Hillary Wants YOU To Vote Democrat To Be Less Lonely
Hillary Wants YOU To Vote Democrat To Be Less Lonely
Hillary Clinton is never, ever, EVER getting over the 2016 election. It’s clear in reading her new op-ed from The Atlantic, that she spends almost every waking moment seething over what could have been.
Which means, of course, that her op-ed is all about what is wrong with America right now, and her proposal to “fix” it. Naturally, she comes to the conclusion that if people just agreed with her and voted Democrat, then all the world’s ills would be solved and the country would be one happily united community, totally free of loneliness and heartache and those icky icky gross conservatives.
With that in mind, let us take a deep, paragraph by paragraph, dive into Hillary Clinton’s op-ed, deceptively titled “The Weaponization of Loneliness.” And it starts off with quite the bang.
The question that preoccupied me and many others over much of the past eight years is how our democracy became so susceptible to a would-be strongman and demagogue. The question that keeps me up at night now—with increasing urgency as 2024 approaches—is whether we have done enough to rebuild our defenses or whether our democracy is still highly vulnerable to attack and subversion.
This is how you start off a piece about “The Weaponization of Loneliness”? By bitching about the fact that you stay up at night, wondering why your campaign never sent you to Wisconsin? The 2016 election was supposed to be Hillary Clinton’s BIG MOMENT – and she whiffed it.
There’s reason for concern: the influence of dark money and corporate power, right-wing propaganda and misinformation, malign foreign interference in our elections, and the vociferous backlash against social progress. The “vast right-wing conspiracy” has been of compelling interest to me for many years. But I’ve long thought something important was missing from our national conversation about threats to our democracy. Now recent findings from a perhaps unexpected source—America’s top doctor—offer a new perspective on our problems and valuable insights into how we can begin healing our ailing nation.
Two words, Hillary: Steele Dossier. Your campaign had to pay a fine for passing that thing off as actual intelligence instead of the dirty trick that it really was, and helped divide this country as your people sold it to the media as proof that Donald Trump was a Russian puppet. Millions of wasted taxpayer dollars and one Mueller Report later, and now we all know that it was YOUR TEAM that spread the “misinformation” with a trowel. And let’s not even start on how Hillary tried to blame the “vast right-wing conspiracy” for all of the investigations into the Clintons, culminating in her husband’s sexual abuses within the Oval Office.
But now she wants to talk about “healing.” Okay then, let’s see what she thinks.
In May, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy published an advisory, warning that a growing “epidemic of loneliness and isolation” threatens Americans’ personal health and also the health of our democracy. Murthy reported that, even before COVID, about half of all American adults were experiencing substantial levels of loneliness. Over the past two decades, Americans have spent significantly more time alone, engaging less with family, friends, and people outside the home. By 2018, just 16 percent of Americans said they felt very attached to their local community.
An “epidemic of loneliness” may sound abstract at a time when our democracy faces concrete and imminent threats, but the surgeon general’s report helps explain how we became so vulnerable. In the past, surgeons general have at crucial moments sounded the alarm about major crises and drawn our attention to underappreciated threats, including smoking, HIV/AIDS, and obesity. This is one of those moments.
The rate of young adults who report suffering from loneliness went up every single year from 1976 to 2019. From 2003 to 2020, the average time that young people spent in person with friends declined by nearly 70 percent. Then the pandemic turbocharged our isolation.
According to the surgeon general, when people are disconnected from friends, family, and communities, their lifetime risk of heart disease, dementia, depression, and stroke skyrockets. Shockingly, prolonged loneliness is as bad, or worse, for our health as being obese or smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. Researchers also say that loneliness can generate anger, resentment, and even paranoia. It diminishes civic engagement and social cohesion, and increases political polarization and animosity. Unless we address this crisis, Murthy warned, “we will continue to splinter and divide until we can no longer stand as a community or a country.”
This is all true. What’s also true is that government has precisely zero tools to change any of this, unless Hillary is promoting her own version of a “strongman and demagogue” who will tell people where to live, who to marry, and what to do. Which, I believe, would be called a cult, not a government. Murthy himself had “six pillars” for fixing the loneliness epidemic and absolutely none of them could be enforced by government. They were more like “guidelines.” But never fear, Hillary has a plan!
