Thursday, November 18, 2004

Things I don't have a title for

I watched the ABC Primetime Special on the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library this evening. I don't remember . . . did networks devote an hour to other presidential library openings? Is this evidence of the liberal media bias?

Anyway, as I have said in other postings, I find the design of the Clinton Library fascinating--as an architectural work. I also feel some weird "ownership" of Clinton--he was the first and second president that I have voted for in my young lifetime and the only one that I have voted for who also won the election. So, I watched the special with interest.

It WAS interesting and made me wish for a trip to Little Rock so that I could see the exhibits and the building for myself. God help me it even made me a little bit nostalgic for being a grad student, able to get my hands on archives and look at the kind of documents that are stored in that place.

It is very clear that Clinton is desperate to shape his legacy as quickly as he can. It was stated that he was planning the library as soon as he was elected. Maybe all presidents do that, but I am sure that he has special reasons to deal with this notion of legacy. To give him whatever credit I can here, he does provide information on the impeachment in part of the exhibit. I have heard that the Lewinsky scandal is also there, but I don't know if people are simply interchangeably using Lewinsky to mean impeachment. I do NOT believe that Bill worked very hard to do much exhibiting on Lewinsky and that part of the impeachment issue. It was certainly clear during the interview clips that he will always view Lewinsky as a personal mistake and a personal problem that had no connection to what the impeachment proceedings were about. That was, to him, the final act of the right wing conspiracy that circled around his entire presidency. For someone who is trying (based on public statements) to live a Christian life, he is very clearly struggling with his ability to forgive his political adversaries and those that set out to hurt him and the work he tried to do. I wonder if he will ever be able to do so.

But I am not making apologies for him. He made an extremely juvenile and stupid mistake that deserved some sort of punishment. I do NOT however think that the appropriate punishment was impeachment.

Another item: I watched the last half of the Frontline special entitled "Is WalMart Good for America?" this past Tuesday night. I mentioned it here last week. It was a very good program and more information can be found here.
I felt that it raised some serious issues and made me consider how I view WalMart. If WM's persistence on the lowest prices (which is their right and the linchpin of their corporate existence) can be so damaging to the American manufacturer--because U.S. companies cannot provide goods low enough to compete with foreign competitors that don't operate in the same social/regulatory structures that are true here--then should I avoid shopping there?
I don't really shop there that much anyway, but in a larger sense, should I be meticulously researching all of the products I buy to see where they are all made, or more precisely where the individual components are made. Where does it end? How far can I take it? It just makes me think about how overwhelming the structure that surrounds us is and how hard it can sometimes be to fight against the clear injustices and inequalities that result from that structure. I admire all the more those that see those problems and are more committed than I to doing what they can to make things more equitable.
It was illuminating to me and I hope that I can find some way to make a small difference.