Maybe after 4 years in Africa my bar for being phased by political scandal is just pretty high, but am I the only one who thinks the Hillary Clinton email affair ranks as the tiniest political scandal of all time?
Let’s recap what all the fuss is about. Hillary Clinton, while Secretary of State, sent some work-related emails from her personal email account. This may or may not have been against State Department regulations.
I thought to myself, surely there must be something more here. Surely the second-biggest obsession of the political class during this year’s election cycle must take more than 2 sentences to describe.
But after reading a bit about the issue, this appears to be the entirety of the iceberg. No one died. No money was stolen. There is no evidence that any information in the emails was hacked or stolen by hostile parties. And of course there’s the simple fact that nearly every government official, including Hillary’s accusers, has done the same thing.
And this is a big deal?
Meanwhile here in Uganda we are used to actual political scandal, where government officials bully their rivals and steal millions from widows and orphans. The mysterious death of a popular general a few days ago has raised the spectre of political assassination. Leaders of the opposition are regularly teargassed and thrown in jail whenever they try to have rallies. In 2012 officials in the Office of the Prime Minister brazenly stole $24 million from programs meant to help war widows and orphans, and before that officials in the Social Security administration had stolen $136 million from pensioners by transferring funds onto ghost accounts.
Turning the mirror on ourselves, it seems not so long ago that a certain hero of the conservative movement sold arms to Iran to fund terrorists in Nicaragua. ExxonMobil has known about climate change since the 1970s, and has since then been funding fake think tanks to spread misinformation about the role of CO2 in damaging the earth’s climate. And who can forget the made-up evidence that was used to justify the war in Iraq, resulting in the loss of $1 trillion and the lives of more than 4,000 American servicemen and women (not to mention destabilizing the Middle East, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and enabling the rise of ISIS)?
These are scandals. Hillary’s emails are a snafu – maybe. At the very least, the media’s insatiable attention to Hillary Clinton’s emails is the surest proof yet that there is no liberal bias in the media – otherwise they would have let such small potatoes subside months ago.
So the next time you read some new minutiae revealed about these emails, just keep calm, carry on, and thank God you live in a country where the government works so well that a Secretary sending emails from the wrong account could be considered a scandal.