Gross Negligence versus Less-Than Criminal Malfeasance

The Clinton email uncovers some widespread ignorance of law, reaching to the highest levels of the Congress. The House GOP, in the wake of the news delivered by FBI Director James Comey, is out for blood in the form of some type of indictment of Hillary Clinton. If the Constitution did not bar ex post facto laws, I’m sure they would be passing them “in a few hours,” to quote Chaffetz. The media has also been seeking the juicy chance to tell the American people that the Democrats would face the unprecedented choice between running a candidate who’s out on bail and ditching her for someone else.

But the wisdom of law is that it doesn’t bend to the political winds, but holds up. It continues to exist right beside whatever politically expedient thing might be in the here and now.

If Clinton were an ordinary employee, or even if she were presently in the employ of the Federal government, she would undoubtedly be sanctioned for mishandling of classified materials (as would her staff). That not being the case, where is our pound of flesh? It’s not like the Congress could pass new laws that would obliterate the chances of similar issues in the future. It’s not like the Congress could look in a mirror and note that they failed to provide adequate oversight at the time Hillary Clinton was serving as Secretary of State.

But this is about Hillary Clinton, not Congress. Misdeeds lead to punishment. That’s how we’ve always done it. Never mind that we have no idea (and won’t until some future day when the emails in question are declassified) how severe the errors were. We still must find some manner of settling this score, a score we never would have known about if the conservatives hadn’t been so scornful of Clinton in the first place that they filed FOIA requests for documents relating to the handling of the attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Again, where was the oversight?

Wait, wait. Focus. Clinton. Did she lie to Congress? Did she lie to the public? She said she needed only one device, and possibly someone hacked the server. And sent classified information via email. Unarchived email. Would a new law really help? I mean, it’s not like there are other problems we’ve had in the same area. This was just one person (oh, and her staff) that screwed up. And it’s not like we could just have a law that would require normal government business to be conducted through normal government channels. It’s not like our founding document recognized the need for such a normal channel and empowered the government to create a service for the carriage of correspondence.

So, get mad as you like at Clinton. Elect Donald Trump instead. Hit the earth with a meteor, why don’tcha? It doesn’t really matter, because at the end of the day she’s still just one person, and punishment doesn’t solve problems. If it did, all the people suffering due to lack of immigration reform; lack of action on police, incarceration, and guns; lack of price controls on health care; lack of infrastructure maintenance; lack of climate action; lack of educational reform; lack of poverty reform; . . .; all of those people would have solved all of our problems years ago. They are being punished not because Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information.

They are being punished because Congress is nothing but a shitshow. So, go ahead, punish Clinton. How could one more person suffering really matter when that unholy body of the US Congress can’t do its job? Since they write the laws, rest assured their dereliction remains less-than-criminal malfeasance.