Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hillary Clinton, Get Thee Into The Wilderness!

I adore the coverage of Hillary Clinton's new book about the 2016 elections!  To see why, first read this piece "Hillary, Time To Exit The Stage."  Then read this fun piece, along (somewhat) similar lines: "It's Time For Hillary Clinton To Gracefully Bow Out of Public Life, Along With All Other Women."

The demands that Hillary Clinton pack her suitcases and gets a one-way ticket to the heart of the sun are psychologically interesting.  Why not just ignore her book if she so annoys particular journalists or readers?  And if she is as unpopular as Doug Schoen writes in the first article I link to, why would it matter what such an unpopular ice queen from vampire hell might scribble?  Go for a walk or bicker about something else in politics, Doug.

The "please-go-away-Hillary" people bring to my mind the role of a scapegoat in Leviticus:

A scapegoat is a person or animal which takes on the sins of others, or is unfairly blamed for problems. The concept originally comes from Leviticus, in which a goat is designated to be cast into the desert with the sins of the community. Other ancient societies had similar practices. In psychology and sociology, the practice of selecting someone as a scapegoat has led to the concept of scapegoating

It's not that Hillary Clinton is without sins or flaws, of course.  She has plenty of her own, but surely she has been saddled with many sins which belong to others, with made-up or magnified scandals, and thirty years of right-wing attacks against her and her husband. 

And, as I have written before, male politicians have gotten away with much worse sins without anyone ever pleading that they just go away and stay silent in the political congregations.  I bet you a zillion dollars that nobody would demand that Donald Trump be silent should he write a book after his presidenting is over (assuming earth still exists then).  Journalists might tear his book apart, but they wouldn't tell him to shut up.     

Demanding that Hillary Clinton be silent is a little like making sure that the scapegoat is chased into the wilderness  There she trots, with all those 1990s Clinton scandals tied to her back.  There she trots, with all the evils of her email scandals*.  There she trots, carrying away all sorts of hind-brain emotions** we have about her (and perhaps about powerful women):  her lack of authenticity, her excessive ambition, her feelings of entitlement, her role in a political dynasty.

I can understand that many are simply tired of the Clintons and the constant bickering about them and just don't like her or her politics. 

But consider this:  Hillary Clinton is the first woman in the United States who had a real chance of winning the presidency.  The first woman ever.  And yet somehow many think she should not write a book about how she saw the campaigns! 

Just imagine how historians hundred years into the future might react to those current 'Hillary-please-go-away" demands when the dust has settled (not after a nuclear war, I hope) and the historical significance of her political campaign is more visible***. 


*  Here's a delicious treatment of those email scandals:

The best evidence that Clinton never really understood the damage the server story could -- and was -- doing was when she insisted to reporters at that Las Vegas event that "nobody talks to me about it other than you guys."
Poll after poll taken around that time suggested lots of people had questions about the emails -- and that Clinton hadn't adequately answered them. Two thirds of people in the 2016 exit poll said Clinton's use of a private email server bothered them; seven in 10 who said that voted for Trump.
The simple fact is that whether or not Clinton thought the email story was a legitimate one (she didn't), she should have been able to understand that voters she needed did think it was a real story and did have questions about why she did what she did.
Clinton then -- and now -- viewed the story as an entirely media-created narrative that regular people didn't care about. She was wrong then and she's wrong now.
People might not have cared about the email story in a vacuum. But, they cared deeply about it as a window into how Hillary Clinton conducted her business. And Clinton never -- not really -- gave them an answer that put those doubts to rest.

Mm.  I might argue that the way Donald Trump ran the Trump University or his foundation or how he spoke about pussy-grabbing should also have given the voters a window into how Donald Trump conducted his business, right.

Then there's the fact that the mainstream media covered the Clinton emails almost obsessively:

Ninety-one percent of the email coverage was negative in tone.  This must affect those reading the stories.  They were told, day in and day out, that something very very fishy was going on.

** These are hind-brain emotions, based on how we interpret women and men, and what we view as acceptable levels of ambition and proper behavior in women and men.  Ambition is still viewed as more appropriate for men than for women, women are expected to show more warmth and emotions to be viewed as authentic and caring, so a female politician cannot be too "lawyer-like."  But if she appears too emotional, she is then viewed as too weak to be a leader.  A Catch-22.

*** Hillary Clinton is now more often viewed as the establishment candidate, the representative of powerful inside interests, the member of a political dynasty and so on.  She is the old broom with worn-out bristles.  But the fact remains that in the longer-run her main significance will be as the first woman who almost got the presidency of the United States.