I’m trying to imagine a Clinton presidency or rather a Clinton monarchy. The heir apparent (heiress apparent?), according to the all-knowing press, is the only possible choice for any right minded, clear thinking, compassionate adult. Those who might possibly consider the opposite candidate are clearly out of their mind and unfeeling, according to the heir apparent, her courtiers, her water carriers, and her town criers.
The day she announced she was running, that she would bear the heavy burden of the crown, I guessed the contest over such as it was. Any candidate with this much power, in Washington and the media, couldn’t possibly lose. This was long before Mr. Trump sailed to the Republican nomination.
It was, to be honest (a dangerous thing to be, but I’m feeling reckless), when Mr. Trump resonated with large numbers of ordinary voters that I began to have hope that the Clinton monarchy might be challenged. And challenged it has been, and may still be, but I fear the scales are so heavily weighted (should I say rigged?) that even a Jack Kennedy wouldn’t stand a chance.
Let’s see. Bill Clinton reigned eight years (1993-2001), decimating the CIA which led to Nine-Eleven attacks. Hillary Clinton held major positions of power in Washington (Senator, 2001- 2009; Secretary of State, 2009-2013) for the following three terms, 12 years. Now she will reign another eight years. Total years of the Clintonian reign by January 2025: Twenty-eight years. Not bad, for a monarchy that rules a democracy.
It appears to me that for the spouse of a former president to run for president is a dangerous thing. The former president becomes First Gentleman, or First Consort, perhaps. The reign returns.
It has been noted recently that the Clinton sphere of influence over these last two decades has risen enormously. As peddlers of access, they have profited even when out of office, for it is assumed they will return. This peddling of power has solidified relationships at home and abroad, enriching the Clintons through their “Foundation,” kind of a royal treasury with a smile.
How did this happen? How did they become so powerful? The last debate was quite revealing, at least to this writer.
Call me crazy, but I thought Mr. Trump won the debate, or at least tied, but then I decided before I heard the TV spin and read the paper pundits. With his own party seeking his downfall, naively hoping to “come back” in 2020, Mr. Trump has major odds against him.
These debates are not about classic debate skills. They are about talking to the American people. They are about appearance, not substance, and feelings, not reasoning. So in terms of appearance, Mr. Trump looked thoughtful, controlled, composed, and even presidential. Mrs. Clinton looked arrogant, sneering, her voice strident and mean. As expected, the third person in the debate, the moderator, made his loyalty obvious as the evening unfolded. But Republicans are familiar with the two to one ratio.
Americans, while interested in appearance and not substance, even so must rely on others to judge and interpret for them. Many of us cannot think for ourselves. Peggy Noonan writes that the media are partly at fault, for they are so exhausted, that they live on the Edge of Stupid:
“Modern media realities make everything intellectually thinner, shallower. Everything moves fast; we talk not of the scandal of the day but the scandal of the hour, reducing a great event, a presidential campaign, into an endless river of gaffes.”
Ms. Noonan describes the “educated” college graduates who don’t read much, but rely on sound bites and movies. But most profound was her reference to Nicholas Carr’s book, The Shallows, about the Internet’s influence on our brains. Mr. Carr writes that the media “shape the process of thought…lessening our capacity for concentration and contemplation.” (WSJ 10/1-2/16)
So it appears, unless there really are secret Trumpists out there, that the election was over before it began. Queen Hillary will soon reign over our great land of equal opportunity, liberty and law, along with her Consort, William.
What will her reign be like? She will have power like no other president in the history of the United States. As historian Victor Davis Hanson observes, we should all fear what the presidency has become under President Obama, who “has transformed the powers of presidency in a way not seen in decades,” bypassing Congress, issuing executive-order amnesties, and “allowing entire cities to be exempt from federal immigration law.” He also notes, “The press said nothing about this extraordinary overreach of presidential power.”
The Clintons will silence disloyal subjects, for few will have the courage to speak out, and major institutions will support the monarchy in all they do. The Supreme Court will pass Clintonian legislation once the queen appoints her justices; religious freedom will be a precious piece of the past. Academia will shame faculty and students into a single way of thinking and speaking, the queen’s way.
Ah, what’s a subject, er, citizen, to do? My late bishop used to say (when I thought about things too much), “Don’t worry, God wins in the end.” True, but in the meantime we are called to act with honesty and courage, unselfishly, not as dictated by others, not as dictated by political correctness. My old bishop would say, “All is grace.” True again, for God pulls goodness out of evil every day, miracles happen everywhere, all the time, if we have eyes to see.
In church this morning we celebrated Michaelmas, the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, giving thanks for the good angels who conquered the evil ones:
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon [Lucifer] fought with his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him…” (KJV Revelation 12:7+)
The Archangel Michael slew the dragon. But the war in heaven came to earth. We must consider carefully the choices we have left this election year. We must watch, listen, and decide on our own. There is no room for pride or snobbery about manners and temperament. There is no room for political correctness. There is far too much at stake. But then, in the end, all is grace. In the end, God wins. And in the meantime, we fall on our knees, before God not the queen, and pray that He write straight with our crooked lines.