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Letter to the Editors: Second from April 24, 2015

Inthe March 20 edition of the Messenger, Christine Barkley ’18 wrote about the media coverage of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, calling it “ridiculous.” This scandal started with the revelation that while serving as Secretary of State, Clinton used a private email address instead of a government email. Barkley asserts, “Who really cares?” This story has been “blown out of proportion” and was a “simple oversight.”

Let’s take a deeper look at what has happened here: in lieu of using her mandated government email, Clinton installed a private server in her New York home under the name “Eric Hoteham,” and then used a personal email to communicate as our nation’s top diplomat. It is hard to see this as a simple “oversight,” especially coming from Clinton, who is one of the sharpest legal and political minds in our country.

As I see it, this scandal is problematic for two reasons. Firstly, her private email server is significantly more vulnerable to hackers, lacking the sophisticated privacy measures one would find on a government server. Secondly, the release of her work-related emails to the government has been done by her own personal lawyers, leading to no public transparency. We can only take her word that she released all the relevant emails. If she had something to hide, she could simply not include it in the 55,000 pages of emails her lawyers already released. Why not let an objective third party review her emails?

This scandal is emblematic of a criticism commonly waged against Clinton: that she operates with little transparency. In fact, the insularity of her campaign for president in 2008 is largely seen as the cause of its failure. Most recently, this criticism resurfaced when it was revealed that the Clinton Foundation had been surreptitiously accepting large donations from foreign governments while Clinton was the nation’s top diplomat.

As a vanguard female political leader, Clinton has sustained much criticism – some unnecessary and rooted in sexism, and some warranted. I think this is a case of warranted criticism. I find it ridiculous to disregard a clear ethics violation. We should strive to be critical of the politicians that represent us, holding them up to the high moral and ethical standards that our democracy deserves.

Taylor Lightman ’16 is from Lewisburg, Pa. He majors in religion and political science.

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