Four or More Years

It’s fairly easy to find fault with Donald Trump, but why do some people hate Hillary so much? One thought is that she is intensely disliked by conservatives because she is a liberal, but until recently, she was fairly middle of the road and a bit to the right of center in foreign policy and the use of force. The hatred runs deeper than a liberal/conservative division suggests. Her detractors disliked her long before she shifted to the liberal lane to appeal to Bernie supporters. So, could it be the fact that she makes these shifts, that is, that she changes her positions on issues to try to avoid accidents. Her inability to follow the rules of the road, her lack of principles, her calculating self-serving behavior may be part of the answer, but is she really less trustworthy than most politicians? Most of her political critics probably recognize themselves when they watch her modify a position, conceal the whole truth, and backtrack when called out. That perception of disingenuity could certainly make her disliked, but hated?

I suspect the roots of the hatred go back to when Hillary became first lady and was appointed by her husband to chair the task force on health care reform back in 1993. This upset some people who felt that as an outsider with no health background, she had no business being appointed to such a position. In some people’s minds, she was supposed to be a first lady, a person who takes care of the domestic responsibilities of the White House, not a political player. At the time she struck me as being far more liberal than she is today, speaking out on women’s rights issues and human rights matters, which probably made many find it more difficult to accept her leadership credentials. Female, liberal, Bill’s wife, outspoken, hick. These traits did not fit the time’s image of a powerful leader. Some of the anger over Bill’s victory undoubtedly spilled over on to her. Appointing her to chair this committee made a bad first First Lady impression.

Evidence for Bill Clinton’s unfaithfulness had already been provided on the campaign trail, and Hillary’s state of denial undoubtedly made her either look incredibly naïve or look like a liar. But as time went on and her health care efforts failed, both Bill and Hillary were placed under investigation. Whitewater was the Clinton’s Watergate. Nothing much happened initially in either case, but as the investigatory process continued, their reputations suffered badly. If investigations are constantly in the news, everyone associated with them is presumed to have some guilt. They are thought to be hiding something, even when nothing is found.

Today, Bill’s popularity has risen. Many look back on his presidency as a time of relative peace and prosperity, but this improved perception of both his legacy and his character does not seem to have rubbed off onto Hillary. Oddly, while she served as a NY Senator and the Secretary of State, she had friends on both sides of the aisle. Dislike, but no deep-seated hatred was expressed until Benghazi and the poorly handled video tape explanation was launched. The facts surrounding this case have been repeatedly investigated, often covering the same territory and taking place years after she left office. Can you think of a similar case? As Hillary said, what does it matter now? It mattered a great deal because the hate was back.

Hillary became a symbol of what is perceived to be wrong with Washington. She became a scapegoat. The worst the Benghazi committee found, after untold hours of interviews, was unrelated to Benghazi; it was findings related to the way she handled email. I doubt there is a politician in Washington with a high level security clearance who handles email correctly all the time, given all the government regulations. Hillary’s mistakes are not taken to be minor mistakes having little consequence, they are perceived to be indicators of her untrustworthiness, i.e., her inability to be trustworthy enough deal with national security issues.

Once a person becomes a scapegoat, people love to pile on. One negative perception becomes associated with another. The scapegoat is not only untrustworthy but is a liar, a sellout artist, and even a murderer (remember Vince Foster). In addition, even a minor infraction is perceived to be much more significant than it really is. Scapegoats serve no purpose if just given a bit of blame. They have to shoulder the blame for the entire group. Hillary Clinton, being the country’s scapegoat, absorbs the blame for multiple problems in the country: the economic policy, the disproportionate number of Blacks in prison, violent crime, and terrorism. The basic hatred people feel for lying politicians is transferred into a hatred for Crooked Scapegoat Hillary.

Hillary’s not perfect. Her reaction to being a scapegoat has been to become defensive and more calculating in what she does and says. If you were the target of a never-ending congressional investigation, you may think when entering political office that it would be a great idea to have a private email server. This creates a loop. The reaction to being a scapegoat validates the initial perception. If you are told at work that you are always screwing up, you will probably become more guarded. You won’t be yourself, and you’ll be more likely to try to protect yourself and cover things up to avoid scrutiny.

This post is not intended to excuse Hillary, but to indicate why the hatred some have for Hillary is way out of proportion to her acts. The hatred ignores all of her positive qualities and good works. Hillary Haters, it’s okay to dislike her positions and to question her integrity. But if you hate her, figure out why. I suspect that the facts won’t support the level of your hostility.

I admit that having Hillary in office for four or more years would be painful, largely because of all the distractions that will arise the day after she wins. The infighting will reach new heights, no doubt. Following the news about Bill and Hillary would be far less entertaining than watching the Apprentcie, but I am more confident that there will be four or more years if she wins.

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