Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bill Clinton on the Grove

Today, perhaps one of the most interesting public figures of the last 100 years appeared in Oxford. President Bill Clinton was here to campaign for Democratic congressional incumbent, Travis Childers or promote voting among University students. Your mileage may vary.

Clinton has a universal appeal!
President Clinton had two terms as United States president (1993-2001). A native of Arkansas, the president was labeled as a "New Democrat" and was among many of the young guns in politics such as Mississippi governor Ray Mabus who came from the baby boom generation.
The saxophone was an instrument used in love songs back in the '90's.
Clinton made his mark early in his presidential campaign by playing saxophone on a national television talk show, "The Arsenio Hall Show" (man, whatever happened to that guy?).

 Until then, no person running for such a high office had appeared in conventional media. Clinton also made an appearance along with other candidates on a special MTV program helping young people engage the electoral process. Among the salient questions, a young person asked Clinton "Briefs or Boxers?" And the soon-to-be-POTUS answered.
President Clinton is given Communion by a Catholic South African priest.
President Clinton had an interesting relationship with Catholics (since this is a Catholic blog, may as well go on topic). While he was met with opposition concerning his moderate stance on abortion ("legal, safe and rare"), he was also lauded by many Catholics of the day with his stand to aid families and the poor ( particularly the "Family and Medical Leave Act"). He was also celebrated for his international relations, not the least of which involved his brokering some peace in Ireland. His strong* convictions against the death penalty also brought support from American bishops. He later raised some eyebrows in the yet to be settled question of his receiving the Eucharist in a Catholic Mass in South Africa (above). His infamous sexual scandal would move support from Catholic officials even farther away.
Monica Lewinsky...gone the way of Arsenio.

Today, Clinton is involved in his "William J. Clinton Foundation" headquartered in Harlem, NY. One of the goals of the foundation is to broaden the world and create "interglobal relationships". He also, obviously, is sought after as a speaker and promoter of his party, The Democrats.

Many of the students that saw him today told me that, even though he was tardy, they just wanted to see him. Maybe because he's an ex-prez, or just they have seen him on FAMILY GUY.

Love him or despise him, his down home charm and uncanny ability to remember almost  everyone he's come into contact with makes him a Southern son to be reckoned with. And oddly, concerning our political climate today, he seems to be almost welcome...

* Note: His convictions were ambivalent toward the death penalty but he did make statements concerning the injustice toward minorities in the penal system. Such statements appealed to the social justice proponents of the Church.