Clinton Library (by Diane)
I feel like I should start by recusing myself from writing this article, given how I feel about the Clinton’s, but I don’t think anyone else is going to report on our stop here, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
First, we arrived in Little Rock after a really nice drive in from Mississippi. The River was way over it’s banks. We have certainly found some really pretty back roads to travel on this journey. The RV park we stayed in was in North Little Rock, called the Trails End. How appropriate, due to the fact this was our last stop together as a group. The dolphin was going to head west and meet up with family in Arizona. Dick and Gail were headed to the Diamond Mine State Park when they left us, and we haven’t heard if they found any big rocks. We hope Gail finds internet access and gives us all a report.
The Clinton Library is an unusual building. I am sure you have all seen it on the news. When we first arrived, we discovered we had to go through security. Now, since we have seen almost all of the other Presidential Museums and have never had to go through security, Bonnie started to ask the question why?
She finally had every guard and docent in the place trying to find the answer to her question. The rest of us were worried we would get kicked out before we got the chance to see it. We did find out that all the libraries will have to become compliant with metal detectors and security guards in the next 5 years. It’s a 9-11 thing. We can understand it as some of these libraries have priceless items in them.
We started off the tour with a 12 minute film that focused on President Clinton’s life and political career. You then went out into a large room that housed alcoves in which there were different exhibits. They touched on the foreign affairs, his failed Health Care Plan, and of course the great scandal. Of course, it was pointed out to you, numerous times, that the reason for all the trouble he had was solely the fault of the Republicans. Those pesky Republicans.
The Library had the requisite gifts of State, some china displays, a replica of the oval office and some personal memorabilia from Bill and Hillary’s early years. What we found lacking was some sense of who the man was. In some of the other libraries, there were displays detailing the Presidents early careers, whether it be a senator, governor, or CIA Director. All of these things, along with any military service, gave you a picture of what shaped the man, and maybe a better understanding of why he had made the decisions he did, right or wrong. We could find none of that here. We also all felt that the museum was poorly laid out and was really hard to follow. You were never sure where you were supposed to go next and what the timeline was.
Now, as a Republican, bet you couldn’t guess, I felt that like with everything having to do with the Clinton’s, they put their spin on it. I couldn’t find anything in the library that was humble. I am aware that the purpose of a Presidential Library is to shape your place in history, but, boy do they want it written a different way than I remember it.
All in all, I am glad I visited it and got a chance to see and read some of his papers. Would I recommend it? Yes. I think we all should be learning about our Presidents whether we agree with them or not.