Within an hour of the New York Times posting to their Facebook page an article about the FBI recommending no charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of personal emails, there were hundreds of comments of every day American giving their opinion. The most prevalent idea — readers were not shocked, after all, she’s a politician.
Nothing represents millennials’ perspective more than this unfortunate view, that the more privilege you have, the more likely you are to get away with breaking the law. And Clinton is the queen of privilege.
I wrote once before about Clinton not reaching millennial females because “being female” doesn’t qualify her as being relatable to the average American enough, and this case has made that about 100 times more true.
When speaking with students at my University openly about the lack of an indictment against Clinton there was a common complacency that this is simply the way our federal justice system seems to work, when someone has money and power they are immune to prosecution.
What I find most terrifying is even students who were politically unaware enough to know nothing about the email scandal were not shocked that an indictment was not made after being presented with information about the episode. Even despite the FBI Director James Comey stating “there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” one student said simply “I mean I understand that people in power are above the law.” As if rule of law had never existed.
Millennials have not given up on their hope for justice, they were never raised to believe in one.
One college junior, who requested to remain anonymous, stated the lack of an indictment “sets a great precedent that lying to the American people is perfectly ok, and that being careless with American secrets is perfectly ok.”
The most shocking thing my conversations uncovered though, was the viewpoint of some Bernie Sanders supporters and undecided voters.
Clinton has not only proved that she is a crook, but that she has the political power and authority to control any system. Undecided voters and Sanders supporters nearly consistently told me they would rather vote for someone with no background in politics, such as Trump, than someone who has such manipulative control over the system to bend it toward their will.
In explaining that anyone else would go to prison for this action, one adamant Sanders supporter told me that Trump should not be feared because he can be moderated by the political system, while Clinton has the training to deceive the system.
Clinton’s lack of an indictment sends two extremely clear messages; first, in today’s justice system, the more money and the more power means the less likely one is to be arrested. This is engrained into my generation’s mind and Clinton is the symbol. Second, anyone who can deceive a system so consistently and slyly as Hillary Clinton has is far more fearsome than anyone the Republicans might nominate.
An indictment would surely have been the end of Clinton’s political career, but what appears to be true is that the lack of an indictment is the end to her credibility in far more than just politics. If they can discover that then perhaps millennials will find they would rather stand with the principle of justice, than stand with her.