19 February 2016

Clinton's Conundrum: Truth-Telling

CBS's Scott Pelley
In a segment on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, Clinton was asked, point blank, if she would pledge, as presidential candidate Jimmy Carter did, to tell the truth (as well as whether or not she has ever told a lie). One would expect a fairly simple, and straight-forward answer to this question, consisting of exactly one word that has three letters in it. This, however, was her response:
Well, I have to tell you I have tried in every way I know how literally from my years as a young lawyer all the way through my time as secretary of state to level with the American people.
~Hillary Clinton
She has always tried. On seeking clarification, Pelley followed up by asking her if she's always told the truth. Again, Clinton repeated that she has "always tried." When pressed by Pelley, she again stated that she has always tried, and then gave the following response, which was I guess what she believed was supposed to allay the disbelief he was showing (as was apparent as he asked her the question about three different times):
Well, but, you know, you're asking me to say, "Have I ever?" I don't believe I ever have. I don't believe I ever have. I don't believe I ever will.
~Hillary Clinton
I have worked for some of the top global law firms for over fifteen years as, among other things, a paralegal. I also successfully completed two years of law school, and I was the second-youngest student my school ever admitted in its 125-year history. To my trained ears, Clinton's response is lawyer-speak, which makes it appear as though she's answered the question when, in fact, she has not.

There is one thing that I've heard people say about Clinton, and that is that she's a very good lawyer. Some, however, might consider that to be more of an insult than a compliment. The fact that she could not answer such a simple question—"Will you pledge to tell the truth?"—with the simple, one-word, three-letter answer anyone running to be POTUS would use demonstrates, to me, how much Clinton continues to think—and act—like an attorney and not a President. Watch her respond to Pelley's questions and judge for yourself:

Clinton's response here continues the pattern of how she answers questions. To me, she basically is coming up with ways to not answer questions so that she can backtrack on what she's said at some point in the future. The pattern of her responses essentially is, "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" all over again (and again, and again). And in my view, America just doesn't need another President who employs such legalistic tactics in their everyday speech.

Ray Bradbury quote: You can't TRY to do things,
you must simply DO them.
Here's another way to look at it. In therapy, I'm constantly being told to stop saying "I'll try to do so-and-so" or "I'll try to get such-and-such done." Instead, I'm told to just say it. Compare "I'll try to get to work on time" with "I'll get to work on time." The former sets us up for failure while the latter already has us succeeding; it's essentially a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If Clinton is always trying to tell the truth, doesn't it follow that she's really just setting herself up to fail at doing so? As Ray Bradbury says, "You can't TRY to do things, you must simply DO them."

I'd like to thank my very good friends Xander, Lorraine, and David, who've assisted me with proofreading my articles lately. Xander, a native of the Netherlands, speaks four languages, and English was not the first one he learned. There's something to be said that a non-native speaker could know "our" language better than a majority of native-born Americans.

You may also be interested in:
No More Fleecing in Flint
Did Sanders Smear Clinton or Is This A Bait-and-Switch?