Is Being Mean to “Hillary Clinton” Different Than Being Mean to Hillary Clinton?

by Matt B. on October 19, 2015

Dear –

In my last couple of letters, I’ve been pretty nasty toward Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and some of our other presidential candidates. Aren’t I being hypocritical here? I’m always yammering on about compassion, after all.

Or maybe I’m just hiding behind the screen, indulging in the kind of bullying that leaves so many of our teens wounded. Isn’t there something cowardly about writing this way? I mean, I would never dream of calling Hillary (or anyone) a “black hole” to her face. So why do it here?

Well, it feels different – and I think that’s because, as presidential candidates, Hillary and Jeb, et al., have left the realm of the human behind. They don’t talk like people – you know, with the capacity to acknowledge basic aspects of their private, and our public, realities. And they certainly don’t treat us like people – if they did, they’d find themselves at least occasionally embarrassed by their baby-talk patter and nonstop condescension. No – at least in their public lives, our candidates have exempted themselves from the normal mores of human interaction; they act less like people and more like brands. Which I think is why attacking “Jeb Bush” feels a little less like being a dick to another human being, and more like assailing Monsanto or CCA.

I’m not sure how noble any of this is; I think MLK would have found deeper and more profound ways of responding to the imperturbably glaze-eyed selfishness of our would-be leaders. But I also know that I feel this way – angry that we have androids running for president, and that we’re somehow supposed to be cool with that.




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