A Young American’s Look into the Hillary Clinton Honesty Debate

Hello, fellow young Americans!

My name is Evan, and I am fourteen years old. I’m a volunteer with the office of Pennsylvania Democrats in downtown Philadelphia. I’m writing to you to chat about a debate that has been raging since Hillary was first lady: whether she is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.

“So, Hillary Clinton. She’s crooked and shady; she’s always hiding something. There’s something about her that just can’t be trusted. Right?” Warning: the answer “may shock you,” as a famous journalist who has investigated Hillary for years says: Hillary is actually honest and trustworthy.*

My conversations with friends about this topic show that many people our age think otherwise. The debates between my friends and I are usually resolved by an agreement on one point: “Trump is ‘worse’.” While most agree this is true, it isn’t the whole truth. In fact, Hillary isn’t “bad” in the first place. Reporters who have investigated her confirm that Hillary likes a “zone of privacy” around her, and protects it fiercely − a natural impulse based on the level of scrutiny she has received from critics. The lack of openness fuels the “liar” claims, and her protection of her privacy causes people to think she is hiding something. This, not any actual corruption, is her greatest flaw.

You may be wondering, “But what about the emails and all of the controversies?”

Granted, as she has said, it was bad judgment to use a private email server, but not corrupt. It was unwise to accept hefty speaking fees, but not corrupt. She is behaving like any other politician, but getting criticized because she is violating a gender standard.

Yes, I said it: sexism is playing into the debate. For example, we expect complete purity from female candidates. When Hillary behaves like other politicians, she is labeled “shady.” When she changes positions on issues, she is labeled “dishonest.” In fact, data shows that public opinion of Hillary drops not during a supposed scandal, but when she seeks higher office.** That suggests that people are not upset by Hillary’s conduct so much as by her having “the nerve” to seek political power.

Hillary is a perfectly honest politician, and will be a great leader of our country.

*Jill Abramson, “This May Shock You: Hillary Clinton Is fundamentally honest.” The Guardian, March 28, 2016.

**Michael Arnovitz, “Thinking About Hillary: A Plea for Reason,” The Policy, June 13, 2016.