Do You Trust Hillary?
February 9, 2016
Do you trust Hillary? Does your answer reveal as much about yourself as it does about her?
If you feel a burning visceral hatred just hearing these questions, know that I honor your right to despise, but respectfully request that you stop reading, don’t comment, “unlike me” and leave my page. I am an actor whose view is no more important than anyone else’s. My views are no less important. I am a citizen. I registered for the Selective Service (the draft) on my 18th birthday as required by law. I pay my taxes. Like every American, I am afforded the Constitutional Protection provided by the 1st Amendment guaranteeing my freedom to speak. The Constitution makes no exceptions for actors or “celebrities.” Moreover, my work as a volunteer and advocate within and without the system is likely unknown to you, but is most assuredly worthy of respect by my fellow countrymen.
I am forced to preface my thoughts because of the litany of thoughtless, mean spirited and hate filled comments on my previous posts in support of my candidate, Secretary Clinton.
A large number of character maligning comments came from Christians. It is decidedly un-Christian to attack someone and impugn their motives for sharing ones views.
Now, this essay is about the nature of trust, which in most life or death circumstances is a pure instinct. As a species, we are conditioned over time to rely on this split second evaluation. Fear is a critical tool ensuring our survival. I submit that we have become lazy. At this stage of our development, we now often choose to trust or reject ideas, emotions, circumstances and most importantly other people very quickly and without scrutiny. We have that privilege. We count on our 5 senses to observe the world and shape our opinions. Unfortunately, we often lack the critical thinking tools that would allow us to delve deeper.
This flaw in our character is damaging our civilization.
What Senator Bernie Sanders fails to communicate is that the principal reason for the structural failures in our system, especially our campaign finance laws, our fraudulent congressional redistricting process, the corrupt banking and financial regulations and on and on, resides with us. We the voters are generally ill informed and all too often incompetent players in our civic life. The premise of his campaign is to begin a true political revolution that would require a level of engagement of the body politic that has NEVER happened before. Senator Obama mounted the most successful campaign in the history of Presidential politics, yet failed to receive support for his efforts or for his party in the midterms only two years later. Idealism is the life’s blood of our Democracy. Self deception is a very real possibility.
Haters gonna hate. Nuthin I can do about that. But, I address my remarks to open minded people everywhere. Sanders supporters, Republicans, Independents and people far and wide are most welcome to consider my mission. I don’t judge, condemn or in anyway disparage anyone’s right to support whoever you might. You don’t need me to tell you that, but I offer it by way of extending a hand in political peace and civic harmony. I expect thoughtful contrary viewpoints in the comments.
If you do not TRUST Hillary Clinton, I wish to put a series of questions to you. Have you met her? Have you listened to her speak in person? Have you watched her speak on any substantive issue from beginning to end, without the filter or editing by pundits or news directors. Don’t answer too quickly, if you’ve read this far, it’s worth playing along. Now, regardless of your answer, is there a specific issue, occurrence or quality…specific, that you can identify at the core of your attitude or feeling about her? Whitewater. Bill’s infidelity. A first lady taking on a major policy role. Benghazi. Classified Emails. Her hair, wardrobe or the tone or pitch of her voice. Dozens of other scandals. All of the above.
Now, Do you know all of the relevant information and the detailed circumstances related to the problems. Has your perception of each and every problem that turns you off been in any way colored or shaped by the reporting or perspective of commentators or pundits. Careful, it’s easy to be numbed by news organizations that are obviously or subtly biased. The question is, have you done your own critical thinking? Have you conducted even a cursory google search to understand the definitions or familiarized yourself with the vocabulary associated with any of these scandals. For my part, I have often settled on an opinion without doing due diligence only to be shocked to learn about the actual facts.
The plot thickens. Have you considered that any or many of the attacks are being generated by Clintons opponents? Don’t react too quickly. Have you gone to her website and actually, actually, actually, read her position papers? Did you know she’s been putting them up all year long? Is it possible that the very same interests that Secretary Clinton intends to challenge (Senator Sanders agrees with most of them) are committed to stopping her? It’s understandable if you don’t have the time or interest in doing the detailed search. But, be honest with yourself, in the final analysis, are you being hasty or even lazy withdrawing your Trust?
Are you a competent consumer of news? That’s a big one.
If you are someone who has sufficiently followed, researched and analyzed any or all of the situations that Secretary Clinton is embroiled in, then I salute you. Even if you have determined that she is untrustworthy or even criminally liable. I respect that you are a thoughtful and concerned citizen who now feels duty bound to oppose Hillary with the full weight of your voice. Simply put, you don’t trust her.
MSNBC and Rachel Maddow are unapologetic “liberals” or “Progressives” or the “extreme left” you pick the label. It’s true. They know it and you do. If you are a person for whom the sight of the MSNBC logo hits your gag reflex or the act of watching or listening to any of their hosts makes your blood boil, please stop reading this post, “unlike” me if you must, but its probably best that you not comment because you may not be sufficiently objective to offer a constructive criticism. I welcome criticism and differing opinions, but I no longer have patience to tolerate rudeness or wanton negativity.
