I’m Sorry

I’m reading Hillary Clinton’s What Happened, and I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry that she’s not President. I’m sorry I didn’t do more to help her become President.

I’m sorry that the world sees her as an evil, manipulative, lying person for having the temerity to be a powerful woman in politics. I’m sorry that even now, a chorus of voices is rising to implicate her in some nefarious plot, to prove once and for all that she’s guilty. Hillary Clinton is guilty only of standing up and fighting for her causes. She has pursued those causes — equality, kindness, a desire to help people who have less privilege and power than she — to the highest levels of political power, and she has used that power to make the world a better place. And, I think, many people hate her for succeeding as much as she has, and fear the implications of her continued success.

I’m Russian. My country’s politics is, sadly, full of smears and slanders lodged at every person who dares challenge the established power structure. Just recently, the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of Alexei Navalny, who has been hounded by sham accusations of corruption for years. The Court ruled not only that the trial against Mr. Navalny was unjust; it went so far as to review the case against him and find that Mr. Navalny in fact committed no crime at all. The endless campaign against him in the Russian justice system was based on fabricated, insinuated wrongdoings that never materialized.

I don’t know about you, but to me that story sounds pretty similar to the story of another politician – Ms. Clinton. Both Ms. Clinton and Mr. Navalny are champions of justice. And both face an endless effort to bring them down. From Whitewater to emails, endless “scandals” have been launched at Ms. Clinton to both intimidate her into staying out of the spotlight and to ensure the American public sees her negatively if she is not so easily intimidated. Similarly, from the Kirovles case to made-up violations of political protest regulations, endless attacks by the ruling interests of Russia aim to scare Mr. Navalny into stepping off the Russian political stage or, failing that, to ensure the Russian voter sees him as a fraud and a criminal.

The two politicians share another similarity. They refuse to back down in the face of this onslaught. They keep speaking out, fighting for what they believe in. And inasmuch as I am sorry that Ms. Clinton is not our President, so am I inspired by her courage. Like she, I refuse to back down. I will not be silent about my beliefs. And I will follow her example to fight for a more just and better world, for as long as I can.

PS I would like to thank the inestimable Melissa McEwan for her Shakesville blog. Reading it has helped me formulate these ideas, and realize I have a lot less to lose by speaking up than many others. Thank you.

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