Who is the judge of whether another human being is redeemable or not?
You may have seen Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ comments on the news or your social media feeds in recent days.
The full quote goes, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”
After Hillary Clinton made her “basket of deplorables” comment, she went on to describe this same group of people as “irredeemable.” Her exact quote went, “Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
Irredeemable, according to Merriam-Webster, means “not able to be saved, helped, or made better” – these people are “irredeemable” yet, Hillary Clinton wants to govern over them.
Since our founding, the United States has always been one of the greatest beacons of redemption the world has known. People from all over the world come here to start over and follow their dreams.
Even Americans who make almost unimaginable mistakes can find redemption.
Look at Hillary Clinton’s husband – a man who admitted to committing adultery in the Oval Office, and who then lied under oath as President of the United States. He now is regularly celebrated by the same coalition Hillary Clinton made her ‘irredeemable’ comment to.
Certainly, in a nation where a quarter of all our citizens could be deemed ‘irredeemable’ simply because a politician declared they were, Bill Clinton would have no hope for redemption. But he did have hope for redemption, because this is America.
I am of the opinion that redeemability, by almost anyone’s definition, is not something to be decided by a candidate for office. For Hillary Clinton to state otherwise exposes a kind of hubris that I find alarming.
Now, if Hillary Clinton had another definition of “irredeemable” in mind when she made that comment, say, the Dictionary.com definition, “not redeemable; incapable of being bought back or paid off,” I could agree with her. A large chunk of the American public is incapable of being bought back or paid off.
Given the context of Clinton’s speech, however, I have to believe what she was commenting on was the actual hearts and minds of half of American voters supporting Donald Trump, and that is unacceptable.
We are a nation that largely believes in redemption. We support programs for people who have suffered from addictions, we rehabilitate prisoners who have committed horrible crimes, our institutions of faith, tens of thousands of non-profit organizations and some segments of our government do tremendous work helping Americans find redemption.
For almost any American, there is hope for redemption, even after doing terrible things.
As I sit here thinking about some of the political opponents across Maine I dislike the most, I can’t think of a single one I would call irredeemable. Every one of them shows an ability to be “saved, helped, or made better” – and it is really sad that one of our Presidential candidates thinks otherwise.
If the wife of a man who did the things Bill Clinton did can forgive him, but still honestly believe that 25% of the American people are incapable of being “saved, helped, or made better” I have to question why she wants to be President of the United States in the first place.
And if her frustration is that 25% of Americans are ‘irredeemable’ in that they can’t be bought back or paid off, that may be even worse. It would mean she no longer thinks in the vein of John F. Kennedy and his “ask not what your country can do for you”, but along the lines of “tell me what I need to do to buy your vote.”
With a population to govern that is this far gone, in her opinion, the only remaining explanation for why Hillary Clinton is seeking the highest office in the land is a raw, unadulterated hunger for the power of the office, in which she could use that power to punish those who, in her eyes, fall into the irredeemables category.
After 8 years of watching America divided into various groups and tribalistic rhetorical battles incited from the highest offices in the land, we need to unite for the greater good of our nation.
Hillary Clinton’s view that a quarter of our population is a lost cause is unacceptable, dangerous and not keeping in the American philosophy of unbridled hope and belief in the potential of our fellow Americans.