In North Carolina basketball country, we know that when someone says he’s pulling for ABC, that means “Anybody But Carolina.” Why? Because the team most likely to win is also the team most targeted by the opposition. (Yes, I have a slight Carolina bias, inherited from my daddy.)
More than a year ago, long before the Republican Party could have predicted who their presidential candidate would be, Hillary was the Democratic standout and the obvious one to beat. The Republican strategists, long before you and I were interested in this election, were devising a costly plan to take her down. ABH, you might call it. “Anybody But Hillary.”
In searching for and testing how to most effectively attack Hillary, two targets came to the forefront, pertaining to arenas about which most of the general population would have little knowledge except what they were told: Benghazi and email servers. All the strategists would need to do is tell us over and over that what she did was criminal and she’s a liar, until that becomes our main perception of her.
In Benghazi: eexactly what did Hillary do? What should she have done? It’s hard for most of us to say. And it’s easy to forget that, during the George W Bush administration, there were 13 attacks on embassies and consulates, and 60 deaths. Or that in 2011 Hillary, then Secretary of State, warned Republicans that their proposed budget cuts to her State Department would be “detrimental to America’s national security.” But we have been told so many times that Hilary failed Benghazi that it sounds reasonable to us.
And then the emails. According to Newsweek Magazine, between the years of 2003 and 2009, the Bush administration “lost” 22 million emails, many likely pertaining to the controversial Iraq War. While not condoning “lost” emails in either case, I think I can understand how this might happen, and how you and I might make that same choice.
Let’s bring this down to a level we can understand. What if someone hacked into your personal or work email server, and all of your emails were now accessible to the public? Would you go in and try to delete before others found them? I would. My emails have no government secrets, but they are my personal communications, some with personal identifying information that could threaten my security, some with private conversations with friends, some with highly confidential work communication. Yes, I would delete.
And the private email server – The Bush administration used one of those too, set up by the Republican National Convention. Yes, the same party that has set out to convince us that Hillary is unfit to be president for doing the same thing.
Hillary was investigated and found not guilty of any criminal wrong-doing. Members of the party that brought on the investigation in an attempt to discredit her in the eyes of the public, now wish us to believe the investigation was rigged.
Many other attempts to discredit her have been tried. Her husband’s infidelity. Her religion (Yes, she’s Christian). That as a lawyer she defended a rapist (She was a lawyer, folks. It was her job. Not a chosen case, but assigned to her). I even read once that she missed Chelsea’s first day of school, making her not only an unfit president but an unfit mother. By all indications, Chelsea is a well-adjusted, intelligent, and promising young woman whose relationship with her parents is admirable.
Hillary’s opponents have long been digging through her past looking for anything that will smear her name. And this is all they have. Now, to give credit where credit’s due: they have made the most of what they had. They have successfully planted doubt, fear, and even hatred, in the minds of millions of voters.
Hillary Clinton is not perfect. She is human. I’m sure she wishes she had not used the private email server; and yes, there should have been more US forces on hand in Benghazi. On a more personal side, she comes across as strong and tough, which has served her well as senator, first lady, and Secretary of State and will serve her well if elected President, but I do wish she were just a little more personable, more genuinely magnetic, like her husband or Kennedy or Obama. So no, perfect she is not. Nor is any past Republican or Democratic president. Nor am I. Nor you.
But I like Hilary because she’s tough and smart. She has proven she can stand up through public humiliation, through the tensest of partisan opposition. She understands foreign policy. She understands diplomacy and how to interact with world powers. She knows what the presidency entails. And as the Obamas have said repeatedly, she is more experienced and qualified for the presidency than any other candidate of either party in our lifetime.
And that she happens to be a woman – I like that too. After years of “Anybody But Hillary, ” it may be hard for Americans to take seriously the first female nominee of a major US party. But we who follow the red letters of Scripture should look at Jesus’ interactions with women and see that to him there was neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female (Gal. 3:28). May we approach the election prayerfully and in a Christlike spirit, remembering the second greatest commandment–to love your neighbor as yourself, no matter which team she’s on (Matt. 22:39).