Seeing through the transparency

Nobody has been probed, poked, grilled, and generally assailed in the past twenty-five years more than Hillary Clinton. Some people say that the experience has made her reticent and secretive; others, that her reticence and secretiveness have created the climate that makes her a target for all that probing.

Whatever the case, withholding information about her pneumonia was another example of one or the other. As CNN’s David Axelrod tweeted yesterday

Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What’s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?

He’s right, but he’s also wrong. The lament over the lack of transparency in the Clinton campaign is more perception than reality. We know virtually everything there is to know about her from her taxes to her emails to her marriage. The latest target? She and her husband’s foundation. It’s true that millions of dollars worth of donations that built up the Clinton Foundation assets came from extremely wealthy and influential people, but it’s also true that the Foundation’s funds have gone to aid millions around the world, especially but not limited to disease-riddled nations in Africa. Charity Watch gives it an A rating. By comparison, not that there is any, Donald Trump’s foundation is rife with chicanery and deception, not the least of which is that he, himself, never donates anything to anybody (though he apparently made an exception for Florida’s Pam Bondi).

I’ll admit I was disappointed in Clinton’s reluctance to admit she has pneumonia, and for a day I drank the Kool-Aid like everyone else. But people do become ill, and the desire to make oneself look stronger than the disease is natural, maybe more natural than this inordinate and seemingly manic desire for transparency—which has become the nonce word for 2016—this season’s vuvuzela. Transparency. It works for Saran Wrap and Scotch Tape, but not much else.

But if it’s transparency you want, even from bloggers, here it is: I was outside doing some gardening work Sunday and tweaked my left arm. It really hurt. When I woke up yesterday morning it was better.

Hillary Clinton has pneumonia. In another week or so she’ll be better. Not necessarily transparent, but better.

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