Good resources for all the "Hillary Clinton" should be in jail!!!1 stuff
October 13, 2016 7:53 AM   Subscribe

I'm currently "discussing" Clinton with 2 friends on Facebook (actual friends) who are very left-wing and also very anti-Clinton: the word "traitor" and "criminal" has been used. They seem convinced that the FBI investigation was a sham and then something about the Senate Oversight Committee hearing about it. I admit I'm not that well versed in this but I don't believe Clinton is a criminal. Can you give me some good resources about this? Either news or some sort of explanation of what sounds to me like a crackpot conspiracy theory. Thanks!
posted by Automocar to Society & Culture (27 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I share your frustration, but it might be better to just to either "agree to disagree" or to totally disengage. People who exist on the fringes of any ideology are not likely to change their minds, no matter how much evidence they are presented with. My wife experienced this when she was caught up in a national story, and some of the most hurtful comments came from the Left, and some of them never really accepted her neutral stance, despite the logic behind it.
posted by lobstah at 8:17 AM on October 13, 2016 [11 favorites]

"Is there any proof that would convince you of the other side? Any investigator sufficiently nonpartisan or sufficiently Republican? Any evidence sufficiently unimpeachable? Any testimony sufficiently incorruptible?"

But yeah, mostly what lobstah said. Anyone who's convinced after this many investigations that Clinton has committed any form of treason or prisonworthy offense will never be convinced otherwise. Don't waste any spoons on them.
posted by Etrigan at 8:24 AM on October 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Nice roundup in this article.
posted by Glinn at 8:27 AM on October 13, 2016 [5 favorites]

Here's a Facebook post I've run across recently which starts with "I'm not going to change your mind" ends with "We'll have to agree to disagree." In between, are a bunch of the right's "facts" and links to articles debunking them.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I'm not going to change your mind and you're not going to change mine.

If Hillary's emails bother you but the 22 million deleted emails during the Bush/Cheney administration – also on a private server - don't, I can't argue with that.

If Benghazi bothers you, and the 13 embassy attacks during Bush (where 60 people were killed) doesn't bother you, I have no argument for that.

If you think the Clinton's running their charity (a charity with an “A” rating with, that has 88% of its contributions going out to charity and not overhead and has a higher rating than the Red Cross and United Way) is a conflict of interest, while having no desire to know where Trump's money comes from – which is now from all foreign sources, because no US bank will loan him money anymore – AND if you had no problem with the conflict of interest with Dick Cheney running Halliburton and making BILLIONS during the war in Iraq, then I have no argument for that.

If you have women and girls in your life who you want treated with respect and don't have a problem with Trump's rampant misogyny, I have no argument for that.

If you have no problem with someone who has gone on and on and on about Bill Clinton's infidelity while he has cheated on his first wife with his second and his second wife with his third, then I have no argument for that. ALSO, BILL CLINTON ISN'T RUNNING FOR OFFICE, HIS WIFE IS.

If the list of proposed Supreme Court nominees that Trump put forth doesn't scare you enough to crap your pants, I have no argument for that.

If Trumps history of racial inequality doesn't bother you. I have no argument for that.

If you have no problem when you hear Trump go on about how companies are shipping their jobs overseas and how he will stop this, while his suits are made in Mexico and his ties in China, I have no argument for that.

If Trump's use of his charity's funds to pay personal debts and buy paintings of himself don't give you pause, then I have no argument for that.

I you think that Trump's a good businessman and will be good for our county's economics, when knowing about how many of his companies failed, I have no argument for that.

If the charges of fraud on Trump University and the scandal of his “donation” of $25,000 to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, after which she stopped her investigation into Trump University don't bother you, then I have no argument for that.

If you buy into the smear campaign against Hillary and don't get that so many on the right have - and have HAD - a hardon to get Clinton for what... 30 years now? And have spent MILLIONS of tax dollars to get her on something and have gotten NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH, ZERO. 30 years of half truths, lies and some bat shit crazy lies (my favorite being the one where she has killed so many people that it would make Hannibal Lector seem lazy!) repeated incessantly until the gullible and uneducated take it as truth, then I have no argument for that.

And if you think Trump is the better candidate, I have no argument for that either.

And the reason I have no argument with that? Because as I wrote earlier… I'm not going to change your mind, and you're not going to change mine.