In 1996, I published It Takes a Village. As first lady, I was worried that American life had become frantic and fragmented for many people, especially stressed-out parents. Social, economic, and technological trends seemed to be pulling us apart rather than lifting us up. We were spending more time in our cars and in front of the television and less time engaging in our communities. Even back then, before smartphones and social media, it was evident that Americans were becoming more isolated, lonely, and unmoored from traditional sources of meaning and support—and that our kids were suffering because of this. I also was concerned about the rise of right-wing politicians like Newt Gingrich and media personalities like Rush Limbaugh who were sowing division and alienation.
Nearly 30 years later, it’s clear that the problems I diagnosed in the 1990s ran deeper than I realized, and were more dire than I could have imagined. But the prescriptions in It Takes a Village—putting families first, investing in community infrastructure, protecting kids from out-of-control technology, and recommitting to the core American values of mutual responsibility and empathy—have only grown more urgent and necessary.
Our beloved Rush has been gone for over two years, and he still lives rent-free in Hillary Clinton’s head. That is some delicious hilarity that Rush would have very much loved. I also find it hilariously predictable that all the division, in Hillary’s mind, comes from the right, never the left. It Takes A Village was really about how It Takes A Government, because if people in the 90’s had returned to their local churches/synagogues/mosques/temples and created strong religious communities that gave people a sense of belonging and purpose, Hillary Clinton would be upset because that takes away control from Big Daddy Government.
I’ll skip a few of the paragraphs that follow, as Hillary points out other researchers and papers that have come to the same conclusions about loneliness and its effects on both physical and mental health, though she touches on social media use by children. Again, is this something that government or parents should be handling? Remember, the left loved social media when the Obama campaign used it, but hates it now that they can’t control it. Hillary is now worried that the children are getting “misinformation” from social media. Pot, meet kettle.
“What does all of this loneliness and disconnection mean for our democracy?” Hillary asks next. Spoiler alert: the EEEEEEVIL right wing has taken over the conversation and is splintering people into factions!
It’s not just the surgeon general who recognizes that social isolation saps the lifeblood of democracy. So do the ultra-right-wing billionaires, propagandists, and provocateurs who see authoritarianism as a source of power and profit.
There have always been angry young men alienated from mainstream society and susceptible to the appeal of demagogues and hate-mongers. But modern technology has taken the danger to another level. This was Steve Bannon’s key insight.
Long before Bannon ran Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, he was involved in the world of online gaming. He discovered an army of what he later described as “rootless white males,” disconnected from the real world but highly engaged online and often quick to resort to sexist and racist attacks. When Bannon took over the hard-right website Breitbart News, he was determined to turn these socially isolated gamers into the shock troops of the alt-right, pumping them full of conspiracy theories and hate speech. Bannon pursued the same project as a senior executive at Cambridge Analytica, the notorious data-mining and online-influence company largely owned by the right-wing billionaire Robert Mercer. According to a former Cambridge Analytica engineer turned whistleblower, Bannon targeted “incels,” or involuntarily celibate men, because they were easy to manipulate and prone to believing conspiracy theories. “You can activate that army,” Bannon told the Bloomberg journalist Joshua Green. “They come in through Gamergate or whatever and then get turned onto politics and Trump.”
Like many others, I was too slow to see the impact this strategy could have. Now the surgeon general is telling us that social disconnection is not just a problem at the margins—not just the usual “angry young men”—but is in fact an epidemic sweeping the country.
I have seen firsthand how dangerous lies can fuel violence and undermine our democratic process. During the 2016 campaign, a shocking number of people became convinced that I am a murderer, a terrorist sympathizer, and the evil mastermind behind a child-sex-abuse ring. Alex Jones, the right-wing talk-show host, posted a video about “all the children Hillary Clinton has personally murdered and chopped up and raped.”
A few comments here:
1) The country would have been a lot better off if Bill Clinton had been a bit more of an “incel” while president.
