Remembering the good ol’ days

By By David Servatius

By David Servatius

God, how I miss the man!

I knew when he left all those years ago that life would be very different. I fully expected things to be worse without him, and so I’ve been coping. But bumping into him again on campus recently brought everything back and made me painfully aware of how truly awful things have been since we’ve been apart.

I miss Bill Clinton.

When Bill was president, living in America felt like a great big bear hug from that favorite old uncle who always smelled of Ivory soap and peppermint. Now it feels like the mildewed, crazy great-aunt with the lazy eye who used to scare the crap out of you as a kid. She’s pulling on your cheek and bending in for a kiss, and there’s some week-old spinach in her teeth.

I miss the overall sense that someone sharp, decent and capable was in charge during very challenging times and that things were, just maybe, going to be fine after all. I miss feeling like the ship was starting to tilt and turn ever so slightly to avoid hitting the iceberg.

I miss listening to the president speak and not feeling embarrassed to be American because of it. I miss hearing almost every day from someone who could see the complexity in things and think quickly on his feet. Listening to Bill speak was like listening to your favorite brainy professor and a fiery black minister all rolled into one. He spoke to the head and the heart.

I remember one State of the Union address when someone loaded the wrong speech into the Teleprompter, and without missing a beat Bill was able to deliver the correct one from memory. No one even noticed. Try to picture the current White House occupier as he realizes the wrong speech is in his Teleprompter. OK, now stop laughing. It’s actually a little scary.

I miss the surplus and all of the opportunities we had to do the things that needed to be done. When Bill was in charge, we had hundreds of billions of dollars left over in our treasury each year.

We could have started paying off the national debt. We could have given everyone a substantial tax refund. We could have replaced every American citizen’s car with a hybrid. We could have provided every American with free health care. We could have hired hundreds of thousands of new teachers and raised teachers’ pay dramatically across the board. We could have paid our soldiers a living wage. We could have done anything we wanted.

Instead, the treasury has been looted, the pockets of our unborn grandchildren have been picked and mountains of cash have been shoveled into the offshore bank accounts of Bush family cronies. Now we can’t even provide minimal health care for our poor children. Now we are borrowing money from China to commit murder and larceny.

I miss having a commander in chief who understood that, yes, our economy depends to a large degree on the ongoing activity of the war machine, but who had also figured out a way of using that reality to create positive change in the world.

One amazing fact will always remain with me. As president, Bill restored democracy in Haiti and ended genocide in the Balkans, he did both without sending a single soldier into battle who didn’t come back alive. And don’t start yelling “Somalia!” Bill inherited that mess from Bush the Smarter, just like someone is going to inherent Dim Son’s mess in Iraq.

I miss a Democratic leader who knew how to be a first-class political fighter. No one would have ever gotten away with an attempt to swift boat Bill. No one would have gotten away with phony accusations that he had claimed to invent the Internet.

I miss science. I miss the Twin Towers. I miss New Orleans. I miss 4,000 soldiers. I miss America’s standing in the world. I miss habeas corpus, the Geneva Convention and the anti-ballistic missile treaty. I miss common sense and goodness. I miss Bill Clinton.

I’ve decided that I want him back. If it means I have to plug my nose and find a way to fall for Hillary in order to get him back, then I will do that. I’d rather live in his world than live without him in mine.

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