We'll have to agree to disagree.
posted by bricksNmortar at 8:47 AM on October 13, 2016 [120 favorites]

You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into, as they saying goes.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:49 AM on October 13, 2016 [17 favorites]

Most of the arguments bricksNmortar puts forward amount to two wrongs don't make a right. While I happen to think Hillary is a liar and criminal, so is Donald. If I were you, I would disengage. The only people that hate Hillary more than the far right is the far left. Nothing you say will change that.
posted by AugustWest at 9:22 AM on October 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

The security email issue must cause security professionals to groan and eyeroll, there is so much non-secret crap stamped with a "c" just proforma that it's absurd. It's in the category that there are probably dozens of reasons an officer can arrest you mr-perfect-citizen if they want. Perhaps one rebuttal is put Hil in jail along with Colin Powell, General Petraeus, and much of the Bush administration. They've all admitted to worse than Hil.

But perhaps dig up the senate hearing of the FBI director where he says explicitly that there is no call for legal proceedings.
posted by sammyo at 9:53 AM on October 13, 2016 [4 favorites]

I agree that life is too short to argue politics with your friends, unless everyone involved explicitly enjoys it. But if you do, I'm fond of this post (which is more about their finances and the Clinton Foundation than the emails, but which you still might like to have in your back pocket).
posted by Clambone at 9:56 AM on October 13, 2016 [4 favorites]

I can tell you I understood emailgate much more clearly after listening to the Keepin it 1600 podcast on the topic. I believe it was the September 6 podcast. I doubt your friends will listen, but maybe if you listen you'll be able to debate the topic with the appropriate facts. But overall, I personally feel these Clinton arguments are rooted in sexism or perhaps a very minimal understanding of the degree of sexism in our culture. This is potentially the first woman president we're talking about. They hate her because of an email scandal?! They can't detect the slightest misogyny in the Clinton attacks? Come on. If they can't grasp the importance of having a woman elected to lead the nation and understand the significance of that, then they just don't really care. Maybe they prefer Warren. To that I'd say again, Warren isn't running, do you think she'd ever run after seeing how Clinton is treated, and why should I "wait for the next woman?" Did people say that to black Obama voters? Of course not.
posted by areaperson at 10:14 AM on October 13, 2016 [5 favorites]

Personally, I do believe Hillary Clinton probably did break laws. I'm also planning to vote for her. Because so what? I've broken laws before too. One time I drove 35 in a 25 zone. Does that make me a criminal? What about Rosa Parks? Was she a criminal? (I'd note that, unlike me, Hillary hasn't actually been convicted of her alleged violations, but that seems unlikely to change anyone's mind.) These people are making a logical leap (being [accused of being] a criminal disqualifies you from becoming president) that is not required. The actual question of the election is, who will best serve our country for the next four years? If the answer is Hillary Clinton, I'm voting for Hillary. I don't like her, I didn't vote for her in the primary, I didn't vote for her in the 2008 primary, but of the four choices we have right now, she's the best. If Jeffrey Dahmer somehow got himself nominated and presented a platform that I thought would be good for the country, I'd vote for him, too.

This obviously isn't enough to convince someone to vote for Hillary, but it can steer the conversation into more reasonable territory. If they accept your point that criminality doesn't matter, it'll turn to a discussion of the issues. If they don't, point out that Jill Stein is a criminal, too.

Or, if you want to argue on a more simplistic level, just keep typing the word "Nader" over and over again. Hard to argue against that.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:16 AM on October 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is incredibly important, especially now. Talking to people we actually know is one of the most likely ways to keep things sane. Thank you so, so much for not giving up.

This is the time to actually buckle down, be an adult, use _all the knowledge_ about how to discuss difficult things with people, and start actually trying to do so and learning.

Here's what I know:

- Notice physical and emotional circumstances. Use what you know to foster maximum patience and good will when you try to engage, both on the sending and the receiving end. Ask how your friend is feeling and maybe share a snack. Notice how you feel. Are you angry? Fearful? Tired? If so, then wait for another time; make a plan for another time. Or eat a cookie, close your eyes for 3-5 minutes, avail yourself of the many fine cuteness resources offered by the modern Internet, and reconsider whether you're ready.

- Ask questions first. This goes with establishing credibility. Find out why, specifically, your friend believes what he believes, or why he, specifically, feels so strongly. Listen to any relevant stories about his personal experiences with people who act "better than" or who "get away with" stuff. Listen to legitimate criticism of current systems.

- Be credible. Are you angry about some of the same things as your friend? Do you seem like a "blind" follower, or are you also aware of the flaws in your candidate? Are you sensitive to their feelings, really? Do you truly understand why he or she is so upset? Do you agree that the underlying values here are incredibly important? What does your friend already know about you that makes them likely to trust you? [this is not something I'm a huge expert on, but I do know it's important]

- Value them as people aside from their political beliefs. Keep the relationship separate from the politics. I think one thing that conservatives sometimes believe about non-conservatives is that non-conservatives don't value individual people, or relationships, as much as they feel is best. Whether you agree with this or not, you can show that it's not the case with your own behavior and words. I think non-conservatives tend to feel that words are easily bent and can be ultimately empty, but when they're what you have, try to use the ones that are truest.

