bill clinton

i spent a couple of evenings this week watching a documentary on PBS about bill clinton.  it left me feeling unsettled and uncomfortable.

the thing about bill clinton is that, on the national scene, we had such hope for him.  when he and hillary, along with tipper and al gore, came out on that stage with balloons flying and 'fleetwood mac' blaring-- we all loved them.  they held a promise of change after the reagan/bush years that was absolutely intoxicating. i didn't care that the clintons did not represent ALL of my politics-- they represented enough to make me think that there was hope.

but then there were charges against him of womanizing, suggestions of having been involved in back-room/ potentially illegal financial dealings, and a general sense that he would say whatever he thought we wanted to hear to get himself out of whatever scrape he was in at the moment.  all of that was just plain uncomfortable.

i have no doubt that the clintons were persecuted-- that their political rivals at the time took it upon themselves to dig up any little thing that they could make into an issue and then splash across the national stage with an intention that few could sustain.   it is clear to me that bill clinton has a problem with women (and i mean that in the same way we might say that someone has a problem with alcohol-- something that one needs to get help with rather than it being a moral question).  it is also clear to me that he was an old-school-styled politician who came of age in the wrong era--  had he been president fifty years earlier we never would have heard about any of the underbelly of his world.  but he came of age when he did and so his cowboy way of not being fully aware of the effects of his own actions played out in our national press for years.

we are never, in this country, going to have a president that pleases all of us.  we are an enormous country with an incredibly diverse population.  any president is going to have to compromise, find ways to work with a broad cross section of us, and is not going to be all that any one of us would hope for.  but i am glad that hope no longer has to come along with being uncomfortable.

thoughts for today--


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