Skip to comments.How to Destroy a Village: What the Clintons Taught a Seventenn-Year-Old
Posted on 11/16/2001 1:19:30 PM PST by Rebeckie
How to Destroy a Village: What the Clintons Taught a Seventeen Year Old
By Jason D. Fodeman
November 14, 2001
When Bill and Hillary Clinton entered the White House in January of 1993, most people either liked them or didn't. Just as most people either agreed with their beliefs or didn't. However, when Bill Clinton became President, I was only nine years old. I was a fourth grader at Long Lots Elementary School in Westport, Connecticut. I did not know anything about the Clintons personally or politically, which parallels the fact that I had no political beliefs at the time. My main concerns were playing Nintendo and learning how to do long division.
From that day eight quick years ago, I transformed from a political know nothing to part of the evil "vast right-wing conspiracy" that is out to get the innocent Clintons. Obviously, at age nine, I was not against the Clintons, so something had to trigger or cause me to feel the way that I do now.
About two years ago, I started getting interested in politics. I watched the news, mostly cable and some network. I read newspapers, books, and Internet articles. Facts that I learned about the Clintons were so shocking and repulsive that it was hard for me to fathom how this family could rise to the most powerful office in our great country. It was these disturbing actions and the lessons that the actions give that turned me against the Clintons.
It is a good thing that I was brought up in such a moral household. My parents' strong emphasis on honor and integrity helped me avoid being sucked in by the Clintons' horrible examples. My parents taught me not to lie, to always obey the laws, and to treat others respectfully (even those I didn't like or agree with). The Clintons' actions were in direct conflict to all of these lessons. Even parental lessons that the Clintons' deeds in part corroborated, the Clintons still managed to put a corrupt, dishonest spin on them. Luckily my parents embedded so many morals in me that I was able to see the wrong in the Clintons' actions and was not seduced by the darker side. However, I fear that other teenagers who did not have as strong an upbringing as I did may have been negatively influenced by what the Clintons did. Many young adults are impressed by money and power. If they see a man who has both but has no integrity, these young adults may think inappropriate conduct is acceptable, even a justifiable means to an end.
Much attention has been given to the decline in youth values after events like the atrocious Columbine massacre. The experts and pundits often blame the easy-accessible R-rated movies that are filled with death, violence, sex, and profanity. Other experts reproach the rappers who produce CDs that glorify violence and profanity. While others denounce the excessively violent video games. The three above items may indeed be inappropriate and much too easily accessible to children. However, over the past eight years the three were not nearly as prominent in our society as the former First Family was.
The Clintons in a way were similar to these forms of entertainment in their effect on youth. No, the Clintons did not teach us violence, but the logic is the same: just as violent video games and rap music have some effect on children, so did the Clintons' behavior. Kids heard about the actions of the Clintons and just as with the video games, children have become desensitized to inappropriate actions while more impressionable children may have adopted the Clintons' modus operandi as their own. Kids learn from what they see and hear.
The Clintons' lessons may actually be worse. Rap, movies, and video games often exhibit negative aspects of violence. Movies may contain violence, but usually the bad guys don't get away scot-free and admired by millions of people. In most movies the villains are either killed or arrested showing kids the negative aspect of violence and the price that must be paid for such a lifestyle. The same can be said about violent video games too. If you keep playing, you will eventually lose or die.
Even vulgar rap music indirectly shows the negatives of the lifestyle mentioned in the music. No the songs don't say violence is bad or not to do what the music says, but if you have followed the police reports lately you will be aware that rappers Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, DMX, and Eminem have all had problems with the law. Also in the past decade two rappers died in a way similar to their music.
Rap, movies, and video games indirectly show children that there will be dire consequences to their actions, but the same can not be said about the Clintons. The Clintons have demonstrated to kids do whatever you want and then cover up and do anything possible to evade responsibility. The Clintons did not really suffer from their behavior because they did not get into serious trouble and worst of all their methods prevailed in part because of a blind eye from the Justice Department and the media. However, the Justice Department will not look the other way for the average citizen. A young person who follows the Clinton formula will get no such free ride.
