Sixteen years ago, I was living in Midland, Texas, where members of evangelical churches were praying for the 2000 Election Day matchup between Al Gore and George W. Bush. This was no ordinary election for our city because George W. and his wife, Laura, had grown up in Midland and they were greatly loved and admired for their Christian faith.
That election's contentious outcome resulted in vote recounts and court battles but ultimately declared George W. as the winner of a divided nation. Polarization between left and right continued during the next eight years and it was frustrating and painful to supporters and friends of President Bush to see his words and actions being misrepresented, taken out of context and even at times completely fabricated to malign his character. It was sad to see this hateful mindset from people who had never met him or researched the accuracy of the misinformation and slander that they were spreading.
Because of my role as the director for Religious Freedom and Human Rights Advocacy for Midland's evangelical churches, I spent much of the next eight years in WDC where I worked with elected officials and their constituents from both the Republican and Democratic parties along with church leaders from around our nation. I wish that I could say that the unfair harshness and hate that President Bush endured was only seen in the liberal left but I can't because I have observed a similar, if not worse, obsession of harshness and hatred towards Hillary Clinton from the conservative political right including from many American evangelicals.
I first noticed what I called the "Hating Hillary" movement when as the First Lady, she enthusiastically tried to help address our nation's need for healthcare reform. Remember "Hillarycare" and how disdainfully that term was used to ridicule her efforts to use her leadership role on the healthcare challenge? As "Obamacare" was similarly being criticized, I found myself wondering how healthcare reform may have benefited from a bi-partisan cooperative effort 25 years ago if the opponents of Hillarycare had been willing to work in good faith instead of ridiculing and obstructing Hillary's sincere efforts to improve healthcare for millions of Americans.