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Is it just me, or is anyone else getting tired of people referring to Bill Clinton as the most popular politician in America today?!

Bill Clinton Policies

Yes, of course he did a lot of good during his Presidential days. Yes, many beneficial results can be attributed to him with regard to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, and no one can or should take those accomplishments away from him. Nevertheless, I still don’t trust him (or Hillary for that matter—one of the reasons why I am an unapologetic supporter of Bernie Sanders).

Lest we forget, President Obama has had to spend an inordinate amount of his time overturning, reversing, amending many of the ill-advised laws and regulations the misguided Clinton put into practice some decades ago and which still plague us in so many different ways today.

Lest we forget, President Obama has had to spend an inordinate amount of his time overturning, reversing, amending many of the ill-advised laws and regulations the misguided Clinton put into practice some decades ago and which still plague us in so many different ways today.

For instance, consider the inflammatory, heartbreaking, and insensitive laws which were passed that have adversely affected our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community. DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) is one of them. Incredibly, it was recently overturned by what we might otherwise consider a pretty conservative Supreme Court. Wow! Victory for us! Defeat for Clinton!

Similarly, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was another ill-thought out law. Its purpose, I suppose, was to keep the LGBT community under the radar (denying who they are) for as long as they wanted to serve in the armed forces. While in the service (hiding their humanity), they showed their bravery and courage and fidelity to a country which didn’t quite know how to think of and interact with them. These young, patriotic soldiers were willing to fight (and die) for our country like so many other “straight” people. They swore their allegiance to America and demonstrated their mettle regardless of the obstacles with which they were confronted. Despite their loyalties to the various branches, those whose sexual identities were somehow revealed were unceremoniously drummed out of the service—the military forces of which they had been so proud to be a part! That has also been overturned. Victory for us! Another reversal for Clinton!

What about Welfare Reform during the Clinton years, programs which forced desperate people off the rolls of Federal assistance? These were people who wanted to participate in Federal retraining programs but lost this support if they could not find employment quickly enough (after 2 years) despite all their valiant efforts to get employment that would pay a living wage? At the same time, waivers, believe it or not, were granted to 43 states--rules which allowed those governmental entities to make it more difficult for applicants to apply for and/or stay in the programs whose numerous unreasonable rubrics and regulations, some of which often made compliance very hard. We are still suffering under many of these rules!

And the various iterations of Crime Bills? Under the umbrella of these laws, prisons became warehouses, veritable businesses (largely private) whose profits were based on how many people the “owners” could keep in prison—even for relatively minor offenses. Hence laws like “3 strikes and you’re in”! Or mandatory minimums? Their terms are so imbalanced that sentences of 25 or more years for minor and/or victimless crimes (that should have been considered misdemeanors) have frequently been set by judges whose hands are tied by the draconian rules to which they must abide. Hurray for President Obama who is pardoning some of those given unreasonable sentences and demanding that our legal system be altered to reflect the long-and short-term implications and repercussions of the crimes perpetrated. Shame on Clinton!

The failed attempts at Healthcare Reform back then proved to be disastrous for millions of Americans. Had Hillary Clinton (who had been given the principal responsibility for drawing up the law) been more willing to work with people on both sides of the aisle, it is highly likely that what is now President Obama’s successful Affordable Care Act would have been enacted decades earlier. Had Clinton’s health reform received Congressional bi-partisan support and approval then (at a time when Congress and the Executive branches were more willing to work together), undoubtedly there would have been significantly fewer deaths and untreated serious illnesses as a consequence. Hurrah for us! Sad for Clinton!

At the time, Wall Street was as happy as a clam as its profits soared like never before (until the bubble burst). And then the Stock Market crashed! President Obama was left to right that sinking economic ship. Eventually, his policies were able to create a stock market that is healthier than ever (it has nearly tripled in value since the lows only a few years back when it had fallen to about 6,000 points).

What about NAFTA--the North American Free Trade Alliance? Through his smooth-talking words, Clinton had me (and too many others) convinced that the Alliance would be a positive program and good for all involved. Mexico would become more prosperous and the wages for most of our own workers would rise. And American companies would thrive.

On the other hand, Mexican small farmers and small business owners lost their respective enterprises which they had worked so hard to build and from which they were able to provide for their families. Individual workers found themselves out of work with no prospect for another job. Their children, who once had many options, were going hungry, living in substandard conditions (including housing), receiving poor educational opportunities and inadequate healthcare.

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This meant that many Mexicans (and people from other countries) began to look northward for the promise of jobs—any kind of jobs—that would support themselves and the families they had left behind. Undocumented immigration became a headache for nearly everyone and its ramifications have still not been settled in any way that is sensible, compassionate, and beneficial for those on both sides of the argument. Immigration remains a contentious issue and will be throughout the upcoming Presidential election cycle. In the meantime, the statistics show that under this Administration, net undocumented immigration has reached zero. Bet you didn’t know that! Yay for our side! Not so much for Clinton!

Paralleling the dynamics of those dire economic conditions, American employees largely found themselves in the same predicament once outsourcing began to boom. Contracting-out took jobs from our own labor force, putting workers, often literally, out on the street.

I am ultimately an optimist. I do believe that only those with enough heart, insight, and the ability to understand the effects of inaction or misguided actions by others have a real chance of being elected in what is both a more purple and bluer country. Such people, through their populist leadership, will be able to resolve a preponderance of the pressing and sometimes sensitive issues with which we are now faced--but only if they are elected!

For me, Bernie Sanders has the answers (if people will really listen to him and give him the opportunity on the campaign trail to enlighten prospective voters about himself, his goals, and his policies). I believe he is the populist and visionary for whom we have been waiting!

To me, Hillary, thus far, is someone I cannot trust. We still don’t know where she stands on a lot of important issues, such as the TPP and Wall Street. She seems unwilling to share her authentic thoughts on these and other pressing issues. To this day, she skirts around her stance on Keystone (waiting, as she just said, to see what the current President is going to do and, then, only if she is elected, will she tell us her position on critical concerns)! Are her views and policies shaped when the winds of change are pushing her? When do we find out? After the the polls close when it is too late?! Are we supposed to settle for “nice enough”? Or good enough?

As forgiving a person as I like to think of myself, I still can’t get over her earlier campaign when both she and Bill impugned the integrity of Obama and his campaign, leaving others to ponder just what their genuine thoughts are on race.

Bill, the first Black President? Hogwash! How are Black Americans or those of other “minority” communities really better off than before the Clintons came along? Don’t give him credit for inevitabilities in terms of social standing and employment numbers. America, in many ways and as a whole, is transforming itself, is evolving on its own—but a lot of the forward movement comes only as a direct result of the Obamas in life and not from the questionable honesty and integrity of the Clintons.

Personally, I want only the best of the best to lead us toward the end of the first quartile of the 21st century. Among other prerogatives under his or her purview, that someone will exert great influence on the Supreme Court as at least 4 nominations by that new President will surely be made during the next Administration. After the next President leaves office, Supreme Court decisions will affect our lives for decades. Thus, we must think of ourselves as being morally obligated to make judicious and thoughtful decisions about our next presidential vote (as we should for all our votes).

Let’s finally size it all up. Clinton, though productive with his Foundation, is still a politician of the past and should no longer be heralded as someone equal in importance to the invention of the wheel—though maybe that point is slightly exaggerated.

Hillary? Let’s think hard about what her presidency would mean. Will this husband and wife prove to be two peas in a pod? Are we up for another round of evasive, less-than-trustworthy, and secretive dealings? We must look at the past to see the future.

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Let’s consider other options, then. Does Bernie ring a bell?!

Rosemary Jenkins