- Keep it low pressure. Don't try to convince them of anything during a single conversation. People don't change their minds while they're talking. They change them when they have a chance to think. Make it very, very clear that you are not pressuring them. Also, ask for a chance to find answers yourself outside the conversation.

Am I an authority on this? No I'm not. It's time to start trying something, though, and I've been thinking about this kind of thing for a while. "Don't engage" is a recipe for disaster. Don't engage in a confrontational, condescending manner; don't engage by just sending a bunch of facts that overwhelms people's ability to digest information; don't engage by sending the same thing to every person on some kind of list or group. Engage, one person at a time, in a way that shows why paying attention to details matters (because a detailed approach is more effective than an overzealous, bludgeoning, uniform, reactionary approach).

There is no guarantee of success here. You have to be willing to try and fail sometimes in order to try and succeed sometimes. However, there are plenty of smart, kind, thoughful people who just need a little nudge of an idea to actually succeed here. I don't know that the approach above is the right one, but if you find a better one, PLEASE send it to me. If you find wrinkles or flaws, please let me know. This is just a first draft.
posted by amtho at 11:00 AM on October 13, 2016 [28 favorites]

All of these things have been investigated pretty aggressively by Republicans. If they couldn't find something worth charging her with, I think it's pretty safe to say there was no definitive proof of any criminal wrongdoing. But people like this tend to have an opinion first and justification second. They are unlikely to be persuaded, so I would probably drop it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:16 PM on October 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

These people are beyond reaching. Anyone who genuinely thinks Hillary Clinton is a criminal -- in the "put her in jail" sense -- is either so ignorant of the basic facts of the situation that they're not worth a facebook "discussion", has severe Clinton Derangement Syndrome (likely from being a child during Bill's presidency and soaking up Clinton hate by osmosis), or is a barely disguised misogynist who wouldn't vote for Clinton no matter what because she's a woman who dares to try to exist in a male role. There is no rational case for thinking any of this stuff.

If these people aren't accepting the basic facts on this stuff, which are widely available across a swath of media including sources that they would trust in almost any other situation, there's just no getting through to them.
posted by Sara C. at 12:32 PM on October 13, 2016

Notice how you feel. Are you angry? Fearful? Tired? If so, then wait for another time; make a plan for another time.

This is great advice. Getting into an argument is a great way to get angry if you aren't already, so going into one already angry is just a recipe for disaster.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:43 PM on October 13, 2016

Don't let a bunch of people yelling at a rally intimidate you. Keep calm, carry on, be creative, work together. Especially if you are in a creative communication field.
posted by amtho at 12:45 PM on October 13, 2016

This article about cutting off his nephew's family's medical insurance seemingly out of spite in 1999 seems pretty convincing, although it could be rewritten to focus it more toward the beginning -- it takes some wading to get to the most pertinent, affecting parts.
posted by amtho at 1:00 PM on October 13, 2016

This is a bit tangential to your question, but one tactic that has worked for me on FB in regard to friends supporting Trump, who complain about the "left-wing media" misrepresenting his views: I say that his views are plain to see in his tweets, his debate statements, and his stump speeches. No media interpretation or spin is needed to find them repellent on many levels.
posted by jetsetsc at 1:57 PM on October 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'd just like to interject quickly that that question is about left-wing opponents of Hillary, not Trump supporters. Bernie-or-bust types/Jill Stein idealists are unlikely to be persuaded to vote for Hillary because Trump sucks. Presumably, people who are "very left-wing" (OP's words) likely already realize that Trump sucks.
posted by kevinbelt at 2:39 PM on October 13, 2016 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I think Clinton haters from the left should be engaged with differently (or at least using different links) thank those from the right. I like amtho's approach, and I'd also add: use "I" statements, so it feels less like you are telling them what to think and more like you're sharing your personal thoughts and feelings. Say something and step aside to let them process. On social media, don't just keep responding and responding to the same post; say your piece and let it go and wait for the next opportunity to speak up. If you made any kind of journey yourself from disliking Clinton or if you still have reservations, feel free to share them alongside what you've come to realize about her and the double-standard with which she's been portrayed. But ultimately I don't think any kind of links about Bush or Cheney will be fruitful with those who have a left-wing critique, as obviously they wouldn't have given Bush or Cheney a pass either.

For me, the best approach for those from the left is to talk about:

1. How I personally, as a teenager in the 90s, absorbed a lot of the narrative about Hillary, and that I appreciate my ability to be a bit more reflective and critical about that narrative now, with a better sense of feminist critiques about how our society treats high-achieving women. And to especially reflect back on the prevailing attitude in the 90s, which is where a lot of our absorbed cultural consciousness about Clinton comes from.

