Juan Cole has weighed in on HRC’s gaffe, vindicating Clinton of intentionally trying to connect Bobby Kennedy’s assassination with Obama’s potential assassination in order to try and sway the delegates from taking a chance with Obama and his unpredictable future. Cole appears to feel the need to do this in order to justify expressing sympathy for Clinton, a pervasive if mistaken idea in my view. (I should say that Cole is an Obama supporter and clearly appreciates HRC’s judgement lapses but is horrified at the almost inhuman process of a modern presidential election campaign; I am quibbling to illustrate a point, but an important point.)
There really is no need to make sympathy, empathy or compassion contingent on a justification, it being entirely consistent to express sympathy for the pressures of modern campaigning and the awfull pressures it puts on the candidates while condemning a statement as ill-judged. Indeed it is clear that HRC is suffering under the pressure of the campaign and this is grounds enough for sympathy. Hillary Clinton is absolutely entitled to our compassion.
It is equally clear that HRC knew exactly what she was doing. She is an experienced politician, and if she wasn’t aware of what she was doing she is entirely unfit for the office she seeks, and it was no slip of the tongue, having said the same thing in March.
I am writing this in the middle of the Dalai Lama’s teachings in Nottingham and so feel emboldened to point out that from a Buddhist perspective compassion is best when it is unconditional—the only trigger needing to be someone else’s suffering. Seth Freedman reminded me earlier in the year of the Catholic Saying, Love the Sinner, hate the Sin, which clearly reflects the teachings of Judaism and a central feature of religious thought, and a central theme in Sense and Sensibility:
“No, Marianne, never. My doctrine has never aimed at the subjection of the understanding. All I have ever attempted to influence has been the behaviour. You must not confound my meaning. I am guilty, I confess, of having often wished you to treat our acquaintance in general with greater attention; but when have I advised you to adopt their sentiments or to conform to their judgment in serious matters?” (17.39)
To some of us (Obama partisans) it has been obvious that her campaign has been running on bluster for some time, and it has been corrupting Hillary Clinton’s judgment. She resembles nothing more than a gambler trying to recover their losses butgoing further and further into debt. She really ought to put the hammer down before she hurts herself any more.