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In the spirit of full disclosure, I am sick and tired of this election. My symptoms include nausea, headache and bouts of hysteria, followed by crippling acute depression. It’s been so bad lately I watch the stock market channel on the screen that won’t turn off at the gym while peddling the exercise bike. I’ve even started “The West Wing” from the beginning on Netflix to avoid the ridiculous, hysterical and contagious political “news” coverage.
It’s like an earworm of Disney’s “It’s a Small World,” only worse. According to Colin Powell’s hacked emails last week, we have a basket of deplorable choices. On one hand there is Donald Trump, “international pariah” and “national disgrace,” and on the other there is Hillary Clinton, a woman “with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational.”
Colin Powell is the media-revered Republican high priest who, it turns out, as secretary of state used a personal computer connected to a private telephone line to send and receive emails to staffers, friends and foreign leaders without having to go through State Department servers, according to NPR.
Remember when Powell convincingly winced at being pulled into the Clinton email story? Don’t pull a guy with his polish – so clean and crisp – into the mud, right? A general with his stature – an Episcopalian, for heaven’s sake – obviously has nothing to do with an email scandal, we assumed. Powell smiles and salutes and the good people believe. Or at least many did until they read his email.
“They are going to (mess) up the legitimate and necessary use of emails with friggin record rules. I saw email more like a telephone than a cable machine,” Powell wrote last year to his business partner Jeffrey Leeds. “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris,” he later added.
Email like a telephone? Really? And as an English major and a Congregationalist, I’d gladly take a little hubris over a little (messing) up of the friggin’ rules any day, but getting back to Powell’s critique of Clinton, a long track record and unbridled ambition are qualities every person who runs for president of the United States has, or should have, right?
As for “greedy,” if Clinton thought greed was good, she would be giving three speeches to Goldman Sachs for $675,000 every couple of months instead of running the gantlet for president, therefore keeping her tax returns – and the fact she’s on the antibiotic Levaquin and that her blood pressure is 100/70, her pulse 70 and that she has a total cholesterol level of 189 – to herself, thank you very much.
A “transformational” candidate is in the eye of the beholder. To some, such a person will move the ball up the field in the face of a fierce defensive team. To others the candidate will bungee jump off of Trump Tower.
I happen to agree with Garrison Keillor, the author and radio personality who wrote of ho-hum Clinton in a recent Washington Post column: “What some people see as a relentless quest for power strikes me as the good habits of a serious Methodist. Be steady. Don’t give up. It’s not about you. Work for the night is coming.”
But even assuming that Powell’s characterization of Clinton is correct – that she’s been around the block, she’s ambitious, a capitalist and oh so predictable – she is not an international pariah. The world respects Clinton, and she is not a national disgrace. Clinton served as first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state with distinction, so even if the choice is actually as Powell describes, it’s obvious who should win.
You may not like Clinton because her voice grates on your nerves, her confidence is off-putting and she wears too much makeup. And you might not trust her because she didn’t call a press conference or hold a rally about the fact that she was sick and determined to “power through” it, but when all is said and done, her dirty laundry isn’t out there swinging in the wind with the boxers of Powell, the guy who mansplained she needed to “be careful” about email and then later denied it. Clinton turned over thousands and thousands of emails, and they are professional, written in good English and cheerful when appropriate. There were no surprises about her person that were revealed. Who we see is who we will get.
“I have a great deal of respect for Colin Powell, and I have a lot of sympathy for anyone whose emails become public,” Clinton said recently in response to reporting on his hacked emails. “I’m not going to start discussing someone else’s private emails.”
Boring? Absolutely. Now sit up straight and put your napkin in your lap.