Magazine article Insight on the News

President's Sins Give Americans Chance to Break with History

Magazine article Insight on the News

President's Sins Give Americans Chance to Break with History

Article excerpt

What do President Clinton and King Henry VIII have in common? Both leaders chafed under traditional sexual mores, uncomfortable with the restrictions everyone else must follow. Unlike Henry VIII, the president has not actively tried to break once and for all with his constraints. Yet, the spirit of the early 16th century English monarch seems to have been reincarnated within the late 20th century U.S. chief executive. How it turns out depends on the will of the people, a foreign concept in Henry's time.

The high approval ratings the president enjoys may be due to the fact that most Americans compartmentalize their lives into public and private realms, as the president is said to do. Maybe it is out of cynicism that the majority of Americans do not fault him for his indiscretions, a belief that equates "politician" with "immorality" or perhaps it is because they can relate to his situation -- he's only human.

The high divorce rate in this country, along with the large number of unwed moms and deadbeat dads, could give us some indication of how low a premium we place on the sacrament of marriage and the idea of family.

The president is in trouble because he fails not only at being a good husband and father, but in understanding what it means to be president. He is the most public and closely watched figure in the world. Whatever he does and whatever he says has influence on the rest of humanity. He is not a king with absolute power. He owes his position to popular sovereignty and therefore must prove his worth. This is the essence of the American experiment.

Unfortunately, it is not only this that the president fails to grasp. He also lacks an appreciation for the vital role the family plays in history. While it never has been his strong suit, he does not dismiss family values because he is antifamily, but does so out of ignorance of its true nature.

He is without a solid foundation on the basis of civilization, which is that the family is the most important unit in history It is the building block of society. The cycles of history depend on its strengths or its weaknesses. Through its teachings, religion has strengthened them. The first family's pastors in Arkansas would agree.

The early Christian church raised the status of women when it made a sacrament out of marriage. The belief that women were the root of all evil was replaced with the significant wonder of childbirth, a blessing men could never achieve. …

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