Monday, October 31, 2016

The Right's Irrational Hatred of Hillary Clinton

As a former Republican, one thing I find striking - i.e., over and above the GOP's descent into insanity - is the manner in which so many in the party are nothing short of irrational when it comes to their hatred of Hillary Clinton.  True, she's no saint and has made many mistakes, but compared to Donald Trump she is the height of truth and veracity and doesn't openly exhibit signs of mental illness.   This irrational hatred is difficult for a rational person to understand, but especially so when one looks at her deranged opponent.  At lunch yesterday in the Bahamas, two friends, one from France and one from Italy, found it difficult to understand the frightening state of American politics.  But then again, they are both educated and rational in how they approach life and the objective world, something unlike the majority of Donald trump's supporters.  An op-ed column in the New York Times looked at the derangement syndrome afflicting the far right, especially white males when it comes to Hillary.  Interestingly, the vast majority of gays have no problem with strong and/or powerful women, but then again, the same white males who hate Hillary hate us as well.  Here are op-ed highlights:
One of the mysteries of 2016 is the degree to which Hillary Clinton is reviled. Not just rationally opposed but viscerally and instinctively hated. None of the stated reasons for the animus seem to satisfy. Yes, she’s careful and cagey, and her use of a private email server, which the F.B.I. flung back into the news on Friday, was a big mistake. But no, she’s not more dishonest than other politicians, and compared with her opponent, she’s George Washington. Her policies, even where bold, are hardly on the subversive fringe.
Yet she’s cast not just as a political combatant but as a demon who, in the imaginings of Republicans like Paul D. Ryan, the speaker of the House, and Representative Trent Franks, would create an America “where passion — the very stuff of life — is extinguished” (the former) and where fetuses would be destroyed “limb from limb” (the latter).
It’s important to recall that she was deranging Republicans on Day 1. Understanding her demonization requires admitting her full significance in our political history, for she is not simply a pioneering woman fighting an Ur-misogyny. Mrs. Clinton faces a two-headed Cerberus, an artificial conjoining that occurred in the early 1990s, of wounded Republican invincibility and wounded male prerogative. Our current political crisis won’t be resolved until those forces are separated and the Cerberus slain.
To the left, “Clintonism” implies accommodation and calculation. But to the right in 1992, it meant usurpation. Reaganism held almost religious significance, and its reign was supposed to be transformative and permanent. For the One True Way to be restored, Clintonism had to be delegitimized.
That delegitimization ushered in the politics of party restoration at whatever cost, governance and country be damned. This led first to an attempted legislative coup in 1998 and then to a judicial coup in 2000. And to all the more recent outrages of birtherism, government shutdowns, delayed Supreme Court confirmations and, ultimately, the rise of a would-be autocrat as a party nominee.
But political restoration was only one head of the Cerberus. The other — wounded male prerogative — was personal and sexual. . . . . Though women weren’t the source of men’s pain, the antagonist conjured up by aggrieved men I talked with in those years had a feminine face, and very often that face was Hillary’s.
A startling aspect of the rage that greeted Bill Clinton was how much of it was aimed at the women he entrusted — or tried to entrust — with power. When I was investigating one of the early skirmishes of the Clinton years, the burning of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., which right-wingers attributed to Clinton’s F.B.I., I was treated to the fervent rants of “Patriot” men, aimed not at Mr. Clinton but at what I came to think of as the Three Witches of Waco: Attorney General Janet Reno (“Reno’s master is Satan,” a Third Continental Congress militiaman told me), the gun-control advocate Sarah Brady and, most of all, Hillary Clinton.
Republican ideological absolutism, nourished by masculine insecurity, created an amalgam corrosive to pragmatic politics. For Hillary Clinton, it’s meant being demonized for traits that have little to do with her character. Not only by right-wing politicians, who found the Hillary-with-horns specter a convenient recruitment tool, but by the culture at large. Even the supposedly liberal mainstream media still seek out any bit of evidence that can be chiseled to fit that prefab 1990s narrative — and if she denies the caricature, she’s called a liar. Her famous “hiddenness” is, at heart, her refusal to cop to the crime of purloined male authority.
The G.O.P.’s gender grudge feeds on its own defeat. As the culture moves further away from the conservative ideal — as women gain freedoms, minorities assert rights, same-sex marriage proves commonplace — the monster’s howls grow louder. But the howls say nothing new.
The left needs to acknowledge what the right has long known: that it’s a fiction to think we can move on beyond the brawl of the 1990s without settling it — and settling it requires helping Mrs. Clinton triumph once and for all against the calumnies that were created to define her. It would be a mistake to think that Mrs. Clinton, the imperfect politician, is not the right standard-bearer for this fight. She was nominated to her role not last July at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, but in 1992, when her husband destroyed the myth of Republican invincibility and Hillary Clinton was anointed the feminine face of evil.
 To say that I have no pity whatsoever for these sick males and their wounded pride and feelings of inadequacies would be an understatement.  Heterosexual white male prerogative and sense of entitlement has caused so much harm to so many, including the LGBT community.  It needs to be crushed once and for all. 

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