August 18, 1998

Okay, I’m sure you all expect me to have something to say about President Clinton’s speech last night, and I do. Not long ago I, too, would have fallen victim to the spindoctors who have tried and largely succeeded in throwing the cloak over the American public’s heads and making this an issue about morality. Unfortunately, the majority of the American public doesn’t understand that it is an issue of both morality and legality. Personally, I don’t want the President of my country lying to me, as Clinton did. Furthermore, and I know countless people have said it before me, the President of the United States of America is not above the law. Morally and legally his actions were wrong. The fact that he committed adultery doesn’t affect the Nation until you understand that this opens him up to blackmail, which could result in the placement of people within his Cabinet and other government positions who have no business or the qualifications to be there. According to Matt Drudge, who originally broke this whole Clinton-Lewinsky story, “At the height of Watergate in the summer of 1974, during Bill Clinton’s race to become a U.S. Representative from Arkansas, Clinton once declared: ‘If a President of the United States ever lied to the American people he should resign.'” And this is what I call for – a resignation from the Presidency by Mr. Clinton.

Unfortunately, this is not the opinion of the majority I have heard express their, however misguided, perception of this issue. In my World Geography class, filled with mostly Sophomores in high school, the idea that the issue is only about whether or not President Clinton had an inappropriate affair was echoed by most of the students. And, of course, they could care less whether or not he had sex with Ms. Lewinsky.

In my American Government class, an exchange student from Ukraine joined us yesterday. Last year, I became friends with an exchange student from Belgium, and because I love learning about other places and other peoples, I talked to Virginia, the girl from Ukraine, her first day in class even as people laughed at the shoes she was wearing, which only goes to show how idiotic most high schoolers are nowadays. Although I haven’t learned much about Ukraine yet, I have spoken with her both days she’s been in class and today when discussion turned to last night’s speech, she looked a little lost, so, hopefully, this issue isn’t nearly as popular in other countries as it is here.

Why I would associate with a foreign exchange student as my other classmates laugh at their accents might be a difficult question to answer. I like to make new friends who have experienced different things. I like to learn about other places from people with firsthand knowledge. I would hate to be stuck in a country where I could barely speak the language and everyone just stared at me (of course, that happens to me anyway… if only I knew Ebonics). And mostly, I believe that a person’s perception of our country would be greatly altered if someone talked to them and expressed an interest in their country and culture and them personally. If she goes home and says, “The United States is great, and this guy named William was really nice to me the whole time I was there,” I think I would have done my part for our country’s international relations.


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