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Hillary Clinton and Political Violence

In broader understanding, the German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey developed the ‘telos of becoming’ to describe life-purpose as it unfolds historically. In contrast to passive theories of pre-ordination, Dilthey’s purposiveness is brought into being through the act of living. In a social sense this theory places the policies and practices of Bill and Hillary Clinton on the path to those of George W. Bush as necessary precedents. In more straightforward terms, Mr. Bush’s crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan were preceded by the Clinton’s sanctions and bombing that killed 500,000 innocent Iraqis. And Mr. Bush’s capacity to wage war was facilitated by the political cover provided by both Clintons.

The American relationship with political violence has always been schizophrenic as the storyline of ‘benevolent’ violence overseas is met by the facts as lived by what remains of the indigenous population and the descendants of slaves whose forebears were kidnapped and held as chattel when not being raped and / or murdered. Thanks in large measure to the economic and carceral policies of Bill and Hillary Clinton, the portion of the population that isn’t currently incarcerated lives with the ‘passive’ violence of outsourced jobs, privatized public services and generally diminished lives. And lest this idea of passive violence seem effete, the suicides, drug addiction, divorces and domestic abuse that accompany economic stress are demonstrably real.

When Black Panther and all-around lovely human being Angela Davis was asked in 1972 by a Swedish film crew about the alleged penchant of the Panthers toward revolutionary (political) violence, she made the point back that Black people in America have lived with three centuries of political violence not of their making. Those old enough to remember the murder of Black Panther and all-around lovely human being Fred Hampton at the hands of the Chicago police as he slept next to his pregnant wife likely cringed knowingly when permanent Clinton confidant and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel covered up the vicious murder of Laquan McDonald by the very same Chicago Police Department four decades later. Depending on one’s class and race, political violence in America is either an everyday occurrence or something that doesn’t affect you.

Whether one agrees with their motives and tactics or not, a goal of the Weather Underground bombings that took place in the late 1960s and early-mid 1970s was to ‘bring the war (in Southeast Asia) home’ to Americans who supported the war while being safely removed from its consequences. As was the case with George W. Bush’s war against Iraq, the American penchant for pointless slaughter exists in proportion to the remove that Americans perceive themselves to be from the murder and chaos they claim to support. Hillary Clinton’s reflexive militarism is imperial prerogative combined with a pathological disregard for the consequences of her actions. Mrs. Clinton’s moral tenor is sociopathic in the sense that the alleged benevolence of her wars is a function of who prosecutes them (the U.S.) and not their consequences.

The remarkable policy continuity between ‘the two wings of the capitalist Party’ has so reduced even the appearance of political choice that it must come from outside of the two-zen economicsParty system if it is to exist. The differences cited by Liberals and Conservatives are largely the residual of a bygone era. Nowhere is this convergence more apparent than in policies of war where Hillary Clinton could have fit well into George W. Bush’s ‘war cabinet.’ Barack Obama’s drone murders are the morally-drained conclusion to policies that proceed from the premise that nothing the U.S. does, no matter how horrific, is morally suspect. When merged with neoliberal economic policies, the realm of moral concern places 99.999% of humanity on the outside.

The one-sided caution against political violence comes from inside this realm and from the Liberal apologists who have few moral qualms over grotesque slaughters as long as they are couched in the language of empathy. The ‘helpful’ caution has grown in direct proportion to the militarization of the police, the build-out of the surveillance state, the radical concentration of economic power in the hands of a few thousand plutocrats and mass economic dispossession across the developed West. Through their neoliberal economic policies the Clintons have been the prime movers behind both the concentration of wealth and mass economic dispossession. And through their neoconservative politics they have been a central force behind ‘benevolent’ political violence that only they and their supporters see as benevolent.

A consequence of the frame of ‘humanitarian’ intervention is to send history to the margins of political understanding. ‘Reactive’ violence is posed as defensive when actual American history is as the most aggressively violent nation in human history. George W. Bush was able to sell his aggressive war against Iraq as ‘pre-emptive’ defense through this reactive posture. Hillary Clinton likewise poses her unhinged militarism as protection from real and imagined enemies as if they generated themselves into existence. Her creation of ten million refugees across the Middle East through wars in Libya, Iraq and Syria begs the question of what possible good outcome could ever have been imagined by such mass dispossession. Manufacturing enemies to keep the existing order in power works until it doesn’t.

Ignorance of ongoing American political violence through national, class or racial privilege hardly erases its facts from those who experience it. Wall Street and the executive class that support the Clinton’s have few qualms about sending tens of thousands of jobs overseas knowing full well that the consequence will be suicides, drug dependence and anti-social behavior. Use of this ignorance as a political wedge by posing a few angry Democratic convention delegates in Nevada as the ugly underbelly of American politics is as cynical as it is ignorant of life as it is lived by most people. The U.S. destruction of the Middle East, with Hillary Clinton as prime mover in recent history, is ugly political violence. The mass incarceration which the Clintons helped engineer for political gain is ugly political violence. The jobs lost through Bill Clinton’s passage of NAFTA is ugly political violence. A few righteously pissed Democrats in Nevada doesn’t rise to the level of a bar fight, let alone a political debacle for those involved.

The political motivation for making an issue of righteous anger over cynical Party machinations is to suppress resistance to demonstrably corrupt Democratic Party politics. The contention that only registered Democrats should be able to vote in closed primaries would be well and good if the Party establishment didn’t join with Republicans to make it virtually impossible for third-Party candidates to compete. From rules that make it onerous for candidates to get registered on state primary ballots to rules that exclude them from major debates, the major Parties have colluded to create an exclusionary process that puts the onus on them to prove their own political legitimacy. Pointing to Hillary Clinton’s leading position in this exclusionary process is roughly akin to George W. Bush’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment when all that was proved was his own ignorance of the political moment.

Ironically, in the sense that fears are being matched against known outcomes, Republican boogeyman Donald Trump has no publicly available body count to his credit whereas Hillary Clinton has one in the low millions. Mr. Trump’s bellicose racist and nativist rhetoric is indeed frightening, most likely in relation to one’s perception of their own vulnerability should it be turned into a national program. But in the same ironic sense, Hillary (and Bill) Clinton’s actual history is of racist and nativist policies like mass incarceration, immigrant bashing and the wanton murder of Black and Brown people across North Africa and the Middle East. The question the rest of the world is likely asking is: how many are likely to die under a Donald Trump Presidency versus that of Hillary Clinton? With history as a guide, it’s Hillary Clinton that has the body count.

Democrats will do as their wont. Apparently lost on the establishment is that some fair portion of the populace already thinks that everything coming from their mouths is cynical bullshit anyway. Hillary Clinton is approximately the leading proponent of political violence in the world today. Her willingness to use violence as a first choice combined with her control over the mechanisms and institutions of mass violence makes her one of the most dangerous people alive. Liberals and establishment Democrats who support her accept the implied premise that the lives of ‘those other people’ don’t matter as long as their own bellies and bank accounts are full. A raised chair in Nevada is a pale ghost, barely a shadow, to the everyday horrors visited upon innocents around the globe by the U.S. military at the behest of the ‘humanitarian’ interventionists who resigned from their own humanity some decades ago.

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Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.

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