Boyyyy, this has been a long and bruising Democratic presidential primary, and it’s far from over! I think we all could use an excuse to feel some warm and fuzzies about Bill and Hillary. After all, Hillary isn’t really a monster, is she? And Bill isn’t really a racist, is he?
If you feel this way, I have a book for you to read: The Games We Played: A Celebration of Childhood and Imagination is a wonderful compilation of childhood stories of famous people. The editor, Steven Cohen, is a former Clinton Administration press aide, so he was able to get Bill and Hillary Clinton to contribute their stories. All these stories – not just Bill and Hillary’s – are a wonderful, nostalgic read.
To me, childhood was about friends and discovery. When I think back on it, I think about how wonderful it was to be outside, even if I was getting stung by a bumblebee or dodging a rattlesnake, or handling tarantulas or centipedes or scorpions – and we had lots of them. Sometimes we’d even cut up the centipedes and watch the sections crawl on each other – our own little laboratory experiment. Everything we did became a game. That’s the way it ought to be.
While Bill’s stories don’t reveal any hints of his future as a leader, Hillary shows hints of her future promise. Here’s a story of hers that I like:
In 1956 we organized our own neighborhood Olympics. I went to the dime store and I bought ribbons and we made medals. . . In fact, each contestant had to pay money to enter the neighborhood Olympics. At the end of the Olympics we had a big bag of pennies and nickels and quarters, which we gave to a local charity. I remember that because there was a picture of me in our local newspaper handing the bag of change to a man in a suit.
In her conclusion, Hillary hints that she considers happy, independent kids’ lives to be a vital social priority, so if she became president, maybe she’d do something about it like what I advocate, liberalizing the Fair Housing Act to encourage clustering of families:
We had so much imaginative game-playing time – just unstructured fun time. I had the best, most wonderful childhood: being outside, playing with my friends, being on my own, just loving life. When I was a kid in grade school, it was great. We were so independent, we were given so much freedom. But now it’s impossible to imagine giving that to a child today. It’s one of the great losses as a society. But I’m hopeful that we can regain the joy and experience of free play and neighborhood games that were taken for granted growing up in my generation. That would be one of the best gifts we could give our children.
Wowwwww… Could I possibly cast a vote for this woman? If I had heard her say this on a stump speech before the California primary, she would have had my vote…