So, I, Sean Astin, trust Hillary. Why?
In 1992, I had an amazing experience. I had just gotten married to Christine, my wife of now 25 years. We had travelled around the world. We were taking classes to satisfy our general ed credits at Los Angeles Valley College (we did 2 years, graduated with honors and transferred to UCLA graduating with double degrees with honors in American History and Literature). I digress.
I have always loved politics. My mom, Patty Duke, had been President of the Screen Actors Guild (like Ronald Reagan before her). I received a call from the young publicist who was paying her dues working for my Mom’s publicist. Not quite a golden spoon in my mouth, but for sure a great hand to be dealt in this world. I was always taught that “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48).
In the California Primary of 1992, I voted for Jerry Brown. His fiery rhetoric about the injustices rampant in the system, structural in nature would only be fixed with a massive political revolution. He and Bernie Sanders Primary Campaigns share a bunch of similarities. He lost. My very first choice as an eligible voter failed. I was bummed for sure. But, I was a newly wed, I was in Community College and on the verge of landing the defining acting role of my life, Rudy.
Shari called. The Hollywood Women’s Political Caucus was looking for someone to fly to Boulder Colorado to “open” for Hillary. I didn’t know anything about Bill and even less about her. But, I was being offered a path into the big game. Of course, I accepted. They would only pay for 1 coach seat. I really wanted Christine to be there, so we paid for her extra ticket. I was given a folder with “talking points” for the campaign. It was shocking how comprehensive they were, on the one hand, and strangely superficial on the other. I tried to use my memorizing skills to absorb all I could.
There were an estimated 15,000 people standing on the grass. All I knew for certain, was that, because of my family, I was a “good Democrat.” When I stepped onto the stage, my heart was racing, my palms were sweaty and I’m pretty sure I temporarily forgot where I was. I remember feeling that this was one of the most important moments of my life, because I was “putting myself out there” I was placing my reputation on the line. I wanted to be honest and persuasive. My basic pitch was that I wanted to live in a better world. That I felt responsible to be involved because I wanted my children to have every opportunity to succeed. It was heartfelt. It was genuine. And it was utterly naive, not in a condescending way, I simply didn’t know a lot. I knew a lot, but I didn’t know anywhere near enough to be holding myself as any kind of authority. On the strength of The Goonies and Toy Soldiers, somebody put a mic in my hands.
Michelle Shocked played exquisite folk music and Dana Dalany offered similarly emotive words for the students. Then Hillary arrived. She bounded up the stairs, smiled at us and turned her attention to the crowd.
I listened for nearly 45 minutes to this woman as she thundered away. Clearly, she knew the talking points backwards and forwards. The electricity of the moment, was undeniable. Mostly I could see the back of her head and the faces in the crowd. You could hear a pin drop. I’m not even sure most of them remembered to breath. She was magnificent. Her vocabulary. Her passion. Her authenticity was arresting. When she gave her final words (the moment captured above) the sea of bright faces, erupted into a spectacular and extended ovation.
Hilary spun on her heals looked me dead in the eye, shook my hand firmly and said, thank you for your support. She hadn’t heard me “speak” she just knew that I was on stage with her and therefore connected to her cause.
I was permanently hooked on Hillary as a political force. Everyone there, to a person, thought and knew that she should or could or would be President in her own right someday. Her talent as a speaker and her mastery of the issues combined with her descriptions of her biography and life’s work to date was in a word, impressive.
But, that’s not even the most amazing part for me. We all followed her into the building and a holding room. She worked the “clutch” industry term for a small gathering of people at the event whom she would say hello to and take a picture or sign an autograph. From there, she headed toward an area to do press. Not for nothing, but 2 Presidential cycles with Bill and her 2008 bid for high office, were filed day after day with this process repeated endlessly. The amount of physical strength and stamina required for this endeavor is as rigorous as you can imagine.
As she turned to go into the press room, we stood right next to each other. I gestured to lean in for a quiet word. She stopped what she was doing and in the practiced art of the best politician, made me feel like I was the only person in the room. Feeling conspiratorial and eager to ingratiate myself to her and the campaign, I said (with an eye towards the interviews I was about to do), “What do you want me to focus on?” Hillary looked me dead in the eye and without an ounce of pretense or calculation said, “just tell them why you wanted to get involved.” And off she went.
In that moment, I learned more about citizenship and the “system” than I could have imagined possible. Like all great people, athletes, musicians, scientists etc., doing “the thing” for its own sake will yield the most effective results.
That’s not to say that political favors and deals of all kinds don’t get made, but for me, in that moment, she made me believe. She put the world in context.
Obviously, I have never forgotten that moment.