2. Are the caricatures of her really realistic: does it make sense that she'd go through 30 years of what she's gone through just to get "power" when she's already plenty wealthy (and money = power in our society); how could it be that there could be *so many* investigations that have turned up so little and for her to still somehow be guilty of hugely nefarious deeds that we just don't know about (like is she or can anyone be that much of a mastermind); if she was so power-hungry and nefarious would the presidency even be the best play for her to hatch her dastardly deeds, etc. This is the one where you're gonna lose people that are far down the conspiracy hole, though, I must warn you.

3. (If this is an issue, for lefties who are rational but just can't "stomach" voting for her:) My personal approach to voting is that it is not an extension of myself but rather a civic duty and that the duty requires choosing between the two candidates actually capable of winning, not third party or staying home. The duty is about more than my personal values but also about speaking for and protecting those who cannot (children, the disenfranchised, etc.) and in this election that means keeping Trump out of office.

4. As activists and progressives, there likely will never be a candidate that fully speaks to us because the presidency is a numbers game and there just aren't enough of us yet. But it can be a choice about with whom we want to fight, who is most likely to listen and/or do battle respectfully.

Good luck. I've seen conversations on social media actually do some good, but they are few and far between. Coming out guns (or links) a-blazin' is unlikely to win anyone over. Asking questions and speaking about your personal feelings is more likely to open doors to understanding. Then if they ask for links, you can supply them.
posted by misskaz at 2:39 PM on October 13, 2016 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Agreed that you're not really going to change hearts and minds and it's best to just acknowledge and move on.

If you want a data point that puts HRC's email business in context as to the "she should be in jail" argument - I have a friend in the FBI, who was not involved in the investigation. His opinion is no more authoritative than the next person's, but it did put an interesting perspective on it:

- He dislikes HRC.
- He thinks that the private server, email, etc. was egregious and feels (correctly, IMO) that if he had done the same as a rank and file federal employee in HIS department, he'd be fired at least and possibly prosecuted. I have several DoD friends who feel the same. This is a key issue for them not supporting her.
- He agrees with the DoJ/FBI findings that her behavior was NOT prosecutable because the standards at the State Department were so low. IOW, so many people are doing it that it's impossible to single out an individual and hold them accountable. The problem has to be fixed systemically. Good luck with that.
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:50 PM on October 13, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'll also add that I have a lot of friends who are hating on Hillary from the left rather than the right, and comparing her to Trump doesn't seem to help. These people are still living in the primaries, comparing Hillary to Bernie or to some nonexistent ideal candidate. Or perhaps to their ideal of Jill Stein because they have done zero research on actual real life Jill Stein.

This makes it harder to argue, because you can't rationally compare the two candidates who actually exist for the job. Instead, the argument is Clinton vs. Unicorns, which is ultimately just a distraction. I've decided that Hillary is going to win easily without these people*, and if they genuinely want to stay home or vote third party out of stubbornness, good for them.

*Or that most of them are going to vote Hillary anyway, they just need to feel like they have some kind of moral high ground on Facebook.
posted by Sara C. at 3:09 PM on October 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

My honest response (not so popular around here) is something like this:

"YES, she's almost certainly broken the law, clearly has a horrible habit of skating just-barely above the absolute bare minimum of legal behavior in general, and definitely should have suffered repercussions for the secret server setup and all the deception thereafter, at least. I agree with you so much, dear friend. I share your pain and disappointment, I do. It's horrible, isn't it?"

"BUT, even with all that granted, she's still the best choice we have, like it or not, so I don't see how there's any real option other than suck it up, make this compromise-type choice today, and then work on having better options four and/or eight and/or more years from now. Getting to this point in 2016 with two very unpopular candidates was one problem, but it's too late to fix that this time around. Making the least-bad choice right now, on the other hand, especially given the hand we've been dealt? That isn't hard to do."
posted by rokusan at 3:59 PM on October 13, 2016 [4 favorites]

This article by a former self-professed Bernie Bro and Hillary hater may be of use to you, since your friends are left-wing rather than right.
posted by Tamanna at 7:29 PM on October 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Excellent Atlantic article on her email scandal here.
posted by persona au gratin at 12:50 AM on October 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Btw, have they looked at her policy proposals? Free college? Radically higher taxes on the wealthy? Or do they "just not like" her. This, I find, is inevitably the product of internalized misogyny and 30 years of insane right-wing attacks.
posted by persona au gratin at 12:53 AM on October 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

And re: Jill Stein: she's a crank not qualified to be dog catcher.
posted by persona au gratin at 12:55 AM on October 14, 2016

« Older What would a theoretical left wing president do?   |   Here comes the . . . gloom? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.