According to an analysis of Hillary Clinton's book, It Takes a Village, the book is titled after the African proverb, " 'It takes a village to raise a child' " (Anderson, "It Takes a Village An Analysis of Hillary Clinton's Book"). I guess it all depends on what the definition of "village" is, but my definition is everyone in a community from ordinary salesmen to teachers to powerful politicians. That means that in the "village" of the United States the Clintons as the First Family had a key influence in the raising of each child. It was their role to set a moral and ethical example for the younger generation to learn from. As we all know, unfortunately they did not. The innumerable Clinton scandals demonstrate the clear negative lessons that the Clintons espoused. I have rejected their mantra and its likely consequences. Were you and your children able to?
I am a busy teenager who wrote this to address the issue of the Clintons' influence on children that has thus far been ignored. Unlike catastrophic violence, children's everyday wrongdoing and its causes, which are much more rampant, have not been adequately explored. The Clintons lowered the bar for what is acceptable behavior in a civilized society.
Fool Me Once Shame on You, Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me
At a young age I learned the proverb, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. My parents explained that the saying means you should learn from your mistakes. No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. The difference between success and failure is often the ability to learn from those mistakes. It is acceptable to make a mistake, but do not repeat the same error.
Obviously, this applied to the Clintons, but what has been learned from the experience? The Clintons' record of sleaze, their pushing the envelope to the outer fringes, and their wrongdoing from Arkansas to Washington has been well documented. Were those who supported Clinton duped or simply taken in by his charm, intelligence and slick talk? Were they seduced by a job and a strong economy? Did they prostitute the values and ethics they were teaching their young for that pay check while ignoring the barrage of disturbing allegations and the unending layers of scandal?
I believe that ultimately it is the children, the family, and indeed the very fabric of our society that has suffered from enduring and tolerating the Clinton years. For children the waters were muddied as to right and wrong. It was a time that exposed the hypocrisy of parental guidance: demonstrating compromised values, do as I say, not as I do. Clinton did just about everything that a parent would advise against. He lied, covered up, verbally attacked those perceived as a threat, was disloyal to friends, and basically only cared about himself. Clinton had a " 'You got to do what you gotta do' " ("the New Senate Politics") attitude that superseded all other interests.
President Clinton is out of power now, so what's the difference one might inquire? To ask the question is to have missed the point. It is the future I am concerned about, not the past, and the imprint embedded in the nation' conscience. People learn best by example and practice, and children are the most susceptible of all. These children observed a spectrum of disgraceful conduct from a sitting president committing perjury without punishment to repeated declarations that oral sex was somehow not sex. The danger is that they will try to emulate the Clintons' strategies while lacking the power, communication skills, and support system of their mentor. Those who follow the Clintons' model undoubtedly are in for a rude awakening
Hopefully the Clinton Presidency will prove to be an anomaly, not a precedent for politicians and others in positions of trust and power. Frankly, I have my doubts. As long as the tactics work, there are those who will try to exploit them. Character assassinations worked for Clinton and his acolytes, so now we see Governor Gray Davis attacking the management of Texas utility companies for the California energy problems, conveniently ignoring conservationist and environmental policies that thwarted production for many years. When the personal and financial dealings of Rev. Jesse Jackson are questioned, rather than addressing the issue directly, which should be the obligation of any public figure using tax exempt donations, there is an attack on the motives of the messenger, Bill O'Reilly. Whether it is New Jersey Senator Torricelli facing allegations of bribery or California Congressman Condit's involvement in a liaison or worse, the pattern is becoming more brazen: hire a legal team, hold on to power at all costs, stonewall, obfuscate, demean the accuser or the victim. Sound familiar?
The Clinton era has created a heightened level of cynicism. Many question and even distrust their democratically elected government. When missing FBI documents suddenly appear, immediately after FBI Director Freeh announces his resignation, and shortly before the scheduled McVeigh execution, there are those I am sure who wonder, honest mistake or a page out of the Clinton play book-read Hillary's billing records. This skepticism can lead to a diminution of confidence in our institutions of government and that is not a healthy situation for any of us.
I believe character, values, morals do matter for all of us, and especially in our political leaders who enjoy great power and influence. If one can not be responsible in the most interpersonal relationships, how can there be trust among constituents and professional associates? Furthermore, it does not suffice to simply say Clinton was too shrewd or blame a complicitous Justice Department or a largely adoring media. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault lies with us.
