Clinton has changed the culture

By Lisa S. Dean
web posted October 30, 2000

While Clinton is still globetrotting the world in search of a legacy for himself before he leaves office this year, his rush to do so is unnecessary because his legacy has already been established. No, it's the not the 300+ Executive Orders that he signed, some of which have taken away more of our Constitutional rights. It's not the countless lies and scandals which have made this country a mockery around the world, nor is it the ridiculous, insipid policies that have made a mockery of this nation as well.

Bill ClintonBill Clinton's legacy will be changing the mindset of the American people and as a result, changing its culture as well. It has been said that "you can't change a culture" but Clinton, in only eight years time, will have done so. From being independent, hard-working, community and family-minded people to being skeptical and distrustful of our neighbors and ever more dependent on an ambitious and controlling federal government, a growing number of American people are threatening the very form of government and liberties that we have enjoyed since our nation's founding. And for what reason? Because Bill Clinton's policies and personal behavior have encouraged them to do so.

Millions of Americans watched their president get away with perjury as well as scandalous personal behavior with women, not his wife, and many couldn't help but to ask "If he can do it, why can't I? After all, he's the president." Moreover, they then watched him skillfully dodge questions concerning his responsibility in these situations. Many high school students heard Bill Clinton in his first term admit to using drugs and then admitting later that if he had it to do all over again, he would. No responsible person could admit that this sort of attitude would not have a negative effect on children.

But that's just personal behavior and of course, there are some who still argue that personal behavior has no bearing on whether a person is qualified or unqualified for a position so let's set that aside and concentrate on his policies, which can essentially be accurately assessed in a nutshell - individual dependence on big government is good, individual responsibility and self-reliance are bad.

Where is the evidence to suggest that Americans, world renowned for their hard-working, "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" sort of attitude, have adopted this welfare-like mentality?

To prove that this is the case, let's use the issue of personal data collection as an illustration. While most Americans are averse to having their personal private data collected by either government or businesses, when offered an incentive such as a monetary discount or denial of service, they take a very different attitude. "Well, if it means saving a few dollars, then it's worth it" becomes the new personal policy.

On the issue of national security, the American people have consistently been told each year by the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the crime rate is declining. In Clinton's annual State of the Union address, he has repeated that Americans are safer now then ever before in modern times. Yet an increasing number of Americans are saying "We have to give up a certain number of our rights in exchange for more security by the government." And sadly, more Americans are.

Fewer are questioning businesses or government officials when they ask for their Social Security number or even a fingerprint, or told they have to register their firearms especially when they're given the excuse that it's for their own safety and security. Somehow that makes it all the more acceptable.

A recent caller to a television talk show said that she planned to vote for Al Gore rather than George W. Bush in the upcoming election because, under a Bush Administration, she would be responsible for handling her Social Security trust fund while under a Gore Administration, the government would do it for her. She thought it was outrageous that that sort of responsibility should be put on the individual and it was the government's job to do it for her. What's worse is that this caller was only 19 years of age, once again illustrating that the Clinton's effect on even the upcoming generation of leaders, businessmen, employers, employees is negatively affected by this welfare mentality.

It's true that leaders throughout the course of history have lead their people toward holiness or damnation and we can only pray that since the evidence seems to indicate that Bill Clinton has not done well in terms of leading us toward holiness, that perhaps enough Americans will remember on November 7th to vote for the one who will.

Lisa Dean is Vice President for Technology Policy at the Free Congress Foundation.

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