The Monica Lewinsky auction this week is serving as a bit of a 90s nostalgia moment (if Portlandia didn’t make us sad enough about that already) and items including the former White House intern’s black negligee — but not the infamous blue dress, which we imagine will one day be enshrined next to Lincoln’s pillow — are set to hit the bidding block.
But as the Monica Lewinsky auction edges closer, it also really contrasts America in 2013 with the “the meaning of ‘is’ is” America of the time. Lewinsky was just 21 when she became infamous for the Oval Office action heard round the world — a mild affair by contrast that ground America to a screeching halt for a long time when we had a lot less about which to worry.
Clinton’s reign was marked by the Lewinsky scandal, and the news of the intern’s dalliance with Forty Deuce seems nearly quaint almost 20 years later. Lewinsky is now 37 and lives in New York City, but the larger legacy of the Clinton administration is a legacy of peace and prosperity summarily dissolved in the years after he left office.
The Lewinsky scandal cast a pall over the second term of Bill Clinton, but such was the quality of life in America we could afford to concern ourselves with whether the President had engaged in some mild hanky panky in the Oval Office. And who among us would not eagerly return to the worry of presidential integrity in the wake of prohibited oral sex versus failures to prevent the 9/11 attacks, never-ending and costly war, the eradication of the middle class, skyrocketing student debt, the looting of the mortgage market and the reverberations of the financial meltdown?
As the Monica Lewinsky auction approaches, we should let it serve as a reminder that we did once have it pretty good here — and a pointed political agenda is almost always detrimental to We The People.