Tuesday, January 22, 2008


(An open letter to the Reverend Calvin Butts of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem)

Dear Rev. Butts:

To say that I was shocked and disappointed when I opened my Monday newspaper to find that you endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for president would be a severe understatement. That I felt compelled to bother to sit down and write to you about your decision for a man in your position is a testament to how disastrous a choice I believe you made.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Republican and shall not be casting a ballot for a Democrat on Primary Day. However, I should also be forthcoming enough to tell you that I would not cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton in a general election under any circumstance - no matter who the Republican candidate is.

Apparently, and unfortunately, you have fallen victim to the hype. You believe that the Clintons are an experienced, qualified couple who learn from their mistakes and have the best interests of the country and the black community at heart, even though the evidence to the contrary is astounding. The "two for the price of one" Clintons left the state of Arkansas almost dead last, of all 50 states, in virtually every category used to determine quality of life. They also left a plethora of friends and colleagues in ventures that got many of them indicted and jailed - including their Lt. Gov. And what part of Mrs. Clinton's governing "experience" and qualifications were on tap when Arkansas' Madison Savings & Loan went belly up while she was one of the principal attorneys from the Rose Law Firm that worked on the account? Corruption then followed them to Washington, DC as members of their cabinet were forced to resign and plead guilty to a variety of criminal acts.

All the while more scandals were brewing as Mrs. Clinton was said to be the one responsible for the firing of the admired and well respected career employees who worked in the White House Travel Office. Years before anybody started screaming about the Patriot Act, both Clintons were loath to understand how an unqualified former bar bouncer, who worked on Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, became head of White House Security, and how, or why, he managed to obtain over 900 FBI files of innocent citizens. And after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, President Bill Clinton did not even bother to visit New York City, the damage or the victims - until he could hold a fund raiser.

What is equally troubling to me is the message you are sending to women - the mothers, daughters, and sisters of your congregation and your community. In their infamous "I caused pain in my marriage" interview on 60 MINUTES, the Clintons led America to believe that they had learned, grown and survived together through those mistakes. However, some hard working women in Washington, DC who just wanted to do their jobs and provide for their families and perhaps advance their careers suffered the same fate as the women in Arkansas who spoke out about the boorish behavior of Bill Clinton. At the hands of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their surrogates, those women were demeaned and debased as stalkers, bimbos, tramps and trailer trash. It seems that present day candidate Clinton, who asserts her "35 years of experience" working on women's issues, has no problem publicly humiliating and victimizing other women who courageously come forth to report being violated. So Reverend, the question becomes how do you help a parishioner faced with a similar problem who seeks your council when you have endorsed, for the highest office in the land, a woman who has helped raise the degradation of women to an art form on behalf of her philandering husband?

While out promoting her book, Mrs. Clinton insisted that the impeachment of her husband was over a "private, personal matter." Putting aside the obvious counts of Perjury and Obstruction of Justice, how is it a "private, personal matter" for Betty Currie to procure women to satisfy Mr. Clinton's lust while getting paid by the public? And how private and personal was it for Miss Monica Lewinsky to provide sexual favors and show up at the front of various rope lines while being paid to be working at the Pentagon? The government should not be in the business of pimping and requiring the public to pay for services rendered. After leaving office, Bill Clinton has subsequently admitted to the offenses for which he was impeached when he accepted the suspension of his law license and agreed to the payment of fines.

Ironically, as a Christian man of the cloth, you don't seem the least bit offended that Hillary Clinton stated that voting for Sen. Obama "requires a leap of faith" - as though faith is a bad thing. Faith is one of the founding principles of the Declaration of Independence. A successful outcome to the Civil War, the end of slavery and Jim Crow laws and the entire civil rights revolution were fortified with faith. Their selfishness, mendacity and poor judgment constitute a terrible 35 year track record of the Clinton's "experience." And that you can examine the Clinton's past and still find them worthy of acceptability to the country and community is more troubling to me, than David Geffen found troubling, the ease with which they lie. By your endorsement, Rev. Butts, it appears that the Clintons made the right choice, for them, to use New York as the steppingstone to their higher ambitions.

God bless you. And in the words of your Abyssinian predecessor, KEEP THE FAITH, BABY!

Yours truly,
C. Hill

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