Why I support Hillary Clinton - 3. Trust

You've probably heard a lot of bad things about Hillary Clinton. So have I. A friend recently queried whether I really thought Hillary Clinton met our church's standard of "wise, honest and good" - here's how I answered:

"Wise clearly. Honest comparatively (check politifact for example). Good - well that is for all of us to judge for ourselves. I read her words or listen to her speak, and they very often seem to be engaging compassionately with others - the essence of 'love thy neighbor". She doesn't speak much of her faith but on factcheck.org there's a long article about her religious faith - they regularly attended church services all through the Arkansas and Washington years for example. Yes there are an awful lot of accusations about her out there. I apply the same standard to all news: throw out the ridiculous stuff (no, she does not smell of sulphur), and assume the worst half of the rest is either exaggerated or fabricated. When you look at all of it that definitely leaves a few flaws, but the worst of it is mainly that she is too defensive. If I put myself in her shoes I doubt I could have done much better given all that has happened."

On the subject of honesty, I think this chart based on Politifact analysis is the best comparison out there:

Yes, she's a politician and says a lot of things that people challenge. But only about a quarter of Hillary's challenged statements were found actually "mostly false" or worse; the only politician with this many challenged statements with a better rating by this measure was President Obama.

The most memorable of her false statements are about herself - "I remember landing under sniper fire" or "James Comey said my answers (about classified emails) were truthful" which are either major exaggerations or extreme cherry-picks. But we all say things about ourselves sometimes that aren't quite right, to make ourselves look better. It seems in these cases she had convinced herself of these things, even though they weren't exactly right. And given the many many years of public life, there are very few of these (comparatively much less than for other politicians) in Hillary Clinton's file. Unfortunately they get picked up over and over and over again like she does this sort of thing all the time. The reality is, she doesn't.

The other thing you hear all the time is about people who think she offended or threatened them - Bill Clinton's women, some of those who lost family members in Benghazi, the "staying home and baking cookies" complainers, the "deplorables". I think we all have the experience of saying something that unintentionally gives offense to others. What strikes me is that if you look in detail at each of these things that supposedly caused offense, Hillary Clinton's words were not only truthful, but also often expressing care and concern for others. It seems a pre-existing disposition to assume the worst in her is what is driving all these supposed offenses, not anything in the statements themselves. After "deplorables" she quickly apologized for saying that half of Trump's supporters fell into that category, but nobody seemed to have any interest in accepting that apology.

The people who think Hillary Clinton should be "locked up" for supposed crimes apparently think there is some vast conspiracy encompassing the Republican congress (which has spent many hours and millions of dollars investigating her with nothing to show) and the FBI (James Comey served in the George W. Bush administration before he was appointed to the FBI by President Obama, he similarly directed millions of dollars of investigation into her email troubles with no evidence of any violation of laws that would support an indictment). As she has admitted, she made some mistakes. With her email, it was unwise to combine her work email account with her personal account while secretary of state - even though this seems to be routine for members of congress, it's not appropriate for administration officials subject to FOIA. Nevertheless she did hand over all her email to an independent party to ensure all her official business email was retained - and then requested that the rest (her personal email) be deleted. You can look up the rest of the details if you feel this is a misrepresentation of the situation, but as far as I can tell nothing she did here was either especially secretive, out of the ordinary, and certainly not criminal.

Given the public release of her official emails (and her folks have been pushing to have them all released as quickly as possible - that was the issue they ran into with the FBI over-classifying things, not that they wanted to hide something, but they wanted to make something public that the FBI wanted to keep hidden) and the continued wikileaks mess, we have far far more detail on how Hillary Clinton worked as secretary of state than we have ever had about somebody running for president before. If the US public had been able to read all Jefferson's official correspondence while he was running for president, would he have won? Or any other previous candidate with similar public experience? And yet, from all that stuff out in the open, what has emerged from it? That she executed her office with a high degree of integrity and concern for the needs of our nation. That when people tried to wheel and deal (for example through networks of friends or Clinton Foundation donations) they more often than not were turned down. Now that the transcripts of many of her speeches (or some version of them) have been made available, do we see anything like the disdain for ordinary Americans that showed up when Mitt Romney was secretly taped giving a speech in 2012? Not at all - in private she is the same or an even better person than she shows in public - caring, compassionate, concerned for the poor and the disabled, not at all an appeaser of the wealthy but challenging them to do their best for this country.

Our country has become far too cynical of late. We believe everybody has an ulterior motive, they are in things for themselves or for some other cause than what they say out loud. But there really are good people out there. Hillary Clinton is far from perfect. But look at the things she says, the things she does, and I believe it's clear she has really good and strong core beliefs founded in doing what's right for everybody. She is in this race to serve the good of this nation. I never voted for Bill Clinton, but his wife is a far better person. I trust her, and I am proud now to be voting for her for president in 2016.