February 25, 2014

Not ‘Slick Willie,’ it’s ‘Sick Willie’

Note: The following is an editorial I wrote for The Kentucky Gazette. It ran in that paper on Jan. 27, 1998. — Lowell Reese 

Not ‘Slick Willie,’ it’s ‘Sick Willie’ 
It is awful tempting to bash Bill Clinton: because he’s a despicable draft-dodger, a crude and lascivious womanizer, the king of double talk and (after not inhaling and Gennifer Flowers) a confirmed habitual liar. One helluva role model for the children of America. It’s just as tempting to blame the American people for electing a soap-opera president ... albeit under 50 percent both times. 

The fact is, we tend to vote for and then defend those who think like us.
But now is not a time to ridicule this president; the man is sick. How else can you explain why he would subject his wife and daughter to repeated public humiliation; hired help being just the most recent in a string of paramours — followed by a pattern of lies and disrespect for the laws of the land and the family life of the nation. 

The commander-in-chief’s latest romance-novel escapade may lead to proceedings of impeachment. Here we have the president of the United States of America, after a reported affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, allegedly encouraging her to lie about their relationship under oath during a deposition involving sexual harassment charges against him by Paula Jones, who claims that Clinton exposed himself in an Arkansas hotel room.

Nonetheless, a majority of the American people — until now at least — have admired Clinton, rationalizing his faults. It’s common to hear that “his personal life is a private matter.” Well, his private life if not the main point. William Jefferson Clinton is the leader of the free world, commander-in-chief of the nation’s Armed Forces (which has had its share of sex scandals recently), and above all: he’s a role model for the youth of America. 

One of the most powerful forces in the whole animal kingdom is emulation. Mankind is no exception. It is said that the nightingale cannot perform unless it first hears a few notes from another nightingale. Bill Clinton sings the nightingale’s song of America, and it’s not pretty. He’s one sick bird. 

The message this president sends, by example, to the children of America is: lying to people can be an alternative way to get through life; deceit and double-talk are manipulative skills to be nurtured; both moral and man-made laws are for timid souls; and Abe Lincoln was a stooge — honesty isn’t the best policy.

Sometimes it takes awhile for vindication to work; it took more than five years for Gennifer Flowers; it may take another year or two for those of us who served in Vietnam. But I still have faith — however tested at times — that deep down the early American values that made this nation great will endure. I’m betting on the iron laws of nature; that truth in the long-term prevails. Always. This nation was founded on truth, not lies; on duty, not draft-dodging; and on honesty; not double-speak. Let the proceedings begin. — Lowell Reese, publisher