Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"I know it all must be Bill Clinton's fault"

The great acoustic punk group Oreo Euthanasia (i.e. Jeff and Ashok) once wrote a song about a registered Republican who was working on his tan in Azerbaijan who blames his hair loss on Bill Clinton. The song's mockery of the Republican party's general view on our 42nd President's culpability held some truth to it: for a Republican, it's easy to view many of the events of the past few years as a result of eight years of Democratic leadership under Clinton. Certainly, it's much easier to cast the atrocities of 9/11 as a result of negligence during Clinton's term (rather than negligence by a newly elected President who was so exhausted after a mere 6 months on the job that he decided to take a vacation for the month of August that year, prompting a certain blogger who you might be vaguely familiar with to remark to his mother, "This can only lead to trouble." As I said in my last post, I hate being right). (Not that I blame Dubya for the atrocities either, more that I simply expect increased vigilance from my Commander-in-Chief.) (And granted, Clinton wasn't necessarily that much more vigilant either, but at least he stayed at the White House. As much as you might wish the nation's capital was in Crawford, Texas, Dubya, you have to realize that the Founding Fathers designed the White House for a reason.)

Sorry, that wasn't planned, it just kinda slipped out. Anyway, rambling aside, their is a point to this post, which is that part of me shares the Republican party's sentiment, only for slightly different reasons. As my spontaneous parenthetical rant probably indicated, I have grown remarkably disenchanted with American politicians, so much so that I have almost vowed to vote third-party from here on.

On Sunday, I read an article whose tale of frustration parallels my own. Nora Ephron, of Sleepless in Seattle fame, wrote an opinion article in today's Houston Chronicle about "falling out of love with Bill." She speaks of that initial attraction that Clinton held for so many, and where it went astray for her. It wasn't where you might think. It was "over gays in the military." At that moment, that image of a politician who might actually have a spine disappeared.

But perhaps the most poignant point was later in the article, when she indirectly states that Clinton helped get George W. Bush elected. "If Bill had behaved, Al would have been elected, and thousands and thousands of people would be alive today who are instead dead." That's a bit of an overstatement (I doubt 9/11 could have been averted by a Gore administration, for example) but it makes an interesting point: Bill Clinton's inability to withstand his extramarital urges (though I can easily imagine Hillary being cold in the face of his intramarital urges) gave the Republican party the opportunity it needed to hijack family values. (How they hijacked foreign affairs is still a mystery to me, but that dates back more to the Reagan era.)

So maybe it is all Bill Clinton's fault. Honestly, would the recent rise in extreme Christian conservatism have succeeded if not catalyzed by adulterous fellatio? The Republican party has always been an interesting marriage of Christian and capitalist values (if you read the Bible, Jesus Christ was hardly a capitalist) but they've pulled it off ever more convincingly in recent years because they succeeded in villainizing a man who caved to to that most human and yet most animal of instincts. Now we have pushes for abstinence-only education. Now we have the Federal Marriage Amendment (suddenly "don't ask, don't tell" seems a reasonable compromise). Now we have Alberto Gonzales' "war on porn" ("Screw that", says Jeff). Now at least one man is losing faith in the American government as he watches part of it be subverted before his eyes.

Wow, it's funny how you plan for a short post with a link to an article and brief commentary, and it explodes into epic proportions. As I read over it, I'm admittedly hesitant to leave it all in there, but I will. Stream of consciousness often reveals interesting details about oneself, even some that have long lain dormant.

Anyway, by virtue of Ms. Ephron's name, today's song lyric has been stuck in my head since I read her article. Here goes...

"Nora, now I don't feel she feels the same way about me
She wonders if I'll ever be who she dreamed I'd be
But she never says I love you 'til I say I love you
Like we're exchanging hostages"
- the Long Winters, Nora


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