Lifetime Series Imagines Fictional Life of Young Hillary Clinton - But Critics Treating It as Fact or Partisanship Miss the Point

Making stuff is hard. How many ideas stay at the poker table, or are left on the playground, because too much else is going on? It’s a miracle anything gets made. So you can imagine my shock when people called me a vile liberal, pathetic, STUPID (want to honor the all caps emphasis here) and a propagandist for imagining (yes, it’s fiction, not a documentary) what life might have been like for Hillary as a teenager in the 1960s.


I shepherded this piece “The Young Hillary Diaries” because I was aware of the vitriol directed at our first female candidate for president of these United States, and I wanted to offer something different. I wanted this time in our history to be recognized, regardless of whether Hillary won, or whether people “like” her, that a woman, this woman, is running for the highest office in the land. That’s a big deal, a noble deal, and I wanted to recognize that, even with people rolling their eyes that it’s the worst election season they’ve ever had to tolerate, a message I hear again and again. I can think of worse elections, actually. And I remember there never being a chance in hell for a woman to even be considered for this. I remember laughing at the thought of it.

I wanted to put this whole campaign, which uses so many high school tactics to get things done (bullying, spreading lies, espousing popularity as a virtue) into the context of high school, and through the perspective of an awkward adolescent, who desperately wants to be liked and take a role of leadership, two desires that do not always co-exist peacefully, especially for women. That was certainly true in 1964. And it’s still true today. I’m grateful that women before me paved the way so I get to be a Hollywood “propagandist” at all. But it’s still a struggle. It still feels like high school. And it still bothers me when people call me names. So I just want to set the record straight... we’re not trying to re-write history with this series. None of us know Hillary personally. This is not, in fact, a documentary and the actual Hillary campaign doesn’t even know we exist.

Try calling it the “Young Nancy” diaries, or the “Young Phyllis” secrets, and you’ll understand what we’re doing here. Perhaps the reason I felt the need to reach out, as Facebook and Twitter and the literal quest to be “liked” has infiltrated my own life, is that I’m not so different than our character. Most girls wonder if other kids like them, if their mistakes will define them, if they can ever be taken seriously, if they will be loved. Most girls have dreams that they never pursue because there is someone out there waiting to call them stupid, and tell them they’re wrong for even trying. Viewers who want to call me names, and insult this work, which champions a girl who wants to be a leader in the face of overwhelming odds, are entitled to do that. I also think they’re proving my point.

For the record, I think Trump has been a great candidate. I love the conversation he’s inspired in this country, whether he intended it or not. I love that everyone is asking “How did we get here?” It is time we dig up old biases about women, MexicansMuslimsBlack Lives, you name it, that we throw it all up and take a good look at where we’re really at, all of us. We should speak up... unlike high school, these are conversations grown-ups get to have. I’m glad we’re all talking about sexual assault, isn’t that a conversation long overdue? So we can insist on new boundaries? So that girls like my daughters might get to grow up in a new normal?

We’re obviously not unbiased. The creators of "The Young Hillary Diaries," like the rest of the country, have drawn assumptions based on what’s out there... what we’ve heard, what we’ve read. Our assumptions are that Hillary will make a terrific president, whereas others have come to different conclusions. We stand behind our assumptions, and our show. I invite you to watch it. And I really really hope you like it, and if you do, please tell all your friends.

Whoops. There I am in high school again.

You can follow "The Young Hillary Diaries" on MyLifetime.com, posting several 1 minute episodes weekly until November 8th, when we find out how the story ends.

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