It is no secret that our society fosters a double standard when it comes to promiscuity. Men are often celebrated while women are demeaned and stigmatized. While this may be true in the high school lunchroom and on a college campus, it is very much the opposite in the political sector. Politicians are deemed scumbags, womanizers, and more often than not their careers are shattered for good. In 1998, when news broke of Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, his presidency was quickly turned upside down by a sex scandal. I was only 8-years-old at the time, but I was fully aware that the President of the United States had “done something bad.” When I listened I did not hear the criticism of his character, what caught my attention were the “naughty words” coming from the television. My brothers would giggle and whisper to one another, while my parents would shake their heads and turn off the TV. The adults in my life clearly had opinions, but I was too young to be affected by it or to even comprehend what was actually going on. My generation watched Bill Clinton’s political career unfold from a very unbiased perspective, and because of this, I think we are able to see his enormously positive impact and unwavering commitment to our country.
Presidents are Human Too
My generation values transparency. If there is a secret we can uncover it. If there is a question, we will find the means to answer it. We have grown up amidst a technological revolution and as a result, we believe and honor accessibility and improvement. We aim to progress as quickly as possible and we have been bred in an age where interactivity and constant communication is to be expected. We do not value predictability like our parents do. That is why we can see beyond his affair, laugh at Clinton has proven that he is just about as human as human gets. He does not always make the right decision, he is not the perfect husband or father, and he certainly has done things he wishes he could take back. The ridicule and humiliation that Clinton endured could have eaten him alive, instead he moved forward and continued his original mission: to serve America.
They may have won on Election Day, but both George W. Bush and Barack Obama make it seem as if majority approval is impossible in this country. Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any president since WWII. Some regard him as the most talented, skilled and prosperous leader America has ever seen. In all honesty, it would be nice to feel this kind of confidence in a President again. He may have stumbled once or twice, but he has managed to recover and thrive in a truly inspirational fashion. Clinton is often referred to as “The Comeback Kid,” and who doesn’t like one of those? Since leaving office Clinton has become a avid philanthropist and quite frankly, a voice of reason for today’s youth.
A Man with a Message
According to CNN, Clinton has delivered a total of 417 paid speeches, earning him a total of $75.6 million. He has delivered speeches at Yale, NYU, Michigan and Harvard, managing to remain relevant and earnest in his addresses. In 2011, during his commencement address at Yale University, Clinton urged students to fight inequality by working together, “One problem we have in the modern world is, we’ve got access to more information than ever before, but we don’t all listen to the same information.” There is clearly a reason why so many schools trust Clinton to teach the last lesson many students will receive before they enter the real world.
Igniting Change, One Student at a Time
Unlike many politicians, Clinton does not only talk the talk, he also walks the walk. In 2007, he launched Clinton Global Initiative University to help “engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world.” In an effort to make a higher education more affordable, he has helped develop a Facebook application that helps students find money for college. He is constantly going out, talking to people of all ages in an effort to make himself relevant to today’s youth. I cannot ignore his clear desire to see a better tomorrow for a generation that has been plagued by some the most terrible events in America’s history.
He can play the saxophone, he is married to one of the most respected women in America, he’s charismatic, and when he speaks, I listen. When he left the Oval Office over ten years ago he handed down an official title, but he never abandoned his role as a leader. If Bill Clinton is any indication, we are certainly not defined by our mistakes, but by our ability to come back, help change the world, and make it look pretty darn easy.