This is not a liberal-conservative, Democrat-Republican issue. It transcends labels. All participants should hold their candidates and leaders to the highest standards, which should be a prerequisite. If the parties fail to do so, the public should reject them. There are well qualified, honest, articulate individuals representing all philosophies. Why must we settle for less? Yet having said all this, we see Hillary Clinton elected United States Senator of New York of all places. Surely there are distinguished New York Democrats with a respected record and value system who could better and more honorably represent the Empire State.
What does it all mean? Has the United States fallen into a hopeless morass or were the Clinton years a freak of nature with the sun, moon and stars aligning in a once in an eternity pattern? I do not know much about astrology but as a seventeen-year-old looking toward the future, there has to be a positive side to these events. Lincoln said, "It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all the time." It should be noted that Clinton never won a majority of the votes cast in either the 1992 or 1996 election. When first elected president, Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress and thirty governorships. When he left office in January 2001 Republicans recaptured the presidency carrying both Arkansas and Tennessee, narrowly controlled both Houses of Congress, and held thirty governorships. Furthermore, despite high job approval ratings, even during the impeachment period, he left office with the majority of those polled believing he is a person of low moral character and integrity. Finally, whether a supporter of Mr. Clinton or not, I find it hard to believe that anyone can look in the mirror, or send a child to the military or off to school or even out on a date and express pride and respect in our forty-second president's behavior.
The spring and summer of 2001, marked the first time in ten or more seasons that I did not try out and play on a baseball team. I love the game, but I wanted to finish this manuscript before college commenced in the fall. I know that assorted professional experts have covered the Clintons' scandals ad nauseam over the years, yet I still believed there was something to add from a young person's perspective. I believe the Clinton phenomenon has left deep scars on the soul of American life. Particularly effected are the young who saw parents turn a blind eye to the endless stream of scandals and malfeasance, who preached lofty goals and values but fell short themselves. I wrote this to address this perceived dichotomy and its likely consequences. Adults, who clearly would not want this philanderer for a spouse, or depend on him as a friend, or leave him five minutes with their daughter, or trust him with their legitimate business interests, apparently concluded that for a president he was okay.
It saddens me that parents still do not get it. Children see the president as a role model who should set the highest moral and ethical standards, values to which we all can aspire. If you do not want your kids to behave irresponsibly, to lie, and to deceive, then do not rationalize that a president's disgraceful actions are somehow acceptable. In today's vernacular, you got to talk the talk and walk the walk. Nothing is a bigger turn off to a kid than this do as I say, not as I do mentality.
Some people may dismiss this analysis as just that of another Clinton basher. I refuse to be put on the defensive. I believe the office of the presidency was debased and the public trust violated by Mr. Clinton. It is a further shame that Clinton himself, an obviously bright man with a golden tongue, diminished his own legacy by his personal failings.
I consider myself a compassionate young person with no political agenda or ax to grind while growing up in the 1990's. It is precisely for this reason that people should objectively consider the points raised in this writing. I think in the fullness of time, sociologists will study and debate the ramifications of issues raised herein. America is a great nation with a heritage that is the envy of the world. People often try not to be too judgmental. But there are times when events require a judgment, when a sophisticated society must definitively declare something right or wrong. It is my contention that at some point during the Clinton years, Americans unambiguously should have said, " enough we will tolerate this no more." Time will tell.
The above are excerpts from a forthcoming book
"If you do not want your kids to behave irresponsibly, to lie, and to deceive,
then do not rationalize that a president's disgraceful actions are somehow acceptable."
"If you do not want your kids to behave irresponsibly, to lie, and to deceive,
then do not rationalize that a president's disgraceful actions are somehow acceptable."
I'm impressed and of course, I agree with Jason as to the negative influence the Clinton era has had and will continue to have on our country and especially our young people.
That's a real concern and I can only hope that as the misdeeds and consequences of the Clinton Presidency continue to unfold over time, that America will begin to really reject these people as they see them for what they are.
The fact that George W. Bush is such a starkly different President (an honest man with integrity) is a big help in exposing Clinton for the moral failure he was and is.
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