…And no, it’s not a meme.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

You know how the story goes. The high school valedictorian who never got a B, had exemplary attendance—sometimes coming to school and getting everyone else sick—missed a perfect score on her SAT verbal by one question, aced math and whatever the third section is (critical reading?), starred on the basketball, soccer and lacrosse teams, was ASB vice president and even volunteered at both the children’s hospital and the old folks home in her “spare time.”

On the eve of graduation, as is senior tradition, a group gathers on the campus quad and decorates the trees with streamers and toilet paper. The cops roll by to break it up and the valedictorian is caught red-handed holding a bottle of Bartles & Jaymes Exotic Berry and all of a sudden she is in violation of the school’s substance abuse policy—and can no longer graduate.

A deal is eventually brokered and she is allowed to receive a diploma but will not wear a cap and gown, won’t give a speech and that glorious moment when she crosses the threshold or turns the tassel on her mortar board will have to be recreated in the backyard for posterity.

She is scandalized, humiliated. And the one moment she’s worked for her whole life—taken from her because of a seemingly minor infraction.

In the meantime, the rich, kind of popular/kind of a bully kid who always skipped class, drank and smoked before and during school, trashed his own house and everyone else’s on weekends, crashed his car into a tree…then got a new one as punishment, cheated on his girlfriends and tests and whatever else he could take a shortcut with, rolled every stop sign in front of the cop who hung out near the school…and was the one who brought the booze to campus that got the valedictorian in trouble in the first place—gets off scot-free.

He graduates. He walks. He makes an obnoxious fart noise when he crosses the stage and turns and flips off the administration to the uncomfortable half-cheers of the audience….

There is no recourse for his awfulness and he gets away with whatever he chooses. The valedictorian, on the other hand, does everything right and is punished for the most minor of hiccups beyond the realm of reason.

Of course, you know who each kid is by now.

Fortunately, there’s actual science behind why this type of thing happens.

Trump supporters show a number of physiological and psychological traits that result in the the obnoxious rich kid being idolized and the know-it-all girl being punished.

They range from cultish and authoritarian-seeking behavior, to sexism, nationalism to the Dunning-Kruger effect which happens when people who lack expertise in some area often have a cognitive bias that prevents them from realizing they’re fucking clueless. And if one feels they have have sufficient or even superior knowledge (see: all their effing memes), then they have no reason to figure out what’s really happening or defer to someone else’s more versed, or veracious conclusions.

According to a recent study in Current Biology, Trump supporters and those who lean way right also have a larger amygdala (no, that’s not what that is). It’s a part of the brain that responds most to fear and anxiety.

There is also a social psychology term called the Terror Management Theory. This theory is based on the fact that people are acutely aware of their own mortality and in order to manage it we conjure up blockers like religion, political parties, national identities and Netflix with which to define ourselves and fill our time before we slip into the inevitable void.

When fear mongering happens, (Trump) people cling to their views and dig in even more. And around and around.

Now, it’s not enough to explain why a uncommonly unqualified and vitriolic figure can hijack a country, using the thing his followers seem to reject most—science—but it is noteworthy to find the one thing they’ve pinned on Hillary, emails (often followed by three or four of these !!!!) is in itself, well, not even a thing.

Here is what happened: Hillary Clinton was secretary of state for four years. During that time she did not use an official .gov email, which was not against the rules. She conducted both her personal and private matters on her own account.

Two years after she left office, the State Department asked her to submit these emails. Clinton turned over more than 30,000 emails and also said she deleted 31,000 emails. I’m assuming most of those were from Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble and Amazon as is the case on my account.

Clinton said she did not want to operate from two accounts all the time, which, again, seems plausible except for maybe someone who doesn’t know how to use a computer and has never sent an email—like Donald Trump.

Now she did go to the effort of setting up and maintaining a personal server from her Chappaqua, New York home but that was not illegal. However, the laws have been clarified since then and Secretary John Kerry would not be allowed the same freedoms. Every work-related email sent or received on a private account by a government official now has to be cc’d to an associated government account within 20 days.

This is purely a precautionary measure and understandably so with the amount the government has been targeted by hackers, especially those with foreign interests, a practice Trump himself has encouraged.

Speculation from the alt-right is rampant that there was classified information in those emails even though Clinton has testified that she did not “send any material that was marked or designated classified.”

All of this concern is based not on her wrongdoing, but on the fact that a private server runs a greater risk of being hacked than if she used a government account.

And that is it.

Though there are constant inferences from the opposition of shady dealings, especially in respect to the events of the September 11, 2012 Benghazi, Libya attack by members of the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia. The attack resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. There is no evidence that the Obama administration, which included Clinton, did anything wrong or mishandled the situation.

However, as soon as Obama was elected to a second term the following November, a trio of Republican senators, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, went on a witch hunt calling for a Watergate-style panel to investigate the attack. An obstructionist, partisan investigation like this had not happened since the Red Scare, not even in the wake of 9/11.

The investigation has unearthed no wrongdoing—unless you consider wasting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on speculative and specious endeavors wrong.

The senators also pledged to block U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice if Obama would have nominated her to replace Clinton as secretary of state, criticizing the way Rice characterized the attack in her media appearances in the immediate wake of the incident.

Obama defended Rice in a news conference saying: “She made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me.”

Obama eventually appointed Kerry.

F.B.I. director James B. Comey, a Republican, cleared Clinton of any wrongdoing last summer after an extensive investigation into the emails. However, last Thursday deputies briefed him about the discovery of more emails that could be linked to the investigation. Those emails likely came from one of Clinton’s top aides, including Huma Abedin, who is currently estranged from her dick-pick-addict husband former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner.

Abedin is known to have had her own clintonemail.com address but again, Comey, or someone in the F.B.I. “leaked” a memo about the additional emails to the justice department which 1) were not sent by Clinton and 2) do not re-open the investigation.

The office of U.S. Representative Jason E. Chaffetz (Utah’s own Mormon Antichrist who would rather vote for a Putin operative sex offender than a woman and puts the Moron in Moroni)…

…spread the contents of the F.B.I. memo and all hell broke loose online as even legitimate news agencies exaggerated the relevance of looking into Huma’s take on her husband’s extramarital affairs to the point that it has caused Clinton to slip in the polls a week before the election—even after she called for transparency from Comey and the agency and the release of the emails in question.

So, as you can see, valedictorian Hillary may not have even been holding the wine cooler, much less consuming it. In fact, someone’s iPhone footage from the gathering in the quad later revealed she was merely taking a bottle from a friend who had already had one too many.

But the damage had already been done.

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of “Burgundy Upholstery Sky”.