No matter what the content of FBI director James Comey's report on Hillary Clinton and her e-mails, there was bound to be a lot of hullabaloo and muchisimos accusations flung by those on both sides of the political aisle.
But wouldn't it be worthwhile, just for a moment, to talk about the facts? Granted "facts" are tricky things and many people like to have their very own, despite what may or may not be true in the universe most of us occupy. By "facts," I refer to verifiable realities as reported by usually reliable sources.
The gods help me, I think Director Comey might be such a source. Listening to him, here's what we know:
- Ms. Clinton has lied repeatedly in the matter of her emails. You would think she would be at least a little embarrassed and apologetic, but she's not. She should take lessons from Attorney General Lynch, who must have taken temporary leave of her senses when she had a tête-à-tête with Mr. Clinton some days prior to announcement.
- The FBI director does not believe the investigation produced evidence that would lead to conviction for any of the crimes with which Ms. Clinton might have been charged. According to Comey and other legal sources, a violation exists when someone intends to violate the laws about how classified information should be handled.
- Police agencies everywhere in the United States have the obligation to tell a potential prosecutor what they think can be proven to a jury "beyond the shadow of a doubt." It serves no one well to bring charges that ultimately cannot be proven.
- Having said, in effect, that he did not believe a crime can be proven in this instance, Mr. Comey did not say no crime was committed.
That's really it. Democrats will spin and spin. They will assert that many other high political officials in both parties have lied, that we'd have no president at all if liars were excluded from the office. They will allege the existence of a double standard, arguably correctly, saying that Republican presidents, secretaries of state and other officials have committed similar or worse offenses, while the party now pointing fingers at Ms. Clinton had nothing to say.
Someone might say with reason that the commission of wrongs by others does not justify such behavior by Ms. Clinton.
Republicans will argue (with no evidence, as far as I can tell) that Hillary Clinton is being protected by the Obama administration to reduce the likelihood of a Trump presidency. Democrats will counter, perhaps accurately, that the only reason Republicans suspect such a coverup is because they would do the same for their candidate, given the opportunity.
Where does this leave the U.S. electorate? Perhaps in a place not much different than we were before Director Comey's announcement.
Some of us wish both parties could have an orderly but quick do-over in their nomination process, that we might have better candidates on both sides. I count myself among this unhappy group, who wish that the U.S. political system worked differently than it has turned out in the first two decades of the 21st Century.
Alas the system has become so fucked up that those who speak the truth as they understand it and disagree with their opponents in civil tones are drowned out by liars and demagogues. Those in this group will hold their noses and vote for the one they hope can lead the country to a better place.
Some will conclude they cannot in good conscience vote for either of the two candidates. Of these, some will stay home. Others will cast a protest vote for the Green Party candidate or someone else who cannot be elected, perhaps causing an election outcome they regret.
Still others will vote unthinkingly for the candidate most consistent with their ideology: Perhaps the liar with an overweening sense of entitlement who can't quite decide how progressive she can afford to be. Perhaps the liar and buffoon who while claiming to be a patriot disparages the country at every turn so he can claim to make it great "again" and seems quite satisfied to be associated with the KKK and neo-Nazis.
Do you know which is worse? I think I do. Either way I fear we are in for a rough ride.
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