The Good The Bad And The Ugly Politics
"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong." -Abraham Lincoln
Years ago, I was invited by a friend to hear President Bill Clinton speak at a home in Los Angeles. It was surreal to have an opportunity to meet a President I had idolized since childhood.
I grew up a middle class American. My father was a blue collar union worker that provided well for us and kept actively involved in politics. I heard stories of injustice committed by companies against their workers, the overwhelming loopholes and tax cuts for the rich, and the importance of keeping America’s middle class alive. Although these stories were not directed at me I listened (kid's listen). I idolized President Bill Clinton for caring about people like my family, not the elite but the working class of America.
So there I was, out of my element, walking into a beautiful mansion in Los Angeles owned by top donors to the Clintons, to meet a man I had grown up admiring. I stood there with my friend, surrounded by the elite that I have no ties to and truthfully don’t understand. But it didn’t matter who surrounded me, I was going to finally meet him.
He entered the room and was mesmerizing. He began to speak. I was in awe. He was every bit the charismatic, charming, intelligent man I had imagined. He spoke with ease about issues in the Middle East. He tackled a complex problem while eloquently simplifying it to be understood by all.
After his speech, I shook his hand. I told him I was honored to meet him and thanked him for all he had done to protect the working middle class. He thanked me for being there, and we chatted for a brief moment. He was warm, funny, and engaging. (And no he did not hit on me)
Now years later, I’ve thought a lot about him as I can’t get through a conversation with a Republican without them wanting to discuss the Clintons.
I was 8 years old when he was President. Now as an adult, I have read and studied more about his time in office. I will admit that my once rose colored lenses have changed.
This is a brief opinion based list of the good, the bad, and the ugly from his time as President.
- He promoted peace through hosting the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, contributed to the dismantling of 1,500 nuclear warheads, and kept America out of war.
- He negotiated a plan protecting California’s natural resources and five new National Parks.
- He cut taxes on low income working families.
- He signed The Family and Medical Leave Act
- He signed The Brady Bill
- Millions of jobs were created and unemployment was at a low.
- He signed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell - A step in the right direction.
- He reduced the national deficit Balanced Budget Act of 1997
- He revamped the welfare system
The Bad and The Ugly
- He signed The Crime Bill implementing three strikes and you are out. This was used against Black Communities by incarcerating many people long term for minor offenses.
- He did not act swiftly in the Genocide in Rwanda
- The welfare reform was also bad for the poorest in our society
- He lied under oath regarding a sexual relationship with staff. She was of age and it was consensual however, he still used his position of power inappropriately.
- He has a rape allegation against him.
- He was or is “friends” with Trump.
So where does leave me? Was he a good President?
My personal opinion is still yes; I think he was overall a good President for the policies that helped many given the era he was in.
I can acknowledge the good he did, call out the bad, and still loathe the ugly.
Bill Clinton’s Presidency is long gone and Secretary Hillary Clinton did not win the election.
Donald Trump is in power.
If our next President does something good these next years, that helps more people than it hurts, I hope we can all say, “That’s good.”
If our next President insults people, lies, infringes on human rights, denies access to the free press, or implements a policy that hurts more than it helps, I hope we all use our voice to say “That’s wrong.”
I invite you to acknowledge the good, call out the bad, and refuse to tolerate the ugly…. regardless of your political party.
To my Republican Trump supporter friends; From now on please discuss our new President without bringing up the Clintons, just try it out :) . And please hold him accountable to the high moral Christian standards that you claim.