Flashback Friday: Youthful Politics


Welcome to Flashback Friday, where I delve deep into the piles of my childhood memorabilia so that we can reminisce, laugh at the bad perms, and finally prove that merely throwing away your NKOTB door hanging does not diminish your love for Jordan Knight.

Listen, people. This is not all fun and games and Lisa Frank. It’s time for me to share some darker aspects of my past. I wasn’t always the super-gorgeous, super-smart, super-liberal (and super-humble!) redhead you see now before you.

In fact, the entirety of my childhood and adolescent years I was a Bible-beating, super-judgmental, conservative.

NOW, before any of my gorgeous, smart, conservative friends get their panties in a wad, I am not saying those characteristics always go hand in hand. They just did in 16-year-old Sarah...and I have the Heath Post editorial to prove it.

Here it is in all it’s glory. Future Hillaryland intern and staffer Sarah Stewart Holland calling for President Clinton’s resignation. (Feel FREE to skip past this part. It’s pretty unbearable.)

Our president is going through a crisis. Contrary to popular belief, if our president is going through a crisis then so are we. Our president’s personal life affects his ability to perform his job effectively. Also if we were being truthful, the presidency is not just a job, it is an entire life. For this and other reasons, President Clinton should resign.
President Clinton lied. He came on national television and told this entire country a blatant lie. This in its self is inexcusable. Yet it doesn’t end there. He has had a history of lies, beginning with saying he wasn’t drafted; he just got lucky. Then a draft record was released. Whoops. He said memories of black churches being burned in Arkansas when he was a young boy were “vivid and painful.” There were no black churches burned in Arkansas during that time. Now we move on to bigger lies. For seven months, Clinton vehemently denied an affair with Monica Lewinsky. He used every legal avenue possible to delay and hinder Starr’s investigation, including his office of presidency. He had his wife, his lawyers and his closet advisors and friends go on every public medium to say things he knew were completely false. Finally it came down to a stained blue dress. There was physical evidence and he had NO choice.
This is something that needs to be understood. He did not apologize because he was sorry. He apologized because he had no other choice. Also if he is so “scandal weary” and feels sorry for the American public having to go through all this, why didn’t he admit his guilt seven months ago and save us all the trouble?
Another Clinton contradiction is he says he’s sorry while sending his lawyers out with statements blasting his innocence.
If Clinton does not resign or is not impeached the moral lesson will be sending to younger generations and other countries will be appalling. We will be saying that as long as our money is safe we do not care if the president is running a brothel. That it is acceptable for the moral leader of our country to lie compulsively to his friends, to his wife and daughter and to the entire country. The absolute law enforcer for our country can break the law.
This is unacceptable. Billy Graham issued a statement saying that no man is an island, that ever person’s actions affect us all, the bigger the person the bigger the person’s impact. President Clinton is not a CEO; his job doesn’t end at the end of the day. Someone asked me would I want my personal life spread all over television. No I would not, but I am not the president. He took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend. He also took an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; he lied once he will again. 

Whew. The self-righteousness is SMOTHERING. I had some thoughts, y’all. You can’t really figure out what they are through all the judging and the simplifying and the hyperbole but yeah THOUGHTS. I particularly enjoy my concern for “younger generations.”

A mere two years later I will be protesting in an Old Navy over sweatshop labor and supporting Ralph Nadar for President. A decade later I will be working for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. 

My how things change.

My how things change.

I’d like to think that my swing to other side of the political spectrum taught me not to take it all so seriously. Sadly, I know newly liberal Sarah was as insufferable and rigid as longtime conservative Sarah. 

Over time I’ve tried to learn the difference between passionate defense and sanctimonious judgment but I know I don’t always get it right.

Coincidently, it was Bill Clinton who taught me my most profound lesson on how to walk that line. In 2004, he was on his book tour and had come to D.C. to sign copies of his new autobiography. I had taken turns waiting all day with a group of guys. We were technically past the 3,000 person cutoff but we had a feeling Bill wouldn’t turn us away after waiting all day.

We were right.

He had been shaking hands and signing books for several hours when we got to him and his handlers were pushing us through the line at a rapid pace.

When I finally got up to meet him, I took a deep breath and asked what was his number one piece of advice for someone considering public office.

He stopped the line and looked me directly in the eye. For a few minutes, I was the only person in the room. He told me to go out of my way to meet all different sorts of people - to listen to them, to learn their stories. He told me that people too often see politicians as two-dimensional and that if you can find different ways to relate to people, they are more likely to see you as the human being you are. 

Three years later his wife would give me the same advice. 

Listen. Sixteen-year-old Sarah was doing a lot of talking and not a lot of listening. She hadn’t met enough people or heard enough stories to know the world was bigger and wider and much more complicated then she could possibly understand as she walked the halls of Heath High School. 

I hope to talk with Bill Clinton again someday. I’m going to thank him for the great advice... and apologize for my editorial.

How have your political beliefs changed over time? Do you still believe the same things you did as a kid?