Republicans across the country have been been beside themselves with fury after it was revealed that the FBI had discovered “30” emails pertaining to the September 2012 terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya that were kept on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server but not handed over during the original transfer. Convinced that they finally had the incriminating evidence they’ve spent four years searching for, Donald Trump and the rest of the GOP have been howling for their release – so the FBI complied, releasing the emails to the Wall Street Journal.
Of course, they won’t find what they’re looking for. The majority of the “thirty” emails turned out to be duplicates of emails the State Department already had, and just one email was entirely withheld from the FBI – a personal note of support from the US Ambassador to Brazil, Thomas Shannon, during Clinton’s public interrogation at the hands of the ravenous jackals on the House Benghazi Committee:
“I watched with great admiration as she dealt with a tough and personally painful issue in a fair, candid and determined manner,” then-U.S. Ambassador to Brazil wrote in a message sent to State Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills official account and forwarded on by Mills to Clinton’s personal one. “I was especially impressed by her ability to turn aside the obvious efforts to politicize the events in Benghazi, reminding Americans of the tremendous sacrifice made by Chris Stevens and his colleagues but also insisting that our ability to play a positive role in the world and protect U.S. interests requires a willingness to take risks.
The warmth of the email should be a reminder to all of us that while Secretary Clinton is portrayed so often in the media as an emotionless robot, there’s a reason for that. It’s enormously difficult being a woman in politics, and nobody knows that better than Hillary Clinton. She has been subjected to a relentless barrage of spiteful, misogynist attacks over decades simply for being a woman brave enough to take a prominent role in politics. While there are a million reasons the right-wing has a pathological obsession with destroying Hillary Clinton, it’s clear that the energy that it stems from is the same thing that animates the Donald Trump campaign – white male fear.
The conservative white man fears that a powerful woman (or Mexican, or black man, or Muslim, etc) might treat them they way that they treat women, which is for the most part absolutely disgraceful. Anyone spending more than ten minutes on Twitter knows firsthand how women are subjected to horrific abuse from the right-wing simply for existing and expressing opinions; the witch-hunt targeting Hillary Clinton is simply that harassment writ large – by men with much sharper axes to grind.
That is why she is demeaned, insulted for her appearance when that is utterly irrelevant to her abilities as a politician. That is why the Monica Lewinsky scandal is still invoked to this day, as irrelevant to politics then as it is now. Why the obscene language of the online alt-right is the language used to describe Clinton at Trump rallies. Anything and everything is used to delegitimize her accomplishments, to divert attention from the facts, to rob her of her humanity, to reduce one of our nation’s most famous politicians to an offensive caricature of a cold “ball-buster.”
That iron shell Clinton has carried for her entire adult life is battered and weathered from decades of targeted harassment, the insults, and the absurd conspiracies. That is why she’s famous for being ice cold. She’s had to be. But this email shows another side of Clinton, the one nobody ever discusses.
Think of the grief and helplessness she must have felt as the attack was underway; the guilt she would personally shoulder herself, as being the person ultimately in charge, though there was absolutely nothing she could have done. To then have to go stand before a committee of smug chauvinist bastards like Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Jason Chaffetz (R-CA) as they accused her of murdering Americans – of killing her good friend, Ambassador Stevens – all the while knowing that a good third of the country is howling for her head – the sheer emotional and mental strength that must have taken to endure is incredible. That is the strength she has shown throughout her entire life.
That strength is why Clinton is more than qualified to be President of the United States. There is no comparison her steel fortitude to the childish temperament of Donald Trump, who reacts to any perceived slight like a wounded beast. The man is a buffoon so thin-skinned he is incapable of responding to sarcastic tweets from journalists without schoolyard insults and has the pettiness to pick fights with the mourning parents of dead war heroes. It’s clear there is no question who must be our next President.
Let this be the last we speak of Benghazi. There was nothing that Secretary Clinton could have done to prevent some two hundred jihadists armed with heavy weapons – short of magically teleporting a company of Marines across the ocean – from breaking into that compound. Let the ghosts of Benghazi rest. Secretary Clinton is many things, not all of them good; but there is no denying she has been a dedicated public servant all her life, and there is perhaps nobody more qualified to be President.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.