention, we turn our attention to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. As an Inquirer article described, analysts say Clinton is many things: graspingly ambitious, brilliant, thin-skinned, a do-gooder, deceptive, caring, inauthentic, shockingly unself-aware, entitled, bighearted, vindictive, funny, mean, foulmouthed, and dedicated to God.
No matter what your views are on the candidates, the approach remains the same: let them ask questions, keep it simple if you can, and try not to get angry. We asked two Temple University professors for talking points meant for kids when it comes to issues surrounding Clinton.
Nyron N. Crawford, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science, Temple University answered the following questions:
Is the email scandal a big deal? Was she being dishonest?
The email controversy was serious. Many people were concerned that Secretary Clinton's use of a non-secure private, personal email account while she was U.S. Secretary of State put government secrets at risk by allowing sensitive information to potentially fall into the hands of hackers or other people who could cause trouble for the United States. Secretary Clinton later acknowledged the mistake of using this private email system, apologized, and took responsibility for the decision.
Still, there are some who believe that she was dishonest about certain parts of her story, including whether she knowingly exchanged classified or sensitive materials via email. Either way, her use of a private email system has been called "extremely careless," meaning that she didn't give sufficient attention or thought to avoiding harm or errors in her use of the email system. We can all learn to be more careful in our decisions and behavior, so to avoid mistakes.
Why is Clinton's name associated with Benghazi?
Hillary Clinton served as the U.S. Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, meaning that she was responsible for representing the United States to other countries around the world. To do this, the Secretary of State relies on more than two-hundred embassies, which are a "…diplomatic delegation from one country to another." Put differently, an embassy is the headquarters for the U.S. within the borders of another nation.
In 2012, an embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked, and several Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Clinton's name is associated with Benghazi because, as Secretary of State, she was responsible for the safety and security of our embassies overseas.
Did Clinton treat Bernie Sanders fairly during the lead up to the convention?
Political campaigns are intense, highly competitive, and can even be mean-spirited. Candidates have to work hard and try to convince voters they are the best person for the job. They might talk about their leadership skills, for example, or their accomplishments, or how their experiences have best prepared them to be an effective elected official. It is not always so nice, though.
Sometimes candidates do and say things that are disparaging or unfair to the other candidates. But, for the most part, Clinton avoided this kind of mudslinging leading up to the convention, and treated Senator Sanders with fairness and respect.
Donnalyn Pompper, Ph.D. Professor, School of Media & Communication, Temple University answered these questions:
How come there hasn't been a woman nominated for president until now?
That's a really good question. Many Americans have wondered the same thing! Actually, several women have tried. Victoria Woodhull, a leader in the woman's suffrage movement, was the first female candidate for President of the U.S. in 1872. Margaret Chase Smith ran for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1964. Shirley Chisholm vied for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1972. Geraldine Ferraro was Walter Mondale's running mate in the Democratic bid for president in 1984. Sarah Palin was John McCain's running mate in the Republican bid for president in 2008. Shirley Chisholm is one of my heroes because she was the first major-party African-American candidate for U.S. president.
Big change takes a long time. Voters in the U.S. are unaccustomed to seeing women in leadership positions. Roots may be traced back to the early 20th century when women campaigned for the right to vote – long after men had this right. Today, the number of women leading Fortune 500 corporations is barely in the double digits. Then there's the gender pay gap. Women don't even make the same salary for doing the same work as men. Yet, it's different for women in many other parts of the world where women can be the number one political leader, including Germany, France, Liberia, Brazil, India, Pakistan, South Korea, the Central African Republic, and more. The more women we see in top leadership positions in U.S. politics and business, attitudes will begin to change.
Is she being treated fairly in the media compared to other male candidates?
In some media, yes. In the majority of media, no. Accepting women in leadership has been difficult for media to accept, too. Few major media organizations are headed by women. Our ideas about femininity in this country rarely include qualities of strength, intelligence, and ambition. So, instead of talking about Clinton in terms of her qualifications for the job, media debate about her hairstyle, ways she dresses, her legs and breasts. They do so because this is how media are accustomed to writing about and picturing women, in general.
Clinton faced staunch criticism about the way she looks even before she officially became a First Lady in the 1990s. Media didn't know how to handle a highly intelligent woman who happened to be married to President of the United States. Media were even less equipped to talk about a strong woman in 2008 when Clinton ran for the Democratic nomination. Media still rely on old stereotypes about women, unfortunately.