Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Miss Bill!

I have an I Miss Bill bumper sticker on my car. Now I know that is asking for trouble in the South but I do. I miss Bill. Down here almost everyone is Republican. I am Democrat. It was preordained. I am from Massachusetts. In Mississippi, many people believe that you can not be a Democrat and be a Christian. Religion and politics are conservative here. I often wonder whatever happened to the separation between church and state. That idea doesn't function well down here.

When I first moved here six years ago I was very apprehensive because I knew where I came from and what I believed. The first thing that struck me when I moved here is that there are signs everywhere about Jesus. When I pre-registered at the hospital before the birth of my first son... the employees had signs on the wall about Jesus. And their theology was unsettling to me. The light up signs at banks had scripture scrolling on them beside the time and weather. You would never see this up North. Religion was a private matter. Politics too.

I met a woman in the Episcopal church parking lot last week. Her children go to the preschool with my daughter. She commented on my bumper sticker. She actually said she liked it. And went on to tell me that she was the Chairperson to the Democratic committee last year for the area. She said the group who nominated her for Chair joked that they did so because she was so very pregnant at the time that no one would mess with her. Its funny but there is some truth to it. I had a teacher at the school comment that I must not have many friends around here to have that bumper sticker on my car. (Well that is true. I only have a few. But I don't think that is why.)

So my voice is small in these parts... almost nonexistent. I Miss Bill is a small way my voice might be heard. It's a whisper is relationship to the messages that bombard me everyday. One that I live with and accept as other people's belief. I am not a debater but I do have a perspective.

So this morning... I am getting into my car in the Wal*Mart parking lot with groceries and 2 kids and what do I find? A nasty note under my windshield. It began... "Of course you miss Bill..." the rest I will not quote because I threw the note away and can not remember it word for word though I remember the gist of it. Basically it said that Bill Clinton opened the door to a lower level of moral behavior and allowed compromise (I remember this word well) and something else which I can not remember to be acceptable. Ok, what?

There are so many things I can take debate with in this anonymous persons thoughts. But first is that Bill Clinton is awfully powerful to be able to turn the tide of the countries moral compass with his transgressions. And the second is that just because I miss Bill Clinton does not mean that I disregard his flaws. But gosh at least he admits to them. The president we have now... oh never mind. I think you know where I am going.

Why do I miss Bill? The person who wrote the message left under my windshield assumed that the things he held against Bill Clinton were the things I admired in him. (haha) Now that is a self centered perspective. We all do it. But this is a glaring example. Here is what I know... Bill Clinton is a flawed person. Aren't we all? Bill Clinton made mistakes. Don't we all?

And this flawed, mistake-making person achieved more than just notoriety for his misdeeds. During the time Bill Clinton was in office, he succeeded in reducing the government including staff reduction in the White House. Interest rates went down so low that sales of new homes exploded across the country. Unemployment went down from 7.5 % in 1992 to 4.0% in 2000. His economic policies helped to create 20 million job and reduced the deficit by $600 Billion. He was a compromiser and a conciliator. There are many who say that he did not have strong enough foreign policies. But this is what I liked about Bill Clinton. He respected other governments. He respected other cultures. And he entered into dialogue with them.

As a Christian I was taught to love thy neighbor. I was taught that forgiveness is next to Godliness. I ask God to forgive my shortcomings everyday. I try to be the person God wants me to be.. the person God created me to be. I fall short. I keep asking for forgiveness and I keep trying. But I am not just the mistakes I make nor am I my flaws. I do do good everyday. Sometimes by accident but I do do good. And because I understand this about myself I am obliged to understand it about Bill Clinton and, yes sadly, about the gentleman who left me his thoughts today.

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