BY EDWIN E. VINEYARD
The wedding of Chelsea Clinton has created something of a mild tropical storm in a large teapot. Most of America is happy for the young couple. They take personal pleasure in seeing young Chelsea grow from a gangling, ugly duckling type of kid into the swan of a beautiful young woman. She is also a young woman with intelligence, grace, and charm.
Well, so young Chelsea does seem something of a princess to some of us who have admired and supported what the Clinton family has done for this nation over a period of years. A part of the “ruling class” they are, but Bill Clinton will always remain one of the people. He is made after the pattern of Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. He will always be of the people and for the people.
Like some others, we may have raised the question: “For heaven’s sake, why did the Clintons not plan a simple wedding?” Then it occurred to us that in actuality they did plan a fairly simple one. No, they did not have a home wedding with only a dozen family guests, but for a “celebrity affair” the wedding was planned to be fairly modest considering what was politely a necessarily large guest list.
The Clintons did not plan a media circus. They planned something as quiet and secluded as one might practically expect. But immediately the affair was pounced upon by an ever intrusive media being consistently hounded by an insatiable public desire for news about everything surrounding the wedding.
To be fair there were actually very few “celebrity” types attending. Spying media were only able to pick up a half dozen, none currently in the “hot” category. If Oprah were there, nobody had her picture at this writing. There were indeed a few former political figures present, and nobody really knows whether there were former donors attending – even though that allegation has been made by critics.
In fact, there are a lot of critics of the wedding. It was too costly, too political, just an opportunity for publicity, another chance for the limelight, and all such statements were voiced. Some thought Chelsea was being exploited by the elder Clintons for political reasons. To all such critics, we say simply: “Hogwash!”
President Clinton is and was a brilliant man, a Rhodes Scholar attuned and dedicated to public service throughout his lifetime. Only after the presidency has he accepted any work for personal gain, and even then most of his activities have been on the part of the Clinton Foundation’s service for the poor around the world. He has had a prominent role in relief work for the tsunami in Malaysia and the earthquake in Haiti. No former president, other than Jimmy Carter, can boast of so much public service involvement.
Bill Clinton would be ranked by any objective source as one of most intelligent presidents of the last 100 years. Numbered among that group would also be such intellectually outstanding men as Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Barrack Obama.
As president Clinton enjoyed the comparison between himself and the idol of his youth, the late John F. Kennedy. Kennedy’s years became known as those in which there was a revival of culture, art, music, literature, and intellectual and artistic pursuits in America. For one brief moment there was again the shining city on the hill which was Camelot.
Guests and programs in the White House once again reflected traditional arts and the modern movements of the day, as in the days of the Kennedys. Government programs enhancing the arts, sciences, and such activities as educational public television were promoted during both administrations.
Entirely too much was made of the Clinton peccadilloes, both factual and fictional. Wealthy men paid thousands of dollars for aspiring “journalists” to pursue National Enquirer type stories about Bill Clinton from his Arkansas years. Witnesses were bribed and books written full of untruths. A business misadventure was made the subject of a two-term legal inquiry full of leaks and falsehoods, only to be finally dismissed as lacking evidence at the end.
An allegation made by a former government worker in Arkansas was eventually turned into a legal circus, through the sponsorship of a rich Clinton-hater and the willing cooperation of political prosecutors. The one apparently real peccadillo became the focus of an ever-expanding legal crusade of harassment by a politically motivated prosecutor into the private lives of the Clintons that endured through all his term, causing the family and the nation much embarrassment.
Both raucous comedians and the right wing media have continued to focus on the mostly unproven negatives about Bill Clinton, his presidency, and his entire family.
There were many Clinton-haters during his years in the White House, although he presided over a period of unbridled prosperity for the rich and the middle class and left the government in the rare circumstance of running a surplus and paying off debt.
There are also those who revel in the presidencies of only average men who have made bad decisions, followed bad policies, and run the country deeply into debt for wars [$1 trillion-plus] and with tax cuts for the wealthy [$2 trillion]. Even that paragon of virtue for Republicans, Ronald Reagan, drove up the national debt more than any president before him since World War II. He did that with tax cuts for the wealthy.
Although constantly harassed by his enemies, Bill Clinton managed a presidency which excelled in comparison with others. He is a man of the people. Let’s allow him to revel in that role.
– Dr. Edwin E. Vineyard, AKA The Militant Moderate, lives in Enid, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer