first published in September 2017.
This week has offered some poignantly clear examples of the general public’s ability to view the world with blinders that conveniently shield them from anything that may upset their sensibilities.
In the first and most obvious case we have Hillary Clinton herself, who has shamelessly shifted blame of her loss in the presidential election to, well, everyone and, in the process, demonstrated a profound ignorance of the American populace. In a recent interview, Clinton cited a conversation with the COO of Facebook, stating:
“And she said, look, the research is absolutely definitive. The more professionally successful a man is, the more likable he is; the more professionally successful a woman is, the less likable she is. And that when women are serving on behalf of someone else, as I was when I was Secretary of State, for example, they are seen favorably. But when they step into the arena and say, wait a minute I think I could do the job, I would like to have that opportunity, their favorabilities goes down.”
Setting aside the fact that the research is most certainly not “definitive,” I can think of two obvious points to shine a light on. The first is that, just off the top of my head, I can think of a few women who were wildly successful and at the top of the ladder but still “likable” (Golda Meier, Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret Thatcher, Oprah Winfrey, just to name a few). The causation/correlation model in this narrative is highly skewed in light of readily available evidence.
The second point is the key takeaway from the entire election, though—namely, that Hillary Clinton was never likable. Ever.
It has been an open secret for quite some time that Hillary Clinton is not a nice person. Everyone I know who has worked in D.C. in the last 30 years knows this. Hell, even the people who would vote for her know this—she is an angry woman and does not treat people around her all that well. This comes across in her public persona, of course, as many see her manufactured laugh for what it is.
The point being that Clinton, in asserting that her “favorabilities” went down once she stepped up to lead, is either lying or demonstrating pure delusion. She was, and will always be, one of the most hated and despised political figures in our country’s history, whether you agree with her policies or not. She was never “likable” in the grand sense, ala someone like Michelle Obama.
President Trump’s fan-base, not to be outdone this week, have also done their best to turn a blind eye to anything that does not fit their narrative. As cries for a border wall mount from his voters, how many of them have screamed and shouted about the fact that our national debt just passed $20 Trillion this week after jumping over $300 billion in one day?
These are the people who, with straight faces, will tell you that they are “conservative” while championing a guy who wants to drastically increase spending. Or, at the very least, they are giving him a pass—there are very few shouts from his base about spending money we do not have.
Why is this so common? How do so many miss the obvious? Or is it really not that obvious at all?
A big component to answering all of those is the ever-increasing desire for victimhood in our society. I see the prevalence of this mentality doing nothing but growing in the minds of everyone on all ends of the political spectrum and it is, in a word, troubling.
Hillary Clinton could not possibly be a bad and unlikable person, right? She lost because she is the victim of sexism and a sexist culture they force upon us.
Donald Trump could not possibly be a greedy, power-hungry guy, right? He is just a victim of the mainstream media and their conspiracy to stop him.
I cannot possibly be failing due to anything I did or because of my nature, right? I am a victim of anti-veteran/anti-white/anti-male bias.
This is a serious issue in nearly every facet of life. And, like most serious things, it got to this point because of some legitimate problems—fundamental difficulties that turned monstrous when people realized they could be capitalized upon.
Sexism can be a real problem—but that does not mean it replaces the fact that HRC was and is a really unlikable (and bad) candidate for President.
Media bias against anything slightly to the right of FDR has been a real thing for quite some time—that does not mean Trump is not a reckless, drunken sailor when it comes to spending other people’s money.
Anti-veteran, anti-white, and anti-male bias can in fact exist—but that does not give me an excuse to throw up my hands because I have difficulty finding a job.
The point here is that what we see a great deal of is turning a slight problem into a cause de jure that explains all of society’s ills, when in fact they are slight hiccups in the way things work that do not warrant shaping our whole worldview around. The fact that sexism and biases exist in various places (which they most certainly do) should not give us fuel to attack anything we do not like with a victimhood mentality.
For women who are looking at Hillary Clinton, you should see her attempt to pass off her own failures as conspiratorial sexism as an insult to all women, including yourself. For Donald Trump supporters who think that he is a victim of some media attack, you should note well that while you are worrying about that, he is trying to put us further into debt—a far greater national security threat in the long run than terrorism or immigration.
And for all of us as individuals, just because there are obstacles in life—things that suck and make life a little harder than it should be—does not imply that they are out to get you. It does not mean that there is a concerted effort to “keep you down.”
It also does not mean you can play that as a card to ignore your own short comings and failures. That is a lesson I am learning—sometimes the hard way—about my own life.