Friday, July 09, 2004

Tony Robbins and Emptiness in Life

I'm feeling much better today. Strange how getting the message that my books aren't selling can set me off like that. After all those years of political strife, I'm still sensitive about what people think about me.

I called Tony Robbins, a very good friend of mine and what most people call a mental guru. During my impeachment predicament he helped me through some of my most difficult moments. Every time I thought "give up, it's not worth it" he was there to talk to me, to coach me and to push me to keep on keeping on. A big part of the reason I got through the affair was his help.

We talked for about two hours. He's still as sharp as he ever was. He straightened me out pretty good. What he said to me is confrontational, but true. I know it is true.

He said I fear an impartial judgment of my life's work, my 8 years as president. He said that is the reason I fear the drop in sales of my book. He said that was the reason I fear Kerry winning the presidency.

Till now, he said, I personified the Democratic party and the liberal movement. He said, if Kerry wins the election, he will personify the Democratic party and the liberal movement.

Till now Democrats and liberals defended me and my record, because they saw an attack on me and my record as an attack on the Democratic party and liberalism by fundamentalist Christian and conservative forces.

What will happen if I'm not the personification of the progressive movement in this country? Will my presidency lose its luster? Will they reappraise it? Will I become another president Carter, who's only remembered for the Iran Hostage debacle? Will a lifetime of hard work be reduced to "that president with that intern"?

The reappraisal has started. I've sold about 4 million books. That's a lot and I thank each and every one, who bought the book. But Outkast, the rappers sold many more CD's. More people went to see "Mean Girls".

How did the critics rate my book? They hated it. They thought it was rubbish. Some said so without reading the book. I mean how can you read 650 pages, which took me 3 years to write in 24 hours?

I feel like my time is over. My shine is gone. The teflon is gone. I'm just a citizen. I used to be big. I used to be loved or hated. I used to be somebody. Somebody, who mattered.

Tony said, Tony Robbins, not the British prime minister, he said I need to deal with this. I can't do anything about people's perception of my presidency. I can't stop progress in the Democratic party. New people will have to man the top positions.

He told me to move on with my life. Do I have a life? Apart from the politician Bill Clinton? I have Chelsea and Hillary. Chelsea is all grown up. She has her own life. Hillary has her own life too. Separate from me. She is a senator for New York State. I used to have a lot of supporters, but the sales of my book and the criticism I got shows me I'm on the way out. My supporters will soon be president Kerry and vice president Edwards supporters.

Who am I if not the politician Bill Clinton? Ever since my first election in the early seventies, I've been Bill Clinton the politician. Thinking about it right now, I know I'm nothing else but a politician. I feel pretty lonely. With all my friends, my supporters, Hillary and Chelsea, I feel all alone, because all these people are connected with the politician Bill Clinton, not with me personally. How many friends do I have? How many people like me?

Tony Robbins is right. It's over. I need to put politics behind me. Problem is, I am politics. I have never nurtured anything else but the politician in me. If I have to move on, I'll have to start from scratch.

All of a sudden, I'm 57 and I'm nobody and I have nobody. When I look around right now, I see the security guard leaning back in his chair. He notices me and gives me a disinterested look back. I see the housekeeper cleaning the window. The look on her face tells me she'd rather be somewhere else. I see the spots she left on the window. I know I'll have to talk to her about her work pretty soon and I know she's so beaten by decades of hard manual labor, she won't even care if I fire her or not. And I look at Bobbi typing away on her notebook. She looks up, gives me one of her big Southern smiles and continues her work.

That's my life when I'm not a politician. The life of citizen Clinton. Nothing to be proud of.