DHD: Six takeaways from ‘The Clinton Series’
I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Day. I definitely enjoyed mine, spent with family and will continue enjoying family time this weekend.
This week’s DHD does not follow my usual approach. Earlier this week, I watched A&E’s “docuseries” The Clinton Affair. I have not watched all six episodes, but I have watched most of them and would consider watching again when possible.
The series is not appropriate for children. It features comments about Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs. The series shares a sad narrative on a chapter of American history – a chapter that happened 20 years ago.
What I appreciate most about the A&E series is how objective it was. It truly does not have a political slant one way or another. Criticism is offered about all sides.
And the series also gives the victims a fair presentation, which is a benefit from today’s societal tenor, a greater support for those affected by sexual abuse.
Therefore, I decided to give six takeaways from The Clinton Affair.
- Details of the characters
There’s a lot of interviews, at least 50 people who were involved in this major escapade back in the late ‘90s. The Clinton Affair presents everybody in an excellent fashion. There are those who defend Bill Clinton, those who loathe Bill Clinton, politicians, lawyers, media members, victims and family members and friends of victims.
The presentation of all the interviews is excellent, connecting them all very well. There’s great timing of opposing views, and as I said, there’s no slant. With today’s murky media bias, the series was a breath of fresh air.
- Showing Clinton’s initial deposition
As I said, I have not watched all of the episodes. I started watching Tuesday night, Nov. 20, midway through episode four, and then continued watching episodes five and six. This evening, Nov. 22, I was able to watch the first two episodes through On Demand. The only parts I have not watched are episode three and the first part of episode four.
One of the first scenes I caught of The Clinton Affair was Bill Clinton being interrogated by Paula Jones’ lawyers. As many will attest, Clinton is savvy with a likeable, even charming personality.
As this deposition begins, Clinton is in control. He can lie and cover up his misbehavior in a very believable manner. The series is excellent in presenting commentary from Jones’ lawyer in modern day while viewers watch the Clinton deposition (to be clear, this isn’t Clinton’s famous grand jury deposition when he responds with what the definition of “is” is).
When the lawyers start asking Clinton questions about gifts he has given, it’s amazing to watch his countenance change and to hear the lawyer voice-over say, “This is when he (Clinton) realizes that Monica has been talking.”
Clinton is shown turning beet red and losing some of his composure.
- Resignation of Bob Livingston
Again, there are so many parts of this time of history, happening right in the heart of the U.S. government. Members of Congress were impacted, including U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston from Louisiana.
Livingston was projected to be the next Speaker of the House, but news broke during Clinton’s impeachment trial that the Congressman was involved in an extramarital affair. The series shows Livingston speaking from the floor, criticizing Clinton with voices off screen shouting “You resign! You resign!”
As the shouts continued, Livingston throws an unexpected bomb and announces, after calling for Clinton to resign, he himself would resign. Livingston is interviewed for the series, and he said with a laugh that you could hear a pin drop in the House chamber.
Bravo to the series producers for this segment’s presentation.
- Credibility of Paula Jones
The person who was instrumental in getting the ball rolling on the media frenzy surrounding the Clintons’ controversies is Paula Jones. Throughout the whole corrupted chaos, Jones was always presented negatively by the majority of the media. She appeared unbelievable, and the media used degrading descriptions to depict her.
The Clinton Affair gave her a fair shake. Her interviews in the past were shown, but they also interviewed her in modern day, in a much more respectable fashion.
Paula Jones is a simple lady who was abused by a powerful leader. She was a naive entry-level government worker in the state of Arkansas who thought she was going to be offered a better job when a state trooper led her to a hotel room where Governor Clinton sexually harassed her.
I hope Jones feels some relief from a public view in how The Clinton Affair presented her.
- Restart of Monica Lewinsky
The Clinton Affair helped change my view of Monica Lewinsky. Mostly, I guess I appreciate the wisdom she seemed to demonstrate. Now a contributing editor of Vanity Fair, Lewinsky wrote an article on why she participated in The Clinton Affair.
She is a good communicator now. I remember the interviews of her past, how she came across as a smug immature 20-something. She had an annoying laugh and would be blunt and crass in her responses.
One encouraging thing I got from the series, and then verified in her article, is her view of apologizing. She said she would apologize to Hillary Clinton, if she ever saw her again, and to others.
“I know I would do this (apologize),” she wrote, “because I have done it in other difficult situations related to 1998. I have also written letters apologizing to others—including some who also wronged me gravely. I believe that when we are trapped by our inability to evolve, by our inability to empathize humbly and painfully with others, then we remain victims ourselves.
“So, what feels more important to me than whether I am owed or deserving of a personal apology is my belief that Bill Clinton should want to apologize. I’m less disappointed by him, and more disappointed for him. He would be a better man for it . . . and we, in turn, a better society.”
As a Christian, when I read her comment “inability to evolve,” I want to say inability to surrender our life to Christ. There is some humanistic flavoring in Lewinsky’s comments, but I think she comes close to presenting the way Jesus taught how to live and to treat people.
- Effect on the Clintons
I said the series gives an objective view. The ones who appear with the least positivity are Bill and Hillary Clinton. In my lifetime, the president who receives the most negative commentary from the entertainment world would be Richard Nixon. The Clinton Affair hits Bill and Hillary with the level of extreme criticism that would mirror what has been given to Nixon. In my opinion, all of it is deserved.
It’s a different day. The mistreatment of women, especially to the horrible level of sexual harassment or abuse, is viewed more forcefully with punishment.
This is not something that should be viewed from a political lens. Rather, treating all people with respect should be a priority for everybody. This is what Christ taught and demonstrated. May we all model His leadership and example.