A newly released memo written by Brett Kavanaugh, suggesting a number of explicit questions to be asked in former President Clinton’s 1998 investigation into his affair with Monica Lewinsky, has been made public.
After a number of freedom of information requests, the National Archives made the memo public on Monday 20 August, as part of 12,349 pages of records which were released. Interesting timing considering that Brett Kavanaugh is Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice.
Now, I could go on to discuss the reasons why he wrote those questions and how his attitudes have changed greatly from ensuring that Clinton’s investigation should be as tough as possible, to stating in an article in 2009 for Minnesota Law Review that presidents should not be ‘distracted’ from potential lawsuits. A statement that incidentally works well in Trump’s favour should Kavanaugh become a member of the Supreme Court Justice.
When I initially saw the streams of news articles around the questions and the affair my initial thought was, “not this again.” It’s been 20 years and we still cannot stop talking about the affair and to be frank it’s time we gave it a break.
Do I condone what happened? Absolutely not. However, our need as a public to continue vilifying and rehashing the events seems to remain insatiable and after 20 years it’s a topic which still haunts all parties, particularly Monica Lewinsky and Hillary Clinton.
When Bill Clinton finished his second term after being acquitted by the Senate in 1999 following his impeachment, he surprisingly scored a 66 per cent* approval rate. An astonishing 7 per cent higher than Barack Obama and remains in the top 10 highest approval ratings to date.
What about Monica Lewinsky? It’s safe to say that she did not leave the White House with as good an approval rating or a vast fortune to fall back on like Clinton did. After being thrown into one of the biggest political scandals, the first of which to be fuelled by online media, Lewinsky was subject to a slew of online bullying and harassment 24 hours a day across the globe. In an interview with The Guardian back in 2016, Lewinsky talked openly about her thoughts around suicide at the time stating that the “shame sticks to you like tar.”
Of course I am aware that after the scandal Lewinsky designed a range of handbags named, The Real Monica, became a TV personality and even landed a $1m deal with Jenny Craig which ended up being cut short as a result of many franchises refusing to use the advertising she starred in. Much of the money earnt going towards legal fees.
For many years, Lewinsky kept a low profile before deciding to write an article for Vanity Fair titled, “Shame and Survival”. Fast forward to today and Lewinsky is an anti-bullying activist and public speaker who works with charities the world over giving a voice to those who don’t have one.
For 20 years this affair not only continues to haunt Bill Clinton, but Lewinsky even more so, as well as Hillary. The 2016 presidential election campaign is just one example of the affair being dragged up numerous times, but not because it would humiliate Bill Clinton, but Hillary, who she herself is tarred with the requirement to pay for Bill’s behaviour.
As an anti-bullying activist, Lewinsky has used her experience for good, campaigning for those who do not, or feel they do not have a voice, yet our carnal need to delve back into the details of what happened speaks more about us as a public than it does of anyone else.
Again, I do not condone adultery, or anyone abusing their position of power to get their way with their staff. What I do condone is forgiveness and compassion. Both Clinton and Lewinsky made an enormous mistake. For Bill Clinton the mention of the affair will follow him around like a bad smell, however, Lewinsky appears to pay more with numerous insults thrown at her, refused jobs time and time again and was even told by a woman who pretended to be a friend that she was not wanted in London when she moved to study at London School of Economics in 2005.
In the face of 20 years of criticism Monica Lewinsky has become the picture of transformation, resilience and has more than paid for her actions.
If the people of America want to block Brett Kavanaugh, go ahead, personally, I think it’s right to do so. But do it using other means such as the fact he feels that any sitting president should be above the law. Do it by using any injustices or wrongdoings/sayings of his own doing, but don’t use the Clinton-Lewinsky affair as a means to. Using the affair only gratifies your own appetite for sordid sex details and judgement.
It’s time to move on.