Monday, October 31, 2016
Can "the left" please get clear on what we have against Hillary Clinton? It probably doesn't matter -- as "the left" we're pretty puny. But as objects among the targets of the right wing noise machine, sometimes articulate ones, we might matter a little during the coming Clinton presidency.
So it wouldn't hurt to do a practice run by deconstructing our reaction to James Comey's vacuous disclosure of something indistinct about emails involving Anthny Weiner, Huma Abedin, and the prospective president. It seems to have come about because an FBI director knew the wingers in his department would blow it open if he didn't speak up and then Republicans would beat up on him. Comey's a self-seeking coward apparently. This is significant to us? Really now!
Substantively, it's hard to imagine we, "the left," give a shit. I mean come on, this axis is just tabloid gossip fodder (consensual fodder, unlike Mr. Trump's sexual assaults on women within his reach).
And we have no need to jump in with the media firestorm. In any Hillary Clinton media pile on, we can be tempted to participate -- hey, we the ignored get to spend a few minutes on the side of the noise machine. How satisfying ... and the right will offer endless opportunities during a Clinton presidency.
That's more bullshit. Unlike the right, we don't hate Hillary Clinton for being an uppity woman whose life has been about desacralizing the works of that loathsome old huckster Ronald Reagan. (Good oped by Susan Faludi on this point.)
We don't hate Hillary Clinton because she is "crooked." Like most all people who enjoy privilege at whatever level, she is almost certainly guilty of bending and warping the rules for her personal and family benefit. (Not of course on the scale of Mr. Trump, but that goes without saying.) In this, she's just normal in a society in which we're taught it is every person for themselves. Law constrains most people at least somewhat, including Clintons. We think it should constrain everyone equally, don't we?
Unlike the right, we don't hate Clinton for her domestic policies. She could always be better. But if she has her druthers (likely she won't) she'd implement measures that materially benefit poor women of all races and ethnicities. That should matter. And, perhaps even more than Mr. Obama whose own race has forced him to keep his head down, she'll be open to pressure from communities of color on justice issues because these communities will have elected her. She needs to defend immigrants in any way she can within the law. That's not a reason to hate her.
A wiser left would largely avoid hating politicians at all. They do what they do in response to incentives we should seek to understand - and to influence. Some of them may seem congenial human beings and many do not, but that is just how it is.
We will be properly and intensely critical of Clinton because 1) unless constrained, she'll bend toward the interests of financiers and corporations that gouge ordinary people and 2) she's historically a war hawk, inclined toward military adventures in the face of increasing imperial impotence. "Jail the bankers!" and "No more wars" are slogans for "the left." "Crooked Hillary" and "Jail the bitch" are the calls of people who are as much our enemies as Clinton's enemies.
Let's try to remember that, lest a Hillary Clinton presidency confuse we, "the left," about who we are.
So we don't have to hate Hillary. Spewing Clinton-hate is the right's tactic. And we certainly don't have to adopt right wing memes as we respond to another President Clinton.