You are a wealthy, powerful celebrity. You own a bag with a suffocating cat inside. Somebody steals your bag. The thief may or may not know the cat's in the bag. But once it's opened, the cat jumps out of the bag, and the public knows about your treatment of cats.
Should the thief be punished? Yes, especially if his intent was theft and not cat rescue. But will we remember the thief's name? Does he matter? Won't people remember instead your cruelty to the cat?
You, as the bag owner, would understandably be upset at the theft. You don't have the right, however, to expect other people to treat you the same way once they know of your cat-suffocating activities.
In April, 2014, a tape of a private conversation between Clippers owner Donald Sterling and a female friend was released to the public. The release was probably illegal, but the racial remarks Sterling made on the tape led to harsh punishment by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Sterling ultimately lost ownership of his franchise.
Most people agreed with the punishment of Sterling. But he wasn't the only one who should have been punished. As Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote at the time, "I hope Sterling loses his franchise. I hope whoever made this illegal tape is sent to prison."
Whatever became of that? Does anyone care?
I agreed with Kareem that the crime should be punished, but didn't care all that much about it, and didn't follow up, until writing this. Apparently, Sterling did sue the friend, but dropped the suit last winter. She claims he had consented to the recording.
And that's that.
We could understand why, in Sterling's mind, he is the victim and shouldn't have been punished. But he still said what he said, and once it became known his presence as an owner was bad for the NBA. He had to go.
Likewise, we could understand why, in Hillary Clinton's mind, the Wikileaks evidence of lies and conspiracies in her campaign is less important than the fact that the emails were leaked. But it's not. Blaming the suspected conspirators behind the leak (or hack, or theft, or whatever it was) does not sweep away public knowledge of her dishonesty and cynicism.
Perhaps the only way Mrs. Clinton can demonstrate any kind of repentance is to...
2. Admit that this opened her eyes about the wrongness of unauthorized third parties viewing private communications.
3. Realize it is just as wrong for the government to read people's emails without a warrant as it is for third parties to hack them.
4. Call for the outright repeal of the Patriot Act and all laws that expand the government's electronic surveillance.
5. Promise to issue Executive Orders requiring federal agencies to respect individual privacy and the Fourth Amendment.
Of course, she won't do any of this. She doesn't want the normal ethical rules to apply to her. She believes that while nobody should be allowed to snoop into her communications, she as President should have the power to do the same to any of us.
Privacy for me, but not for thee.