Thursday, September 27, 2012

Am I moving left or did Bubba move right?

kw: current events, world events, articles

I just read in the current (Oct 1, 2012) issue of Time Magazine the article "The Case for Optimism" by Bill Clinton. I was quite unfavorable to President Clinton while he was in office, but I did notice that he moderated quite a bit during his second term, to the point that George W. Bush began his first term seeming to be to Clinton's left. Of course, 9/11 and the two wars changed all that. A wartime President has to govern from the right, as FDR and Truman both did.

In the article, Mr. Clinton stressed five items, which I'll list along with their subtitles:
  1. Technology: Phones Mean Freedom
  2. Health: Healthy Communities Prosper
  3. Economy: Green Energy Equals Good Business
  4. Equality: Women Rule
  5. Justice: The Fight for the Future is Now
To some extent, the article could be considered a long plug for the Clinton Global Initiative, because CGI efforts are mentioned throughout. However, that is the arena where he spends his time, and what he knows the best. It is amazing that more than 85% of everybody has access to a cell phone. This is good for business, it is good for the economies of developing countries, and it is making the notion of a Digital Divide obsolete. Similar things could be said for green energy. And listen: resource conservation was originally a Conservative cause (just ask Teddy Roosevelt). The level of personal responsibility that widespread communications make possible just makes a Conservative grin. The other three areas, while appearing more "Liberal", are treated in an even-handed way that nobody is likely to argue with very much.

It is a funny thing, that a decade or so of being out of office has gone a long way towards rehabilitating the former President. There were a few storm clouds overhead by the end of his second term, mostly because of personal failings. But he is attaining stature as a statesman, a "wise old head", and people seem more ready to forgive (me, too, slightly grudgingly).

The CGI is worth a look, not because they are a charity but because they aren't. CGI is a connection machine for those wishing to do good and those who know how to go about it. Perhaps it is not a FaceBook for the philanthropically inclined, but that gives a bit of its flavor.

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