The actress and activist writes about how she believes recently indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being scapegoated for Trump’s election win.
So you say Julian Assange interfered with U.S. elections? Well, then let me tell you the truth: This whole saga of “foreign intervention” is fundamentally absurd, and mainstream opinion painfully misguided. No one interfered with the right of voters to inform themselves freely, choose their own candidate, and make their vote count—not Julian, not WikiLeaks, and not even the Russians.
The elections have neither been rigged, nor have voters been intimidated or deceived by misinformation. The only thing that happened is that the disclosure of true information about a candidate‘s character and conduct hurt her campaign and may well have caused her defeat. So what? That’s democracy. Stop whining and grow up!
So you say the Mueller Report proves Julian guilty? Well, then let’s talk about it: The report does not claim that Julian hacked the DNC. It only says that he sought to “obscure” his sources, as any serious journalist would do, and to “release” information at times that were beneficial to the Trump campaign. Oh well, too bad for Hillary that there were two sides to this election and that some people wanted someone else to win! Now isn’t this the nature of any election, except those designed to confirm dictators, autocrats and others feeling “entitled” to positions of power?
So you say Julian manipulated U.S. democracy? Well, then let me remind you of three basic facts: First, in democracies, political leaders are elected by the entire population, and not just by a self-righteous elite. Second, elections are a competitive process, where all candidates must face constant screening for faults of character and conduct, including the risk of untimely disclosures. Third, while foreign journalists have no right to vote, they are entitled to comment, express their opinion and publish any relevant information, certainly as long as it is true.
So you say Julian is to blame for Hillary’s defeat? Well, then I’ve got news for you: When the truth was exposed about Hillary, most voters did not like what they saw. Did Julian disclose the evidence? Sure, that’s what investigative journalists do. But should he be persecuted and jailed for that? No, that’s what repressive dictatorships do. While Julian may have influenced the election, he certainly has not interfered with it. Hillary lost the election herself, simply because the Electoral College resulted in a majority for Trump. And if you believe the culprits were Russian hackers, well then sort it out with the Kremlin, but keep your hands off our freedom of the press!
So you say you are still not convinced? Well, then let me ask you a couple of questions: Were the voters entitled to prefer Trump over Hillary? Yes, they were, whether we like it or not. Did Julian mislead, intimidate or prevent voters from exercising their democratic rights? No, he didn’t, whether we like it or not. Did he empower voters to make a more informed decision? Yes, he did, whether we like it or not. Was Julian obliged to be impartial in these elections? No, he wasn’t, whether we like it or not. Was Julian entitled to publish true information, even if harmful to one of the candidates? Yes, he was, whether we like it or not. Does it matter who were his sources? No, it doesn’t, whether we like it or not.
So now you can sulk and whine all you want, but please don’t blame Julian for your own defeat. If you and your lot have lost the trust of your people because they’ve learned the truth about you, well then perhaps you should stop in your tracks and think. And if you cannot even draw the lessons from your failure, then you still have a long way to go. For true leadership is neither right nor might, but service in humility. It is about accepting responsibility, both for our failures and our integrity. Once we are wise, strong and dignified enough not to shoot the messenger, but to welcome him as our teacher, only then can we govern without being corrupted by power, in service to our community.