2) Uber-feminist Hillary is shocked, SHOCKED to discover what happens to young men who have been told that they are worthless.
3) “Pizzagate” apparently offended Hillary deeply, and she seemingly puts it on the same level as leaving people to die in Benghazi.
4) Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself. *cough cough*
So, what we learn here is that Hillary is still blaming men for all the country’s woes. Now, instead of keeping women down in social life, they’re not participating in social life and listening to wrongthink. I’m not saying that she has actually murdered people herself or that she is a terrorist sympathizer. I’m saying that her actions have spoken louder than her words, and it’s indisputable that she left people to die in Benghazi, that Bill Clinton freed terrorists in order to help her Senate campaign, and that she has offered no explanation or condemnation as to why Bill was hanging out with known child abuser Jeffrey Epstein. People are allowed to draw their own conclusions, Hillary. If they draw the wrong ones, well, what have you done to combat that image of yourself? A TV show with your daughter isn’t going to change the image that you’ve created over the past 30 years.
Hillary then moves into election conspiracies and the 2020 and 2022 elections. Notably, she completely ignores the fact that she and her supporters have continued to claim that the 2016 election was “stolen” from her, right even to Hollywood actors begging electors to change their votes to avoid putting Trump into office. Funny, according to Jack Smith, they should all be federally indicted now. Hillary skips over all of that inconvenient history and moves right to the heart of her piece – vote Democrat to heal the country!
Without a doubt, winning elections at every level is essential. We need to defeat the demagogues and election deniers so convincingly that there’s no room for dirty tricks. And it’s heartening that organizations like Run for Something are mobilizing candidates for school boards, county clerkships, and state legislatures across the country. We also need to strengthen voting rights and fight back against misinformation. But ultimately, winning the next election is never going to be enough. We must work together to restitch our unraveling social fabric, and to rebuild Americans’ trust in one another, our democracy, and our shared future.
Although there is an important debate to be had about how much economic conditions contribute to loneliness and alienation, the significant investments being made under President Joe Biden can lift both incomes and aspirations. The historic legislation enacted by Biden and the Democrats in Congress will modernize infrastructure, bring supply chains home, and boost manufacturing in key industries such as semiconductors and electric vehicles. These investments may help stem the outflow of workers and young people forced to leave their communities to seek opportunity far from home, leaving behind friends, families, and emotional and spiritual support systems. Too often, when Americans face boarded-up storefronts, empty pews, and crumbling schools, it’s despair, loneliness, and resentment that fill the void. Bringing opportunity back to these hard-hit places and enabling more Americans to stay and raise families where their roots are won’t reverse the toxic impacts of social media, disrupt the right-wing media machine, or end our political polarization, but it’s a step in the right direction. We can build on that by raising taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations to buttress our social safety net and invest in schools and communities.
Vote Democrat! Fight against misinformation! Tell Congress to pass MORE spending bills! Raise taxes on the wealthy! Spend more on social programs and schools! WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG??? Of COURSE, in the mind of Hillary Clinton, if everyone just AGREED with her, then all would we well, and we would be a happy, healthy, harmonious left-wing commune that would have elected her president back in 2016, dammit!
I offered similar prescriptions in It Takes a Village, arguing that we need to work together to help families raise healthy, successful children. Some of the work I envisioned would happen at home, such as families turning off screens and spending more time together. Much of it would be in communities, with local businesses, schools, congregations, and unions doing more to bring us together and help parents who often feel alone and overburdened. I thought government could help support that community engagement. For example, I was a big supporter of a Clinton-administration program that gave poor families in public housing vouchers to move to safer, middle-income neighborhoods where their children could make friends and find mentors from different backgrounds. I was convinced that we had to come together as a national village and decide that helping all our kids live up to their God-given potential is more important than profits or partisanship.
These basic principles still ring true, and the evidence continues to show that this approach works. The children of those families that we helped move to better neighborhoods in the 1990s have grown up to attend college at higher rates, earn higher incomes, and have more stable families of their own than their peers who stayed behind. And the younger the kids were when they moved, the bigger boost they received.
