Friday, November 11, 2016

I can't empathise

When Barack Obama was elected for the first time in 2008, I was over the moon. I couldn't wait for the day he would take the oath of office. When he was re-elected a second time, I dared to dream that the United States was coming to terms with its past once and for all. But the 2016 presidential race in the United States produced no such candidates as would inspire as Barack Obama managed to do twice in the past decade. We got an entitled insider and a race-baiter, instead. It was a tragic end to Mr Obama's presidency.

I don't sympathise with the millions of Clintonian supporters; their "devastation" doesn't leave me feeling angry, afraid or sad. I wish I could say I empathise with them, but I don't. Hillary Clinton was a deeply flawed candidate with a very long record in public service, a record that inevitably sunk her chances at the presidency. One of the most tragic legacies of her husband's presidency in the 1990s was what was known as the crime bill and the most important soundbite was when she called young, Black teenage boys in conflict with the law "superpredators", a term that has endured long after it has been demonstrated by science and statistics that young, Black men are not predestined to lives of criminality.

I don't doubt that she believed that there was a vast right-wing conspiracy against her and her husband, but it does not explain the overweening secrecy they cultivated about everything to do with their public lives, including their relations with high-ranking officials of the Democratic Party. The revelations that last two successive chairwomen of the Democratic National Convention manipulated the system in order to guarantee Mrs Clinton victory, first during her primary campaign against Bernie Sanders and second, during the televised presidential debates against Donald Trump, paint a sordid picture about what she imagines "fair play" means.

But it is her war-mongering stances that place her beyond the pale for many of us. If it was not for her full-throated support for "humanitarian" intervention in Libya, the Islamic State would not e filling in the vacuum left behind after a NATO aerial campaign allowed enough jihadis to topple Muammar Gaddafi's regime and murder him in cold blood. My continent has been rendered more unsafe by the creation of a safe haven in Libya for murderous, suicidal religious zealots because of a policy of intervention that has been shown, again and again, to be deeply flawed. (Before you point out that Muammar Gaddafi was an evil dictator, I ask you to consider how, as Secretary of State, Mrs Clinton was unable to turn her jaundiced eye towards the patron royal family of evil doers, the al Sauds, and the billions of dollars they have invested in spreading Wahabbism all around the world and jihadis that their strand of Islam and money inspires and supports.)

During her campaign, she had the gall to make sweeping condescending remarks about Donald Trump's supporters while being portrayed as high-minded and having taken the high road, as Mrs Obama would have us believe. Labelling Mr Trump's supporters as being in a basket of deplorables she seemed incapable of even contemplating that quite possibly half the voters who hated her had legitimate reasons for doing so and that not all of them were motivated by misogyny, self-loathing, racism or sexism.

She found it impossible to empathise with them, she found their grievances inauthentic and she underestimated just how much "middle" America was suffering even after Barack Obama's valiant efforts to right the economy. She forgot a cast-iron rule of presidential politics: don't leave any vote unturned. Instead of fighting to persuade these voters of the justness of her candidacy, she dismissed them, much as they had been dismissed by "mainstream" media, Hollywood and liberal-progressive activists, as semi-literate, Luddite, sex-starved misogynistic serial sexual predators being stupidly led by the nose by Breitbart, Fox News and Ted Nugent.

No, I don't sympathise or empathise. She has no one to blame but herself. She is responsible for her loss. It says something that almost half the eligible voters did not go to the polls and that Donald Trump won the presidency with about a quarter of the eligible voters. If she had been an honourable, half-way honest, half-way decent candidate, she would be doing her victory lap today. She isn't and she won't.

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