What would your reaction be if a KGB thug like Vladimir Putin sat down on a pew three or four people to your right at the start of a funeral? The tug-of-war between revulsion and propriety would presumably find some sort of compromise for the time being, to be sure.
Vlad couldn’t make it so he sent his little toad Donald Trump instead, and Hillary Clinton’s compromise was to sit stony-faced looking fixedly ahead and refusing to acknowledge the, er, “president” of the United States. The range of reactions from the others was fabulous – in the sense “of or pertaining to a fable,” specifically, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” – and ranged over degrees of too soft.
One cannot blame the Obamas, for whom the enormous weight of propriety caused them to greet the “president” with at least icy cordiality, though it was satisfying to note the flicker of disgust that flashed across the face of Michelle, as if she’d just been asked to shake hands with a turd. Bill Clinton’s half-turn with a smarmy half-smile, which was quickly extinguished when he noticed it wasn’t needed, was the least welcome, though his natural amiability made it hard for him to do less, I suppose.
But Hillary got it right. If Washington, D.C. protocol must be observed above all else, you at least aren’t required to like it. And Hillary didn’t like it.
And who could blame her? After having to endure two years of being called “crooked” by the arch criminal, liar, sexual predator and treasonous bastard Donald Trump, Hillary was understandably at the end of her tether. Having to endure two years of the “president,” a man who by any code of rational justice should be serving consecutive life sentences at ADX Supermax Prison with Terry Nichols as a cellmate – and who tried to get her investigated on bogus charges for crimes she didn’t commit – must have filled her with a fury that was more than comprehensible by the rational among us.
What is more, Donald Trump is a man who – with the help of his thuggish paymaster Vladimir Putin – stole a presidency that was rightfully hers. That protocol required her to share a pew with the Quasimodo-in-Chief was an indignity beyond the endurance of most of us. Hillary Clinton once again proved she possesses the mettle to be President of the United States.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.