Lesser Of Two Evils

The 2016 election has come to be described as a choice between the lesser of two evils. Evil seems like a pretty strong word, so I decided to look up the actual definition.

adjective: profoundly immoral and malevolent. “his evil deeds”
synonyms: wicked, bad, wrong, immoral, sinful, foul, vile, dishonorable, corrupt, iniquitous,depraved, reprobate, villainous, nefarious, vicious, malicious
noun: profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force. “the world is stalked by relentless evil”
synonyms: wickedness, bad, badness, wrongdoing, sin, ill, immorality, vice, iniquity, degeneracy, corruption, depravity, villainy, nefariousness, malevolence

Wow. If you’re gonna label someone evil, you’re saying they’re profoundly immoral and malevolent, not to mention vicious, malicious, wicked and depraved.

I’m gonna be honest. I’ve never been a fan of Hillary Clinton. I didn’t vote for Bill in either of his Presidential campaigns. I’ve also never been a fan of the current GOP candidate**. One thing that always stood out to me on his “Apprentice” franchise is how he seems to enjoy pitting people against each other. I don’t see that as a smart way to run a business.

There are a lot of accusations and investigations out there for both Hillary and the GOP candidate, but if we go purely on what we hear from their own mouths over the years, whether that be interviews, debates, rallies, etc.—you can substitute most of the synonyms for evil when describing the GOP candidate’s behavior and the literal words he’s spoken—or tweeted. Bad, wrong, foul, vile, dishonorable, villainous, vicious, malicious, malevolence—and the list goes on. And I’m not just talking about this election season. This applies if you go back over the years and look at what he’s said about any number of topics, individuals or groups and continues through the writing of this post.

Am I saying Hillary is innocent of any wrong-doing? Absolutely not. There are plenty of examples where she isn’t so keen on admitting to her mistakes or taking full responsibility for them. However, while accusations and inferences may point to something evil, according to the facts that would be stretching it a bit.*

What I see is a lot of people who hate Hillary Clinton. So much so they’re willing to go against their values to make sure she doesn’t get elected. They’re standing by their political party at the cost of abandoning the principals of their faith. Hindsight is 20/20. Most of us think we would never have been bamboozled like the Germans were by Hitler, but I’m watching it happen with my own eyes in the year 2016 in America. The only explanation I can see for this phenomenon is the fact it’s rooted in hate. Hate is a strong word too. But if the shoe fits…

verb: feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone). “the boys hate each other”
synonyms: loathe, detest, despise, dislike, abhor, execrate
noun: intense or passionate dislike. “feelings of hate and revenge”
synonyms: hatred, loathing, detestation, dislike, distaste, abhorrence, abomination, execration,aversion

For the past 32 years, people have hated Hillary Clinton with a vengeance. Is it data and facts or opinion and gut feeling? Have we each done our own due diligence when it comes to research or do we just go along with reports in the media or opinions and baseless claims on the internet believing anything that lines up with our own biases? I admit I was surprised to recently learn Hillary’s never been convicted of anything. That’s a fact*. But she tends to be defensive and private so there’s an assumption that lack of transparency translates to being corrupt. Nevermind that the GOP candidate’s supporters don’t apply this rule to him when it comes to his taxes or the many irregularities in his business practices.

I’m not saying Hillary’s never lied or stretched the truth. But according to PolitiFact* she’s the most honest of ALL the candidates who ran for President in both parties this election season. Are we holding her to the same standard we hold other politicians to or is there a higher threshold? Many believe President Bush (#43) lied about WMDs—despite the lack of proof. Sound familiar? If you’re holding Hillary accountable for her husband’s extramarital escapades are you also holding Jackie O responsible for JFK’s? What about the support for former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert by his Senate colleagues after his sexual abuse conviction of minors? The very nature of what he did was evil based on the definition. The wives of many politicians (and church leaders) who have been caught in affairs have stood by their men. Not only are they not described as evil—there’s sympathy and forgiveness—but for Hillary there’s suspicion.

