The Universal Notebook: Hillary Clinton and the end of white male privilege

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As I do not want to live in a country presided over by Donald Trump, I have to believe that Hillary Clinton will become the 45th president of the United States and the first the woman to hold that high office.

Not only is she better qualified to serve than anyone in either party who entered the race, as President Obama has said, “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”

Clinton saw the inner working of the White House up close and personal for eight years, she will have the close advice and counsel of a husband who presided over eight years of peace and prosperity, she served in the United State Senate, and she served as secretary of state.

But the main reason she is the best qualified candidate is that she is tougher and smarter than anyone else in the race. Most men and women subjected to the relentless, spurious attacks that Clinton has endured for decades would be in hiding or in an institution by now.

Clinton may have seemed a little paranoid back in 1998, when she charged that there was a “vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president,” but history has proven her all too right. Who would have believed that the Republican Party could be hijacked by a cabal of mendacious conservatives who would rather destroy their rivals than do the hard work of governing, who would rather destroy their own party by nominating a buffoon than compromise with a Democrat?

The list of bogus charges against Clinton lodged by do-nothing, know-nothing Republican obstructionists ranges from self-dealing to murder. All bunk. We have now seen how House Republicans function like the National Enquirer, making wild, specious accusations that they can’t back up no matter how much of the taxpayers’ money they waste. The investigative record shows that the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was not Clinton’s fault, nor was her use of a private email server illegal.

The ginned-up email controversy is a perfect example of what Clinton is up against: the meanness of Republicans and the sexism of the American establishment.

Some Clinton emails may have contained sensitive information that could have been hacked, but the State Department’s own email server definitely was hacked. No computer system is safe to use. Ever. You have to assume that someone, whether it’s the Chinese, NSA, Google or your next-door neighbor, is going to have access to what you write. President George W. Bush, Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney all used Republican National Committee email servers for most of their emails, but it was no big deal.

Clinton is everywhere the victim of a cultural double standard. What would be considered discretion in a man looks like deceit in a woman. Being rich is all that Trump has going for himself, but Clinton is vilified for being rich. Sexism has also colored the media coverage of this campaign.

Media bias has helped elevate Trump to viability and held back Hillary. A report by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy found that 84 percent of the media coverage of Clinton has been negative in tone, compared to just 43 percent for Trump and a mere 17 percent for Sen. “St. Bernard” Sanders. And it’s not just the Fox News propaganda machine that has been bashing Clinton. CBS, NBC, CNN, The New York Times and the Washington Post have a lot to answer for; they made Trump legit and Clinton suspect.

Crooked Hillary? Trump’s entire life is one giant fraud, but the media gives him a pass because his blather makes good copy and his supporters don’t care what he says or does. As Trump has said himself, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

Why is that? Trumpian tea partiers inhabit an Amerika of their own warped imaginations, in which the economy is in shambles, Muslims and Mexicans are overrunning the place, the U.S. military is weak and ineffective, the government is going to take away their guns, freedom is everywhere under attack, and Slick Willy’s wife is going to be the next president.

Well, at least that last concern is real.

What the 2016 election really comes down to is a woman taking on a man, an inclusive America battering down the last bastion of white male privilege. Trump is the perfect candidate for angry white men and their subservient mates. Clinton is the best choice for the rest of us.

I’m with her.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.