I must confess: I just don’t get it.
Since long before I was eligible to vote, I’ve always been an avid follower of politics, politicians and policy. There’s probably a picture of me somewhere at 7 years old with my “Bobby!” button from Robert Kennedy’s tragically shortened presidential campaign in 1968. I spent innumerable hours in the Spring and Summer of 1973 watching the Senate Watergate hearings, live on TV, and I spent nearly every Fall weekend during Junior High School and High School knocking on doors, leafleting at supermarkets, and making GOTV calls for my father’s friends and associates who were running for local political office.
In every election since reaching voting age — national, state, local, and primaries — I have cast my vote based on careful study of the politicians and issues. Somehow, although I can never seem to get birthday cards in the mail to my relatives on time, I’ve never missed an absentee ballot deadline. I read newspapers, magazines and websites, write letters to editors and my state and national representatives, I blog and comment on blogs. All this because participating in and understanding politics is a vitally important part of how I engage with the world.
Yet with all this knowledge and analysis and awareness, I don’t understand the visceral hatred, the vitriol, and the ill-will directed at the Clintons — Hillary in particular — even (or especially) by people in their own party. They arrived on the national political scene full of confidence, competence and political and personal achievements. At the same time, there appeared a fully-formed opposition assailing them with a load of unfounded accusations, vile rumors, and allegations of such spectacular wrongdoing which not even the Kennedy family, with nearly a century in the political spotlight, had been able to amass. In the 16 years since they’ve been a part of the national political scene, that body of hatred has continued to grow, out of all proportion to anything they could possibly bear responsibility for.
I’m not naive or oblivious to scandals and faults. I read the same newspapers and websites as many of my friends and contemporaries who maintain this disgust of Hillary (and Bill), I go to the same rallies and protests, I live in the same states and neighborhoods, I work at and patronize the same businesses as some of her vocal detractors. Yet somehow, I admire her — them — for their intelligence, skill, and dedication to participating in what they believe is the betterment their country.
I just don’t get it.
So, I’m asking anyone who reads this to help me understand. This isn’t specifically about this election; however a lot of the negativity from within her own party is really coming to the front during this campaign. I know this will be ugly, and I know that the hatred is not always rational. I’m hoping, however, that maybe we can all learn something here about political motives, expectations, tactics, and personalities which can explain what can earn one person such animosity.
Please. Help me understand.