Business As Usual: Servergate and the Clinton Legacy
Over in the mainstream camp of Electionville, "Servergate," as it has been dubbed, has become a fixture of the 2016 Primary scene. At issue is the private email server that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton maintained while serving as Secretary of State, and certain classified materials that may or may not have made their way into correspondence handled via this server. As Democrats work feverishly to protect their star candidate while at the same time cobbling together a viable contingency plan, Republicans are predictably tripping over each other to make hay out of the magic seeds that have dropped into their collective lap. Our interest, however, is in pointing out how much of this isn't really news at all and how the story of Servergate is very much the story of Mrs. Clinton specifically, and Career Politicians more generally.That Mrs. Clinton should consider herself above following the rules that she insists others follow should hardly be surprising. This is the general attitude of the ruling class towards the rules, and even those that wouldn't be quite so vulgar as to admit to this manifest subtle "tells" that betray this belief. The most extreme form of evidence for this is the steady stream of indictments that have been a staple of American government, but that seems to have reached a high pitch these last few years. Scandal after scandal reveals a dark underworld that runs parallel to the public face of government and politics. In this parallel world laws are routinely broken and power blatantly abused, with the apparent belief that such dealings will never come to light.From the perspective of a school of minnows, there is some truth to this. Running with the pack and behaving publicly in safe, expected patterns offers a blanket of protection to the Career Politician. The Public Trust could not, by definition, be abused if it was not manifest. We expect our public servants to behave with integrity and do the right thing, even if some of us no longer anticipate this. And while the Washington muckrakers are always lurking, sniffing feverishly for the scent of blood in the water, this blanket of protection affords them a climate in which a significant oversight or mistake must be made to allow that first sniff.One would have to be extremely idealistic and naive to believe that Mrs. Clinton actually feels bound by the same rules that apply to the rest of us. She (naturally) views herself as privileged, and has behaved clearly and publicly (one of those "tells") as if she resents even being asked about her email habits. What business is it of yours, peasant? Only those blinded by their own ideology don't see this - is has become so obvious by now.The second dimension of Servergate involves veracity, and here again there should be no surprises for anyone that has been awake and paying attention. It is starting to appear as fact rather than conjecture that Mrs. Clinton has done a great deal of lying during the course of this government investigation and public scandal. Lying. Not even the usual legalistic fencing that she prefers. Just outright, bald faced lies. Whether she has been so emboldened through a sense of feeling trapped or by a feeling of invincibility is fair subject for debate. It may be a mix of both. But the result is a plain, ugly view into Mrs. Clinton's relationship with the Truth.But to again be fair, this is not a characteristic on which Mrs. Clinton holds a patent. Rather, she is simply conforming to the expected norms of her class - the elite ruling class of Career Politicians. The old saying that you shouldn't believe anything that a politician promises at election time may evoke a chuckle, but it should do so only in the darkest sense. For here is a simple, folksy description of the relationship between Politics and Truth. And underlying it is the sad message: the American people are under of the control of a class of people trained, yes trained, in the art of maintaining a "posture" that indicates concern for the American People while at the same time acting against their interests but, coincidentally, in the interests of their largest donors, associates, and the most generous lobbies.Finally, Servergate brings into focus the disconnect between how a Career Politician postures and how they behave when they think that no one is looking. And again, here, Mrs. Clinton provides a stunning example. Many, many accounts of Mrs. Clinton "behind the scenes" do not jive with the image that she presents of herself to the public. The New York Times recently published a piece that paints a very different picture of Mrs. Clinton than the one we see, one characterized by "anger, paranoia, temper-tantrums, ego, [and] ambition." The Mrs. Clinton that we see is, apparently, not the Mrs. Clinton that is.To be 100% clear, we don't fault her for having some of these traits, unfavorable as some might be. All of us, by virtue of being human, are susceptible to the same drives and flaws that have been attributed to the "real" Mrs. Clinton. And we don't suggest that people shouldn't be permitted a "public face" that differs from their "private face." We all present ourselves differently under different circumstances as called for by our culture. It is certainly expected of someone speaking from a platform. For most of us, however, that conformation is a subtle shift in presentation that reflects the underlying substance in an appropriate light. For Mrs. Clinton and her ilk, that public persona is largely if not completely disconnected from their actual self.Sociopaths are also described as having such a disconnect. It is why they are successful at exploiting trust in order to do harm.Career Politicians would not be considered qualified candidates by their party if they did not also suffer from this disconnect. Any dark elements to their personality are expected to remain well hidden, and many a Career Politician that did not adhere to this expectation has quickly fallen from grace. The question we pose is how such a person, willingly operating under such expectations, could be trusted in any regard. And if they cannot be trusted, how could they possibly be expected to shepard the largest trust of all, The Public Trust.Ultimately Mrs. Clinton is just a case study into the larger culture. Servergate is significant only for the reason that it brings several of the defining characteristics of Career Politicians to harsh light in a very high-profile way. It helps to remind us of what we are up against, and why that work is absolutely necessary. We cannot continue to allow our government to be run by these types of individuals.