Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Problem is Not a "Lack of Transparency" but a Lack of Americans Who Give a Shit

Yes folks, it seems that yet another jaw-droppingly stupid political "scandal" is upon us. This one involves none other than Queen Hillary, who during her tenure a Secretary of State apparently decided to forego using the State Department's e-mail system and instead conducted all of her official business on her own personal e-mail account.

The stupidity here begins with Clinton herself for yet again arrogantly and unnecessarily blundering her way into negative headlines. This is a woman who has been lusting after the presidency for at least most of this current century and who has been the presumed 2016 Democratic front-runner almost from the moment she took the oath to become Madame Secretary back in 2009. In other words, despite knowing the intense scrutiny her every move would be facing as the fateful election year approaches she deliberately chose to violate the Federal Records Act and give every appearance that she has something to hide. Or, as one particularly breathless (but partisanly neutral) editorial put it:
It will be framed as an issue specific to Clinton, evidence of her inability to lead the country in an open and transparent way (or, in this case, a legal way). It will also be used as evidence of her carelessness in handling government business in an non-secure manner.

More realistically, this latest Clinton scandal is further evidence of the secret ways in which the U.S. federal government operates. In recent years, U.S. citizens have grown accustomed to learning about the terrible government practices that have been blatantly hidden from them: the N.S.A. leaks, the C.I.A. torture report, the list goes on. The fact that the majority of Clinton’s Secretary of State emails are unavailable is hardly surprising. As Vox reports, that lack of transparency is nothing new. Several officials of the Bush administration were investigated towards the end of that presidency for covering up or deleting archives of emails that could have possibly incriminated the White House.
Yes, indeed, the list does go on...and on...and on. And that brings me to the second and more pertinent reason why the focus on this scandal is so stupid: because the real problem is not Hillary Clinton's lack of transparency. The real problem in that the vast majority of the American public most decidedly does not give a shit about it.

Oh sure, the Republicans and even a few progressive Democrats will fuss and fume and try to ride this particular (ahem) donkey for as much mileage as they can possibly get out of it. But what will happen after that? Precisely fuck-all, that's what. Just as has happened with all of those other "terrible government practices" Americans have learned about in recent years, this kerfuffle will also be largely forgotten by the time Justin Bieber farts out his next shitty music video.

That is the perverse beauty of the sham two-party democracy that is currently operating in America. "You're either with us or against us," is not just a bullshit phrase that our so-called "leaders" use to justify the neverending war on terror--it's also the way they make the whole system immune from infiltration by political outsiders.

If you despise Hillary Clinton it must be because you're a fundamentalist Christian, anti-science, gay bashing, teabagger troglodyte. The possibility that you might be an antiwar, anti-imperial, anti-Wall Street, environmentally minded individual who knows her ACTUAL RECORD ON THE ISSUES is not allowed to compute within the system. The same is true for libertarian conservatives whose positions on foreign policy and reigning in the Federal Reserve match those of Ron Paul. They'll be told they better line up behind whichever warmongering Wall Street creature wins the Republican nomination or risk seeing the White House occupied by a known 60s radical hippie feminazi commie.

It's also pretty amusing that it was the New York Times that broke this particular story given the paper's own dismal record of withholding information from the public about government surveillance and employing a reporter who fabricated stories used to justify the Iraq War. That's not to say that the Hillary e-mail fiasco is not an important story nor one that the ought not be reported. It's just that if her shady investment deals back in Arkansas; her Hillarycare debacle and the Lincoln bedroom fiasco as First Lady; her senate votes for the Patriot Act, Iraq War and Wall Street bailouts; and her advocacy for the Afghanistan surge, Libya bombing, drone missile campaign and Georgia's disastrous war against Russia as Secretary of State aren't enough to convince someone not to vote for her in 2016 I really doubt that her lack of e-mail transparency is going to be the issue that suddenly changes their minds.

Bonus: "With real arrogance burning inside...I drank in the whole wide world"

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