Sixteen years after the scandal, Lewinsky is still shamed by the public, while the Clinton's have become a political dynasty
Monica Lewinsky is breaking her silence about her scandalous affair with President Bill Clinton in a self-written essay for Vanity Fair magazine. The magazine will hit the stands May 13, but it has already set off a firestorm from both Republicans and Democrats 16 years after the scandal.
After Lewinsky’s friend, Linda Tripp, released recordings of her admitting to fantasies about being with Clinton, the “Lewinsky scandal” became the only news story, day in and day out, like Benghazi. Ken Starr, the special prosecutor assigned to the Lewinsky scandal, was the Darryl Issa of the late 1990’s.
President Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives, but in the end, he was found innocent on perjury and obstruction of justice charges in the senate. The difference between the Lewinsky scandal and others like it, is that the affair or tryst actually happened inside the White House, a sacred building in our country. It’s like having an affair in church or school. The idea of defiling it, even though it was probably not the first time, sickened many Americans. I mean, how many parents besides me had to explain to their kids what a certain sex act is?
It didn’t take long for Lewinsky to show remorse. In 1999, Lewinsky declined to sign an autograph in an airport, saying, “I’m kind of known for something that’s not so great to be known for.” After all Bill and Monica went through, after a decade and a half, it seems like Slick Willy got off the easiest… No pun intended.
I have seen some excerpts of her Vanity Fair tell all essay that just squarely tells the truth. She admits to having the affair with the 42nd President when she was 22 years old. Lewinsky is now 40 years old, and it’s been 16 years since Clinton’s impeachment, in which she had to testify at such a young age in the culture of Washington, D.C.
She holds a master’s degree in psychology from the London School of Economics and while her only goal was to get married and have a family, she remains single with no career and a pariah. A metaphorical scarlet letter is tattooed on her forehead and I am staggered at how people, especially women, have come out trashing her.
Meanwhile the Clinton’s have moved on to very successful lives and are now seen as a potential political dynasty. Bill now has a library in his name in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Clinton Foundation has endowments and philanthropists as big as Bill Gates. He also has speaking engagements that pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Currently, Lewinsky has no foundation to speak of. It’s mind boggling to me that Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, who were made famous for having sex on tape, have gone on to make millions and millions of dollars, while Monica Lewinsky continues to get trashed in the media.
The real insult is how many women are already coming out and bashing Lewinsky without even reading the article… especially Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, who has had her own share of public affairs. She stated, “But, clearly, she was stung and wanted to have her say about the revelation in February that Hillary had told her friend Diane Blair, knowing it would be made public eventually, that Bill was at fault for the affair but deserved props for trying to manage someone who was clearly a narcissistic loony toon.”
Hillary also said she blamed herself for Bill’s dalliance. Monica vigorously notes about feminist icon, Hillary Clinton, that “I find her impulse to blame the Woman — not only me, but herself — troubling.”
Remember, Lewinsky made Maureen Dowd famous by agreeing to do an interview with her. The same goes for Matt Drudge? Where would he and his website be without the Monica Lewinsky/President Bill Clinton scandal? These people should be thanking her, not bashing her.
Last January, Lewinsky was mentioned in a song by Beyoncé called “Partition” in which the lyrics go: “He popped all my buttons and he ripped my blouse. He Monica Lewinski’d all on my gown.” I like Beyoncé and think she is a pretty strong role model for young women, but maybe the lyrics should have been “He Bill Clinton’d all on my gown”. Just a tip Beyoncé.
After the scandal, Lewinsky admitted to being suicidal, with her mother sleeping in her bedroom every night to protect her daughter from hurting herself. After she learned about Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who committed suicide after he was filmed kissing another male in his dorm room, Lewinsky has given a lot of thought about what she has been through with public humiliation. Nobody wants to talk about the fact that she has suffered in silence all these years.
I want Monica Lewinsky to succeed and get her life back. I also want the Clinton family to stay as leaders in the Democratic Party, even though they are not as progressive as I’d like. The point being is that it is time to move on, especially for Ms. Lewinsky.
I cannot imagine being in her position. I cannot imagine how brave she has been all these years having someone notice her every day, looking down on her with scorn as if she knew better at 21 years old. I don’t know what the future holds for Monica Lewinsky’s. Although she is politically savvy, I don’t think her essay is political or self-serving.
I think she is just getting it out in the open so that she can go back to her reclusive life while her name is thrown around daily for the next two years. I just hope that she can hold onto her dignity during these election cycles, and be accepted in a career that she is educated for. My best thoughts and wishes are with Monica and look forward to seeing the aftermath of her candid essay and apology.
She clearly states in her essay, “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened,”