What’s your opinion on President Clinton?
Ask my parents, my grandparents or my aunts and uncles that question, and you’ll be sure to hear an earful. Amongst their responses, you’ll catch phrases like, “He’s a liar,” “He’s sinful,” and “What a coward.”
Ask me about Bill Clinton, on the other hand, and you’ll get nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders and an indifferent glance.
Generation Y, with myself included, is often described as a collective group of fairly open-minded, accepting individuals. As a unit, we are better able to look past imperfections and consider differing opinions. According to Dr. Angela Williams, conductor of the research study “An Examination of Generation Nexters and Baby Boomers: Value Systems in a Service Organization,” Generation Y is a better educated, more accepting, civically-minded cohort. To us, apologies and confessions are as important as honesty and integrity.
Generation Y values openness and transparency, respect and truth; according to authors Joeri Van den Bergh and Mattias Behrer in How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Branding to Generation Y, our generation prefers vulnerable, straightforward leaders.
“Interestingly enough, lying is not a definite no-no for this generation,” they said. “People can admit their mistakes, explain everything and win back their credibility.”
But, how does this relate to my generation’s feelings toward President Clinton? Though we might not agree with his life choices, we respect him as an individual and a successful president. We look beyond his shortcomings and deceitful past to instead recognize he is prone to make mistakes, just like us. We also realize with some prodding and pressure, Clinton admitted his mistakes. In further explaining these Generation Y attitudes, Van den Bergh and Behrer state:
“Bill Clinton and the Oval Room confession concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky is a good illustration of this [forgiveness]. The Bill Clinton ‘brand’ actually became suddenly more like them: accessible, human, fragile, imperfect and thus forgivable.”
By no means am I condoning Clinton’s unfaithful tendencies, but as an individual who was raised to accept others’ differences despite my own beliefs, my impression of Clinton is simply apathetic.
Despite his status as a political figure, Clinton is nothing more than a man to me. His marriage with Hillary and his adulterous behaviors are none of my business. My memory hardly reaches back to the years of his presidency and the Lewinsky scandal. Brief flashbacks take me to the unlimited press coverage concerning both his relationship with the White House intern and his impeachment. Other than that, though, I only know of Bill Clinton because he was mentioned in my history books.
I am not concerned with his sexual history or his infidelities; if nothing more, I am interested in his fiscal policies and budget spending that helped to improve America’s economy in the 1990s. Clinton is neither a hero nor a villain to me, and regardless of how many negative opinions I hear about him, my indifferent attitude is unlikely to change.