Here’s the Speech Hillary Should’ve Given Re: Her Emails

Photo by Laurie Shaull

“My fellow Americans,

Much has been made of FBI Director Comey’s letter to Congress regarding a new fold in the agency’s investigation of my emails. I’m here to put the rumors surrounding that letter, and the assorted email scandals, to rest.

First, let me apologize again (for the fiftieth or so time) for using a private server as Secretary of State. It was a mistake that I deeply regret. But let’s get real: since the beginning of this, I’ve argued for the release of all of my emails. Is that the stance a person with something nefarious to hide would take? To release every single one of their goddamn emails?

You may be saying, ‘What about the 30,000 deleted emails that Donald Trump keeps mentioning?’ They were deleted by my lawyers because they were personal emails between me and my friends and family.

You’ve already seen tens of thousands of my emails. They mostly involve me asking staff for help, whether finding a TV channel, or finding a way to rescue people in need. Do you need to see me asking Bill and Chelsea what they want for Christmas? Or me and Bill scheduling couple’s therapy? Is that what you want? Do I deserve no personal privacy?

I’m going to be real with you guys, since that’s what people seem to want in this election. Despite living a largely public life, personal privacy is key for me. I’ve been the target of vicious personal attacks since the beginning of Bill’s political career. In Arkansas, I expanded access to education for poor children and fought racial disparities in the criminal justice system. When I tried to be a part of Bill’s policymaking team when he became president, I was deemed too brash and too driven by critics who were more accustomed to women who baked and cleaned rather than strived to make the world a better place. Bill’s team told me to cut it out, so I decorated the White House and kept my mouth shut. Still, the right wing claimed I was corrupt, and, when my dear friend died, even murderous!

Then, Bill’s womanizing rose to the forefront, and despite my desire to keep our private life private and my anguish at Bill’s philandering, I was trotted in front of TV cameras to defend my husband and his political career. I slapped on a smile, wrapped Bill’s arm around me, and knocked down the rumors surrounding him. Yet, I was blamed for his dalliances, for not being attractive or feminine enough to please my husband.

When I started my own political career by running for Senate in 2000, I decided to put my personal life in the background to preserve my privacy. I was a workhorse, campaigning in every corner of the great state of New York, and later, in the Senate, working with a bunch of old, white conservative men (Senators) on both sides of the aisle to achieve progressive policy outcomes. I didn’t talk about me and Bill, or my broader experience as a woman. I worked, and I did it damn well. So well, in fact, that when I decided to run for president in 2008, I was considered the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

We know how that one ended: Obama was the great uniter the country had been waiting for, while I was a villain to conservatives who would never be able to bring the parties together. (The irony.)

My career in politics continued, though, when Obama won the presidency and picked me to serve as his Secretary of State. I became broadly popular (approval rating in the high 60s!) in that role because of my work promoting women’s rights around the world, securing economic sanctions against Russia and Iran, and pursuing an international agreement on climate change, among other accomplishments.

But little did I know, there was one problem with my stint at State: my email server. I set it up when I came into office and the IT geniuses in the federal government couldn’t figure out a way for me, one of the most powerful people on the planet at the time, to carry one phone for official and personal communications. So I thought it would be OK to tack my emails onto Bill’s server in our basement, which, like the rest of the house, is protected by Secret Service. I’d turn over all official emails to the State Department, and keep my personal emails private. Needless to say, I didn’t expect a shitstorm to ensue over this setup.

But did it ever. My personal preference for privacy became another strike against me by conservatives, and even some liberals, who had long ago decided I was corrupt, or as Trump calls me, ‘crooked’. The media has gone along with the caricature, casting a shadow over my campaign with every new story about my tenure at State. ‘She used a hammer to destroy her Blackberry!,’ they exhale, comparing my actions to those of a mob figure despite the fact that I was following government protocol. ‘She met with Clinton Foundation donors when she was at State!,’ they cry, questioning my judgment without pointing out that the donors I met with, like Melinda Gates, would have been able to get a meeting with any cabinet official due to their stature. That goes without mentioning that, among other things, the Foundation pays for medication for over half of those infected by HIV in the world, and that I don’t take a penny in salary from it. (Wouldn’t it normally be seen as a good thing for a person to bilk billions of dollars from the rich and despotic to help the poor and desperate?)

I’ve been cast as a criminal despite acknowledging my wrongdoings and apologizing for them when my opponent, who has never apologized for anything, brags about sexually assaulting women, breaks contracts with employees by withholding payment, evades government oversight by shredding documents and refusing to release his tax returns, collaborates with the mob and Russian strongmen to build real estate, breaks housing laws by denying apartments to black people, and, according to one estimate, lies every 5 minutes. (And people think I’m the one with a transparency problem!)

One of his biggest lies is that he stands with the people, while I’m a part of some secret, foreign corporate cabal seeking to undermine America. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. If Trump wins, and his party keeps control of Congress, there will be economic inequality and corporate dominance on a scale we haven’t witnessed before.

Trump will give himself and billionaires like him seven- and eight-figure tax cuts, all while cutting programs that feed and provide health care to the working poor. I will raise taxes on the wealthy and do everything I can to make sure everyone has access to good food and health care.

He will install corporate barons at the head of regulatory agencies, where they will dismantle laws meant to protect us from another financial crisis and from poisoned air and water. I will appoint experts in their fields who will crack down on polluters and on corporate greed.

He will allow his business partner Vladimir Putin to spy on Americans and invade Eastern European countries while I will stand against Russian aggression in every form.

When things go south, he’ll do what he always does: blame others. If there’s, God-forbid, a terrorist attack on American soil, he’ll blame Muslims and immigrants. If police shoot an unarmed black man, he’ll blame black people. If a madman shoots up a school or a movie theater, he’ll blame it on someone else.

No matter what he says, he’s in this for himself and for people like him. He doesn’t really want to be president because he wouldn’t know where to start. He doesn’t have any experience in government, and has an aversion to reading anything, even intelligence briefings, that isn’t about him. He only wants the title of president to boost his brand and enrich himself and his family members, who will run the company and likely serve as his political advisers. Disturbingly, he also wants to become president, and use the powers of the presidency, to get revenge against people who have wronged him.

I want to be president to help the American people. They might not like me, but it’s my life goal to help them, and others around the world. Why else would I continue getting called a murderer (and, now, apparently a child molester, among other awful things)? I already get paid a quarter million dollars for a half-hour speech. Realistically, how much can that rate go up?

Seriously, though, I will be a kick-ass president. I know how the presidency works. I’ve been in the political arena and worked to pass bills through Congress, often collaborating with people who have viciously insulted me in the past. I will move forward with a progressive agenda that emphasizes good-paying jobs, the rich paying their fair share, reforming the criminal justice and immigration systems, and protecting the environment. Having worked and sparred with leaders from around the world, I understand international diplomacy.

So don’t let the media storm around my emails convince you to vote for a racist, narcissistic, pussy-grabbing, law-breaking, know-nothing, trickle-down-believing, loudmouth, corporatist baby with a billion-dollar inheritance for president.

Thank you!”

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