It’s always about government, from cradle to grave. And the people who bought into Hillary’s vision are the very ones who the left is attempting to pay off now with student loan debt relief (and even Vox is throwing the towel in) when that college degree in queer folk art gets you a job as a Starbucks barista. We have spent untold numbers for decades, trying to “win” the “War on Poverty” with mixed results at best. Government cannot fix the human heart, soul, or spirit. Hillary, however, is still bitterly clinging to her leftist vision.
In recent years, I’ve often thought back to It Takes a Village. The pandemic should have been a case study in how Americans come together in the face of a common challenge. And at the beginning, there was a sense of solidarity and shared sacrifice. People realized that if their neighbor got sick, it could harm them too, and that the virus was striking everyone. The entire village was at risk. We really were all in it together. Tragically, this spirit quickly faded. President Trump and other right-wing leaders politicized the pandemic and turned public health into a wedge issue—a staggeringly shortsighted and dangerous move with predictably deadly results. And when data first emerged showing that COVID-19 was disproportionately affecting Black and Latino communities, support for safety precautions and shared sacrifice dropped among white people and conservatives. Instead of a story of our common humanity, the pandemic became a story of our fractured society and poisoned politics.
Oh dear Lord. The amount of lies that have been told in order to control the population with fear over COVID-19, the sacrifice of our children’s education and mental health, the financial devastation that can never be completely undone, the elites getting away with breaking the rules they set for the peasants, the cult-like insistence on masks as a sign of religious belief and fealty, and Hillary – who never suffered financially during the lockdowns – wonders why the public fractured. Ask the Biden administration, why don’t you.
I haven’t given up, though. I still believe in the wisdom and power of the American village. I’m inspired by the moms and dads showing up at school-board meetings and getting involved in local politics for the first time because they refuse to let extremists ban books from the neighborhood library. I love reading about teenagers turning to old-school flip phones so they’re no longer at the mercy of giant tech firms and hidden algorithms. I’m encouraged by the growing number of companies giving employees time off to vote and recognizing that they have responsibilities not just to shareholders but also to workers, customers, communities, and the planet. And I take heart from the workers bravely organizing corporate warehouses and coffee shops, or walking a picket line, breathing new life into the labor movement and insisting that even in our fractured age, we are still stronger together.
Again, Hillary praises those who agree with her. The parents who show up to demand that school district stop sexualizing our children are BAD. Companies who don’t give their workers time off to vote are BAD. People who don’t support unions or union organizing are BAD. And the kids who are getting flip phones? Those must be coming off eBay, because my family just spent a lot of time and effort finding a “dumb” phone for one of our children that our cell plan would support, because a flip phone or a brick phone are not popular enough to be readily available for parents or kids to choose as a new option.
If you dig deep enough, through all the mud of politics and polarization, eventually you hit something hard and true: a foundation of values and aspirations that bind us together as Americans. That’s something to build on. If we can break out of our toxic “us versus them” dichotomies, if we can shrink our notion of “the other” and expand the “we” in “we the people,” perhaps we can discover that we have more in common than we think.
Though we are divided in so many ways, though we are lonelier and more isolated than ever, it remains true that none of us can raise a family, build a business, strengthen a community, or heal a nation alone. We have to do it together. It still takes a village.
No, Hillary. It does not “take a village.” It takes a COMMUNITY of shared values. But the only values that you believe in are leftist ones with all problems being solved by voting Democrats and confiscating money by taxation to fund your social programs. The left has been busy “othering” the right for decades, and you are still doing it in this very piece. You demand unity on your terms, and then act shocked when we reject those terms.
You aren’t bemoaning “the weaponization of loneliness,” Hillary. You are attempting to weaponize leftist conformity under the guise that this will make everyone less lonely. You are not promoting any shared values or any sense of purpose. You are advocating for government control, promising cradle-to-grave care, if only the Democrats are voted into perpetual power. Government can never, ever, EVER be granted the control to make people less lonely. That is something every human soul must determine and do for themselves. Give government to power to “fix” loneliness, and you will find a totalitarian state.