ISSUE | CAMPAIGN 2016

There is no hidden, inner Hillary

Before and after Monday's presidential debate ("Showdown," Tuesday), opinion has swirled around a familiar view that puzzles me: the perception that Hillary Clinton needs to "reveal her true self," to show who she "really is." Do the commentators want an account of her fears, angers, passions, religious experience? It seems the persona she presents is who she really is - a tough, intelligent, capable person fighting to hold presidential power and advance causes she believes in.

Her history and experience deserve fair scrutiny, but this endless longing for some sort of inner-self revelation seems another effort to transform real life into a media parade of styles and personalities.

I do not recall demands that male candidates "show more."

|Ann F. Miller, Malvern

Clinton defies conventional labels

Why is it that the media seems tougher on Hillary Clinton than on her opponent?

Years ago, anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss wrote about society's obsession with cataloging the world, such as classifying sea creatures. But every now and then, an anomaly (like a platypus) would turn up that didn't fit the classification scheme. The creature would be considered a threat, an abomination.

To the media, Clinton is such an abomination. She doesn't fit categories. Betrayed by a philandering husband, she acted neither the victim nor the woman scorned, and instead emerged empowered by it. A liberal who's never liberal enough for liberals (too hawkish, too pro-business). Too sangfroid to be a bleeding heart. The categories blur.

Why has the narrative, "Clinton the untrustworthy," resonated more than "Trump the untrustworthy" (or "the bigot," "the ignoramus")? It's the fear of the blurred genre.

Imagine, a president in a pantsuit. She might as well be a yeti.

|Raul Lejano, associate professor, New York University, New York, lejano@nyu.edu

All Trump cares about is money

One of the most striking aspects of the presidential debate was Donald Trump's preoccupation with money. He is a businessman, so keeping his eye on the bottom line (and his bottom line) is natural.

Setting aside that his business practices include six bankruptcies; that he's been criticized by other businessmen, including Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg; and that he has failed to pay for work he commissioned, he would have us believe that money is all that is important in this country. He places little to no emphasis on values such as sacrifice, loyalty, compassion, and commitment to the greater good (unless it involves money). Saying it "makes me smart" to pay no taxes is astonishing, reflecting selfishness and a lack of appreciation for the services our tax dollars support - services without which we would be more like the third-world countries to which he likened the United States.

To have this man represent our country, given what is important to him, makes me cringe. We must not let this happen.

|Marc Inver, Lafayette Hill