I didn’t know Hillary’s long history of championing for kids and the underprivileged until the recent Democratic National Convention*. Apparently, I’m not the only one as I’ve heard any number of commentators, journalists, and talk show hosts state their surprise as well. We all know about the supposed lies and investigations, but how could we have missed this long, consistent history that goes back to her college days of diligently working on behalf of others?

Maybe we didn’t want to know. Maybe it’s easier to demonize someone who belongs to the wrong party. Someone who’s willing to stay with a philanderer. Someone who’s not the perfect public image. Hillary identifies herself as Christian and has a long history in the Methodist church. One of her favorite sayings attributed to John Wesley is, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” And while much of her life’s work seems to support this mantra, she is not extended the same grace as her male counterparts—often for lesser transgressions.

Many die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters hate Hillary so much they’re voting for the GOP candidate even though he’s the polar opposite of what Bernie stands for. And despite the fact, Bernie has point-blank asked his supporters to vote for Hillary.  Many Hillary-haters who fear the GOP candidate’s presidency are willing to risk voting for a third-party candidate who has no chance of winning because they wouldn’t be caught dead voting for her. Let’s be honest, if Bernie couldn’t get the votes with his huge grassroots momentum, voting a little-known third party for the sake of your conscience or not voting at all means the highly probable risk of putting the GOP candidate into office. Can your conscience live with that?

I haven’t been registered with any party for quite some time. I’m unspecified (which is different than independent). I did not watch the GOP convention—it was just one way for me to protest their presumptive nominee and the leadership of those in the RNC who have endorsed the GOP candidate. When I heard the replays of Chris Christie leading his mock trial of Hillary it made me shudder. I had visions of mobs taking their perceived justice into their own hands. It reminded me of the Bible’s description when the people went into a frenzy and demanded the criminal Barabus be freed because they hated Jesus. What about the Salem witch trials? Or the lynching of black people? Both scenarios take justice into their own hands and proclaim guilt based on emotion, not facts. This country is supposed to be built on the premise of innocent until proven guilty, but the RNC had a former prosecutor who is also a governor and a former presidential candidate whipping the Republican crowd into a frenzy over things Hillary’s never even been charged with.

Do I think she’s never lied? Nope. Have you ever lied? I have. Has she made bad judgment calls? Been there done that too. I get so frustrated with email—too much spam, lost emails, emails that I find in my draft box that I swore I sent. If I could have a server in my basement that didn’t go through Google, I’m pretty sure I would jump at the chance. In hindsight, Hillary realizes it was a mistake (I’m sure she wishes she’d just gone with the inconvenient government server), but are we really supposed to believe she was trying to compromise national security? Clearly, the address was not .gov so everyone who received or sent an email to and from Hillary knew hillarysbasement.com wasn’t the secure government network—it’s not like she was trying to hide the fact. At least she learned a lesson as Secretary of State—back when hackers weren’t as good as they are now.

For those of you who like the GOP candidate because he’s not afraid to speak his mind. This is the very reason I would never vote for him. Because I know his mind based on the words he’s spoken. Using the same criteria on Hillary—she is not just the lesser of two evils. What is sometimes used against Hillary—the fact she cares about her image and what people think of her—actually helps keep her in check and more balanced. The President is supposed to represent the people, not themselves. She has shown a capability to evolve and adjust her policies based on the will of the people—even if sometimes it takes a nudge from Bernie Sanders.

I get it. You never thought you’d be voting for Hillary Clinton. I didn’t either. I sure didn’t expect to ever write a blog post defending her. But I’m willing to admit a lot of my “gut feelings” were based on media hype and my own bias—not actual knowledge. I still don’t consider myself a fan, but I have learned enough to be more than comfortable with casting a vote for Hillary Clinton this November.

** Given his penchant for publicity, as a matter of principle I have made an effort not to mention the GOP candidate by name this election season. I have edited this post and removed all mentions of the GOP candidate’s name and only refer to him as the GOP candidate. 

*A few fact checking articles 

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