Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BILL CLINTON

How do you write about a famous person, major in shaping your life, shaping world history, as well as affecting what's happening to you and your world right now?

William Jefferson Clinton.

I voted for him when we were living in Redmond, Washington (during JC's few years in the television series, "Northern Exposure"). The look of Clinton, the sound of him -- he projected strength -- he was -- is -- articulate, knowledgeable, educated, not anti, but pro the social/political things that are important to me.

Education -- woman's right to choose -- racial equality -- compensating for the wrongs we've done in the past -- he was/is fighting to fix those things. Also gun control, religious freedom -- I can 't support someone who is preaching Jesus or their own belief in God.

I react to a politician the way I react to someone I happen to meet -- personally, instinctively -- liking them, trusting them, and sensing if they have power. I pull away -- if I sense anything odd, strange, too much, dangerous, wrongly seductive in that power.

Clinton is powerful, and like a good teacher with his ordered presentation of ideas, he's seductive, powerful. What Clinton says interests me, makes sense to me, doesn't require that I rush to join, or send money -- or do anything except listen and evaluate on my own.

Okay ... Clearly I like him, I like the look of him, and trust him. He has the ability to communicate with anybody, everybody. I love his spur of the moment sense of humor, his honesty, his ability to react to wherever he is, and whatever happens when he's speaking.

... "like" ... "love" ... all my superlatives... I'm aware that this is a paean, aware that all the admiring things I'm saying, I could be saying about Barack Obama.

Writing this, I shut out what's happened over the past year, in politics. We have a new form of political communication that utilizes high drama -- lies, shouting, invective, slanted reporting, distortion of actual events, deliberate misinformation.

Clinton hasn't bought into it. He handles it expertly.

His personal history -- womanizing, infidelities, the gory details that still echo from all the women who've come-out and told their stories -- Gennifer something, whats-her-name who sued him for making a pass in a hotel room, the specifics about his sexual doings with Monica Lewinsky – the 21 women Ken Starr, independent counsel, investigated – the "hundreds of women" a Washington Post reporter discussed in his book, "The Breach."

Nancy Gibbs' essay in a recent Time Magazine, about the "Other Bill Clinton who is leading the free world," helps me say what I want to say.

We need him. He's uniquely gifted, able to help us and people all over the world, to reach out, and help one another.

"Don't tread on me," is the motto on the Gadsden flag. During the American revolution it symbolized men fighting for freedom and independence.

Here's the seal on a $20 bill in 1778.

In 1775, an "American Guesser" (which historians think was Ben Franklin himself), wrote the Pennsylvania Journal, and said "The rattlesnake also has sharp eyes, and "may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance." Furthermore, "... She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders. She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage ... she never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her."

Don't tread on William Jefferson Clinton.

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