In the early 2000s, I worked at a PR agency that was owned by a local Democratic elected official. One morning as I was driving to work, she called me and asked, "Do you want to see your president today?"
This was in the GWB era and my boss and I both still called Bill Clinton our President. We thought at the time that GWB was the worst president our country had ever seen. We were so naive back then.
On this day, instead of driving to work, I drove to the Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ in the southend of downtown Memphis, where the former President Bill Clinton was speaking on behalf of Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. As we entered the facility, Harold Ford Sr., former US Representative, greeted my boss and ushered us into a side room where we found ourselves at the back of a short line.
Is was the photo line.
Harold Ford Jr. lost that Senate campaign but I had a photo of myself standing between him and Bill Clinton.
Okay, so I cropped out the man who never became Senator. Also, had I known that I was having my photo taken with my president that day, I would've fixed my hair.
My first impression was, I thought he would be taller. The internet says he's 6'2 but my son is 6'3 and I barely hit him mid-chest. Maybe it's because I wore 4-inch heels back in my PR days.
My immediate second impression, once it was my turn to shake his hand and pose for the photo, was that there was an amazing energy that radiated from him. You could understand how a young, impressionable intern could be captivated by that. I can't imagine how much more intense that kind of energy becomes when the man holds sway in the Oval Office.
I never believed any of the conspiracy theories about the Clintons. I do believe that they would probably have suffered less abuse had she been a passive First Lady and not an educated, ambitious woman with aspirations of her own.
While I recognized that the Monica Lewinsky ordeal felt a bit inappropriate, I was so focused on the way the House Republicans inappropriately handled it that I didn't dwell too much on what was obviously sexual harassment in the workplace.
In the era of #MeToo, I started to see "my president" in a little different light. When his name was associated with child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, that light got awfully bright.
So I took down my picture of me & Bill.
He did some good things for this country. But at some point, you have to admit that a politician whose policies you once respected isn't really a very good person.
No shame in that.