What do Sir Edmund Hillary and Secretary Hillary Clinton have in common? An obvious question, perhaps. In 1995 first-lady Hillary Clinton was on a good-will tour of Asia and in Nepal she was introduced to the man who ascended Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary. The charming first lady claimed that her mother named her after the great mountaineer’s famous ascent to inspire her daughter to similar heights of greatness.
The two Hillary’s may share a name but their commonalities stop there. Hillary Clinton was born in 1947 and Sir Edmund Hillary did not conquer Everest until 1953.
Is this a charming lie, or a symptom of a greater malaise? (Bill Clinton carried on the lie until almost a decade later when he mentioned it in his memoirs) And what about Bosnia? A European civilization genocided by a fascist-terrorist state led by Milosevic. Bill Clinton had pledged to support the Bosnians when he was elected to term in 1992. And he was well-intentioned, until, the first-lady took him aside and reminded him that engaging in a Vietnam-style conflict would compromise the health-care reforms she had planned. Thus, a further 25,000 men and women were killed. Eventually, the US did intervene, despite Clinton’s misgivings, and the war was ended; and what’s worse she would later claim to have been pivotal in ending the Bosnian war!
A compulsive, egotistical lie that should bar her from running for president. Never mind the damned emails! They’re just piss in a pan compared to this flood of pathological lies.
And yet, she shot to the Democrat nomination. Sen. Bernie Sanders put up a good fight, a miraculous fight given his resources and the odds stacked against him. But he was never in with a realistic shout. He ran a campaign against the establishment. That has become a by-word around the world used by against-the-grain politicians of many different hues. But what’s the harm with belonging to the establishment, why rise up in arms against it? In her latest memoir Hard Choices she makes a list of “friends”, a who’s-who index of VIP friends (which she takes the opportunity to boast about on every stop on her book-tour). A quick scan reveals the downside of the establishment. Henry Kissinger, the man who help put in power right-wing dictators in Chile and Argentina who murdered countless of their own people, amongst other war-crimes. Secretary Clinton makes no secret of receiving advice from him (Sanders, to his credit, wants nothing to do with him).
Bill Clinton Foundation has led him and his wife to share embraces with the likes of Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine’s one-time repressive leaders under whose regime many people went missing including one dissident journalist who was found beheaded. He even endorsed the then president of Kazakhstan Nursutlan Nazarbayev who held his country in a vice-like grip and was blacklisted by the US and made a so-called philanthropic deal with him via a Canadian magnate’s mining company. And what of the donors to the Clinton foundation? The donors were promised secrecy but when the New York Sun revealed some of their names it revealed an eclectic mix of tyranny; from the Saudi royal family to the government of Kuwait.
The Clintons are vainglorious, business-minded, professional suck-ups the likes of which, well, frankly, most of the world is sick of. If they haven’t been as flagrant, greedy and so damn friendly with everyone, the US wouldn’t have Donald Trump right now.
I am tempted to say America should endorse Hillary Clinton as the lesser of the two evils. Trump’s megalomaniac views are well-known. But let that not shine too bright a halo on Clinton’s already swollen ego. President Obama will be endorsing her, as of course he must. Senator Sanders will likely be forced down that route too. But right now, with both party nominations sealed, America is facing a choice between fire and frying pan.
In a few years time, will the rest of the world be saying America has let us down? With either Trump or Clinton in the oval office will the world’s politics take a dangerous nose-dive? And what of those hard-working, downtrodden Americans who are denied a humane minimum wage, sick leave, free health-care, affordable tuition? What of their plight?
I was pleasantly surprised to hear, when I heard Bernie Sanders’ first debate, the importance he gave to climate change and environmental issues. Jeremy Corbyn of the UK Labour Party did the same thing. On the other hand, Trump is a money-blinded climate change denier who and Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly favour personal interest over genuine environmental concern. And if the US isn’t on the ball with climate issues, then these candidates can do more harm to the world than we are allowing ourselves to imagine.
It’s a hard question to have to ask myself: if I were an American citizen right now, who would I vote for come November? With much grinding and gnashing of teeth, my stomach in knots, my body taut as if I were bracing myself for a bad sucker-punch, I would vote for Hillary Clinton. The lesser of the two evils, this is the state of the American race. It’s not a character issue; but what tips the balance for me is Trump’s anti-Islamic views that would only empower ISIS and his dumb environmental views which would further endanger the planet.
But electing Hillary Clinton would be like opening a Pandora’s Box. Hell, what else can we do. It’s a lamentable state, like choosing between torture or rape. And I can’t help think, once again grinding my teeth, what would have happened if Bernie Sanders had won the Democratic nomination. He has his shortcomings, but the man has good, sound socialist principles, coupled with ambitious, clean environmental plans (his foreign policy on the other sounds somewhat weak and under-formulated).
America, I think I speak for the rest of the rational world when I say, you had a golden opportunity and you fluffed it, to use a mild f-word. Above all else, what made Bernie Sanders more electable than the others, is his rationality. He is staunch on all the right things, but open to advice, good advice (not Kissinger advice) from the right people. Hopefully his remarkably successful campaign will give him leverage. He needs to be an ever-present in the Democratic party keeping a potential president Clinton in check.
Even so, even at my most optimistic a creeping sense of disappointment is cast over me like a bad twilight. Why are the likes of Trump and Clinton so successful in a post-Enlightenment era? We are at a sort of crossroads, the world and Western civilization. Our clashes with extremism and the state of the planet is forcing us to re-examine ourselves. Greed is creating a huge, inhumane inequality gap in the US and beyond, whilst we have barbarians knocking at our gates; and how do we respond, with Kim Kardashian-style politicos and an established, fuck-you-jack political clan. This generation has missed their cue. I hope it won’t be too fatal a flaw. Being melodramatic and cynical isn’t a good way to talk. But optimism feels like a damn chore.