Here’s the shocker for all you detractors that have made it this far in my writing, I make a concerted effort to study each scandal, with as open a mind as I can. In some cases, I have determined that her choices and actions have fallen short of my high expectations for her. One of the things that really bothers me, is that she occasionally fails to communicate the best part of herself. She forgets, or doesn’t prioritize that many people don’t know her, don’t have any real idea who she is or what the facts and circumstances are that cause people trouble. Television barely captures the intensity and commitment she has to improving the lives of real people.
I feel the same level of commitment and inspiration for Hillary’s Campaign now, that I did 25 years ago. Alexandra (19), Elizabeth (13) and Isabella (10) are curious about their Dad’s passion for this political cycle. We barely reference it, but I would absolutely love for them to see a woman become President of the United States. I would love for them to look up on the wall and see the panorama, starting with Washington and ending with Hillary.
It is disingenuous and insulting for young women to protest my enthusiasm for this notion on the basis that I might only be voting for her because she’s a woman. I don’t care how passionate the young female voter is for Bernie Sanders, for anyone to make that claim is an affront to the lifetime of service that Hillary has rendered over the course of her lifetime. How dare they.
My Aunt Lena passed away this year. She was a tenured professor of education at UCLA and the author of a great many books. She was a powerful feminist voice. She and my Mom got along handsomely. The so called feminist movement, with its somewhat tone-deaf late 20th century titans have done themselves a disservice in recent days and interrupted the discourse. But for ANY woman or anyone for that matter, to speak disrespectfully about those women who fought tooth and nail to forge the advancements that may now be taken for granted is inexcusable. If you happen to be one of those, who resents Bill Clinton for his indiscretions, so be it. You have every right. But, if you subtly, on any level, hold her accountable, in any way for how she managed herself and her marriage, you are twice victimizing her. Shame on you. Shame on all of us for contributing to a climate of judgment and self righteousness that we have no business to and that is flatly wrong.
It’s fine to move into a new space and time. But the inelegance of the rhetoric coming from Senator Sanders and many of the young women, in particular, who support him, is an embarrassment and reflects poorly on their campaign. Moreover, it reveals the desperate limitations of the Campaign’s core message. Energy isn’t synonymous with effectiveness.
Hillary Clinton is one of the most extraordinary political figures of the modern era. Be careful not to throw away talent of this caliber.
A Note on “Establishment”:
The opinion polls on Congress are lower than they have ever been in the history of the Union. It’s time to THROW THE BUMS OUT.
THE BUMS. Not those good willed, disciplined, hard working patriots who require just a little faith and help in the forms of new, optimistic and principled leaders. Hillary is one of the good ones. She is unquestionably a member of the Establishment…a great member of the establishment. An invaluable member of the parts of the establishment without which our country can’t function. Just ask her constituents, who re-elected her in a LANDSLIDE.
For you establishment killers, do you know anything about the department of commerce, for example? How it works, for real…how many people are slaving away on our behalf? How about the department of agriculture or any of the many pillars of our country? Have you visualized exactly how the political revolution will affect each and every one of these? Will you put tens of thousands of government workers on the street? My guess is that you don’t really know, don’t really understand, haven’t really gamed out your movement…well intentioned and authentic as the campaign is. Unfortunately that sounds condescending, forgive that please…but the truth of it seems self evident. When the rigged system is fixed, what will the world look like? On a practical level. If what you are talking about is Bernie spearheading a legislative tidal wave, do you really believe he’s the most effective agent? Have you seen the list of “establishment” officials who are standing with Hillary? It’s a mile long and Bernie concedes that he won’t get their support. What are the odds that Hillary, who already does have their support can navigate the legislative process more swiftly and thoroughly? Remember, both Candidates agree on almost everything except the use of superlatives in Senator Sanders rhetoric.
Do you understand that you are calling for class warfare. Would you put a cap on income? Make sure you understand the basic fundamentals of Democratic Socialism and Democratic Capitalism. I submit that “the establishment” can be shaped, changed, adjusted, regulated, fixed without throwing out the whole thing along with all of the visionaries who’ve built the best parts of it. Do this for the simple reason that it might be in you own self interest to accurately identify the elements of “the establishment” that will truly get you what you need. It would only be so many years after your victory that YOU would become, a thoughtful member of “The Establishment.”
And so, my friends, if you hate her…hate her…but please leave me and my “Liker-ers” alone to have a sophisticated conversation.
On we go. As far as I’m concerned, the time has come to rise up and support this woman. The many working women and older women who are out in force, may not scream as loud as the younger people who flood the arenas. But, mark my words, these women roar with courage and dedication. I join them in creating a wild tide of excitement. Let not their endless patience with those who neither know nor demonstrate the modicum of respect that history, courtesy and sacrifice demand. There is no failure to connect. There is only the understanding that Hillary is leading with strength a gathering storm of progress and achievement.
The link below is to a 7 minute interview that Rachel Maddow conducted with Secretary Clinton. If you watch with an open mind, you will have a glimpse of her sensitivity, honesty and command of the situation.
You may just reconsider what it means to trust her.