I Used To Loathe Hillary Clinton. Here’s Why That Changed

Hillary Clinton AFP/Getty Images/Jewel Samad

Katie Frates Editor-in-chief of The Daily Walkthrough
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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Yale University address made me realize something surprising: The feelings she once evoked inside me have changed a great deal since November 2016.

I used to seethe. I was angry at the identity politics she peddled, angry at her policy prescriptions, angry that she took my vote for granted because I am a woman. This weekend, though, watching her speak, my well filled with distaste was now filled with sadness.

Clinton lost her second presidential election 560 days ago, and if her weekend commencement speech is anything to go by, her mind is firmly stuck there.

“Congratulations to the class of 2018. I am thrilled for all of you. Even the three of you who live in Michigan and didn’t request your absentee ballots in time.”

Her speech seemed to war with itself. It included bitterness wrapped in jokes like the above that shifted blame from her botched Michigan campaign onto voters, when the loss was far-more certainly a failure on her part. But Clinton also stressed the importance of facts and truth: “To abandon facts is to abandon freedom.”

She called for a return to rational debate, healing partisan divides, rekindling “civic engagement,” strengthening communities and reaching across the aisle. She also waved a Russian hat around and implied President Donald Trump and Republicans are in bed with the Kremlin.

“I see, looking out at you, that you are following the [Yale graduation] tradition of over-the-top hats. So, I brought a hat too. A Russian hat. I mean, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!”

It looks like she has abandoned her own freedom.

Clinton explained how critical moving on is: Resilience is “a word that has been on my mind a lot recently … It’s so important, because everyone, everyone gets knocked down. What matters is whether you get back up and keep going.”

And yet she admitted she hasn’t gotten back up, saying, “let me just get this out of the way. No, I’m not over it. I still think about the 2016 election, I still regret the mistakes I made.”

Her speech at Yale sounded like someone desperately hoping that if they say they’re “okay” enough times, they may start to be.

She has made it clear over the months that she’s drowning in a self-fulfilling cycle of denial, resentment and anger. Just look at the title of her election book, “What Happened.” Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, threw his copy away. If in 512 pages you can’t come to grips with your own failures, how can you move on?

Her denials are many: Russia, sexism, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former President Barack Obama and white women pressured by their husbands. What’s more disheartening is that those aren’t even half of the chips on her shoulder.

Take her recent trip to India, where Clinton called millions of Trump supporters “backwards” and claimed they “didn’t like black people getting rights, you don’t like women, you know, getting jobs.”

The party whose members once called her a “champion” has turned its back. Now, champion is exchanged for “liability,” “not helpful” and “wrong.” Falling from grace is hard, especially when Clinton gives Democrats no reason to want her around. Despite the two-time presidential candidate being a fount of knowledge for her team, the Democratic Party has decided her wallowing outweighs her benefits.

Getting back up becomes an infinitely more challenging task when weighed down by so much. I can’t even fathom the wounds these emotional burdens are inflicting or what it feels like to know you will never achieve your life’s goal. She’s residing within a self-constructed prison.

That’s not a healthy place for anyone to be — no matter what you think of someone.

I didn’t like anything she ran on, or the way she treated women who disagreed, but that doesn’t mean I want to see Hillary Clinton suffer. Americans right now seem far too eager to rejoice in the misfortune of fellow citizens. We’ve gorged ourselves on wrath, content to let it seep into our pores and fester behind our eyes until we see in shades of red.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg touched on this in a commencement speech he gave a week ago: “When people see the world as a battle between left and right, they become more loyal to their tribe than to our country.”

I’m not the biggest fan of Bloomberg, either, but he’s not wrong. Political partisanship shouldn’t devour our desire to care.

Empathy is crucial. While it’s difficult to empathize with losing the presidency — twice — it’s not so difficult to empathize with bitterness or denial. Most people have experienced those malevolent emotions before. They’re ugly, poisonous and destructive. I don’t want to be the type of person who wants someone to feel that sort of darkness.

I feel bad for Hillary Clinton. I sincerely hope she finds a way to break the cycle of denial and move on, because she’s the only one left at her pity party.

I hope the next time she gives a commencement speech and says, “Today as a person, I’m okay,” she believes it.

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The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.