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Book Review: What Happened (mixed w/ personal rant)

More like, WTF happened!? Every single day since the 2016 election I'm in shock Hillary lost. I'm even more shocked, on a daily basis, that we have an offensive imbecile in office. Literally, sick to my stomach.  Naturally I want to know what happened, so put myself on the wait list for the audio book.

This took me a little while to get through as I only listened to it on the way to and from work once a week. I actually had to borrow it twice. Part of the reason is because a large portion of the book is Hillary 'rambling' about personal things that I didn't really care about - such as the types of food items she liked to eat on the campaign trail.

Many of the larger, more publicized reasons for the loss are well-known; but it was good to hear them from her perspective - along with many of the smaller details we don't hear so much about in the news.

In my opinion - and I think the obvious truth, Hillary had many things going against her at the get-go. First, she's a woman. Remember, African Americans got the right to vote in 1870 with the 15 amendment while women didn't get that right until 50 years later in 1920 with the 19 amendment. While I am, I don't think many people in America were ready for a women president. But, a lot of people were - hence her winning the popular vote. In addition, I think there a lot of negative connotation from the fact her husband Bill, was impeached while he was president. Should this have any effect on her candidacy for president? No. Does it? Unfortunately, likely yes.

The next big factor is that Obama is a democrat. According to history, while there have been back-to-back democratic presidents, the probability is relatively low. On top of this, Obama is half black and Hillary is a woman. This shouldn't matter, but it likely does for many.

Next, false equivalency. I'm sure much of it was not on purpose, but the media - news and social tend to give both the positives and negatives of both candidates. This isn't just true for politics, but coverage of things in general. I do the same thing when I am reviewing a product, book, or restaurant. I give the positives and the negatives. Does this mean that the positives and negatives are equivalent in nature? Absolutely not.

For example, a recent book review of mine, "The subtle art of not giving a f*ck", I gave the positives and negatives of the book - but I didn't give weights. I assumed the reader can judge for them-self that the positives far outweigh the negatives. I was surprised to find out that this was not the case.

Emails...'those damn emails'... okay, I agree that the use of personal email (server) for work-related issues during her role as secretary of state shouldn't have happened. It was careless, but not malicious. The unfortunate timing of the FBI's investigation of these emails definitely played a huge role is changing people's minds about their vote.

This is the false equivalence made by the the media. This story was covered for what seemed like 90% of the time on news channels, newspaper, etc. Why? Because it was an FBI investigation happening concurrently to the presidential election. It turned out nothing incriminating was found, but the damage was done. Was this story equivalent to all the Trump scandals? Absolutely not. Trump "University"? The fact that Trump properties went bankrupt FOUR times?                           

Although it is tough to say right now how much of an effect it had, the Russian interference is a big deal. More and more is being revealed to the public every day. Think about how easy it was for them with the advent of social media. Thousands of fake accounts were created to propagate lies and false information in an effort to sway a U.S. election. Ads were even purchased on both Facebook and Twitter which slandered Clinton. Unfortunately many people get their news from social media. Up to now there hasn't been much regulation in terms of who can have an account and what you can say. I can see big changes coming to social media soon which will attempt to fix these very big problems.

What people need to know about social media is that it is largely unfiltered - littered with various opinions and falsehoods. Get this: fake news travels much faster than real news! (check out The Atlantic link below). I believe both Facebook and Twitter started to alert its users who were duped during the election. Social media is a double-edged sword. On one side, it's a great tool to share ideas and keep connected with friends and family; on the other side it is sometimes hard to tell what is true and what isn't.

I haven't been a big Twitter user until recently; especially after deleting my Facebook page. The other day I visited Hillary Clinton's Twitter page. The comments on her posts are atrocious. People really seem to dislike her. Some of the comments are quite nasty while others are obvious slander. For example, Clinton recently made a twitter post about the school shootings. One of the top comments blamed Hillary for the shootings.  I can't help but think many people making these comments are being paid to do so. It was revealed recently that this was and still is exactly the case. See below links on 'Russian Trolls'. If you don't know, internet trolls are people who spend lots of time on the internet, visiting blogs, forums, social media and make provocative comments - which often contain false information. These comments generate A LOT of attention and replies. Depending on the algorithm the website uses, this troll's comment will likely appear at the very top of the post - which will be the first thing users see when they visit. I believe this is what's happening to Hillary Clinton.

I admit I'm not the most informed voter. I don't often follow politics. I don't typically vote in smaller elections. I occasionally read the news from (hopefully) unbiased sources. I try to see and understand the views from all parties, despite political affiliation. From what I've seen, when it came to Trump vs. Clinton, Clinton should absolutely be our president right now. Was she the best candidate overall? I don't think so. Did she 'steal' the democratic nomination to beat out Bernie Sanders? Was the democratic primary 'rigged' in Clinton's favor? Maybe.

It is very unfortunate the way things turned out. But, like all experiences, we can learn from this. I hope the truth comes out regarding Russian interference and whether or not the Trump administration's hands are dirty. I plan to be better informed and begin voting in smaller, town and state elections. I hope that we can eliminate the need for money in the election process. A big part of the reason Bernie Sanders didn't make more of an impact is because his wallet is smaller; he also did not want the support of large corporations where he would then need to push their political agenda.

This book is worth reading (or listening to). The audio book is read by the author. Despite the unnecessary fluff, it's nice to hear everything directly from the source, instead of through traditional news or worse, tweets from Twitter. This is a major problem today. Unless you read newspapers, or proper articles, news comes in small snippets. It often ends up as jumbled nonsense when it gets filtered through social media. What can you really communicate in a tweet? What can you really learn from the content of a tweet? Even if tweets are coming from respected figures, you can only communicate so much in 280 characters.

Sources:
Voting Timeline
Wikipedia: Voting Rights Timeline
FBI on Emails
Wikipedia: Trump Legal Affairs
Washington Post on CNN Legal Analyst Thoughts on False Equivalence
The Atlantic on MIT Study of Fake News
CNN on Russian Troll Farm
Twitter tells users they've been duped

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