Shock, awe and bewilderment. Three feelings that describe best the reaction of people after the American Presidential elections. As the results started pouring in on the 9th of November, people could hardly believe their eyes. The ‘misogynist, racist and lunatic’ Donald Trump was certainly slated to loose – as predicted by the polls if not by the people.
But the people were in for a rude shock.
Now as the world embraces the fact and waits nervously for Trump to officially take charge of White House, there have been mounting commentaries and comments on how the country is headed towards an uncertain future. Immigrants worry about increasing hostility against them. Foreign policy analysts are not sure what to expect. Women rights activists are equally concerned thanks to Trump’s erratic sexist statements.
Yes, the next President does seem like a rather unusual choice to be at the helm of affairs.
But for American citizens, it was a matter of choosing the lesser evil amongst the two ‘evils’, all along. Despite having a relatively cleaner public image than Trump, documents and memoirs published before the elections show that the Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton was all but clean. As a matter of fact, her ruthless, selfish and power-hungry temperament would have made her a more dangerous person to take the helm of affairs, had she won.
Gary J. Byrne, a former Secret Service Agent during the reign of Bill Clinton, sheds light on this in his book ‘Crisis of Character’. “Her leadership style was based on pure fear and loathing”, says Byrne. From his first hand experience with the former First Lady, Byrne further adds that though portrayed as the long-suffering spouse of an unfaithful husband, the Hillary Clinton he saw was anything but a sympathetic victim. The Clintons, the book says, were so consumed by scandals and “so intent on destroying their real or imagined enemies, that governing became an afterthought”.
While reputed media houses rallied behind Clinton, carefully avoiding any news as mentioned in the book, documents leaked by WikiLeaks (which brought into light Hillary’s usage of private email server) laid bare her two-facedness. True, in politics, hypocrisy and doublespeak are tools. But having contrasting stands on every pressing issue can rather erode the moral authority of a leader. Documents leaked showed Clinton openly claiming said that she took two positions on every political issue, a “public” one and a “private” one meaning that she says one thing to the public when the microphone is on, yet takes an entirely different position behind closed doors.
For someone who accused her competitor of being involved in numerous ‘illegal activities’, Clinton herself was found to be an architect of numerous dirty deeds. Documents leaked by the whistleblower agency days before the Presidential election revealed how the Clinton campaign worked closely with Party Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz in leading co-ordinated efforts to defeat Bernie Sanders in the primaries. Schultz resignation following the leak made itclear that the primaries may not have been as open and fair as had been claimed. Documents also showed the former Secretary of State misusing her position to extract sensitive information. In a 2014 email, Hillary Clinton was found to be asking John Podesta – an official serving at the White House at the time, though she was no longer employed there - to disclose intelligence information on Libya.
So while the world might still be loathing to accept the openly ‘misogynist, racist and conservative’ Trump as the new American President, a deceptive Clinton reign could have ushered in an dangerously deceitful, crooked and nefarious era for the US.