May 17, 2015

Bill Clinton and FDR...a simple matter of privacy?

Franklin D. Roosevelt at The White House - NAR...
Franklin D. Roosevelt at The White House - NARA - 197216 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Clinton family arrives at the White House ...
The Clinton family arrives at the White House on Marine One, 1993. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was so interesting that the post I wrote a couple of days ago about the Roosevelt book had commenters linking FDR with Bill Clinton. I was surprised.

While I think the two men did have a lot in common it was the era in which they served that made the them different. Those of us that could only feel sad that Clinton was so twisted wanted the Roosevelt era back with all of those private moments hidden from our eyes. The political climate in FDR's time has remained pretty much the same as the years go by. The big difference is that the press shielded our presidents all those years ago. Now, nothing is sacred.

I would say that I find people that were fans back when Clinton was president seem to focus on his great accomplishments and turn a blind eye to the sordid part of his presidency. I personally still think his political policies were remarkable.

In my own case, I actually had personal experiences that revealed how people really felt about him. Here are two examples, one liberal and one conservative:

When my son married in Jamaica 9 (or was it ten) years ago, the Jamaican minister that performed the ceremony told about being invited to the White House and having the experience of actually meeting that great "mon". He was a very simple man and his suit was frayed while coming apart at the seams. He was NOT a great statesman but just a Jamaican pleading his country's cause. His face simply lit up when he told about the meeting and what was said. He saw a compassionate side of Clinton that we did not.

On the other hand, my husband and I mingled with a very conservative group of people from Nebraska at a football game almost twenty years ago. They were very nice welcoming people until they discovered we were from Oregon and were honest to god full blown liberals. When they mentioned Clinton, it was in the context that we probably supported him because of where we were from. It took me aback to think that a whole state would be lumped into one political group. But, yes, I did support him and grieved his damaged morality out loud. The lady sitting next to me actually scooted away from me and closer to her husband. I was, in her eyes, spoiled goods! I don't think she was ever a supporter of Clinton so her opinions was clouded even before she found out he was a rogue.

Both of these reactions were almost visceral. And, even today I find that I react in much the same way when his name is spoken. Hopefully, history will get it right and put everything in perspective. But then, maybe it won't. It is apparent that we are a nation of moral "laws" and once a misstep is revealed there is no going back. And in our past Presidents case, we will know more now than we ever have whether we want to or not!

It is just a thought!

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