Wednesday, May 22, 2013

William J. Clinton Presidential Library

Today was our scheduled rest day in Little Rock, Arkansas.  (Yesterday's adventure was finding this RV Park in the wilderness of Little Rock suburbs.  But, thank goodness, the GPS lady knew where it was and was able to direct us there along narrow, curvy, hilly county roads!)

We decided to take in some of the sights of the big cities of Little Rock and  North Little Rock.

Our first stop, Stop # 12 for our summer tour, was here at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.
The building has a creative and unique design.  It is shaped as a large rectangle, and both ends extend out beyond the lower floors.  The advertising posters prominently displayed on the front of the building are for public events to be held there in the near future.
It was an interesting -- and informative -- trip for us thru the era of national history which we remember.  We were reminded again of some of his achievements: negotiating an end to the Balkan war and a preliminary agreement between Yasser Arafat and Benjamin Netanyahu (which never came to fruition!), promotion of world trade agreements and economic assistance to several debt-ridden third world countries, and the passage of the Brady bill and the assault weapons ban.  Perhaps his most amazing achievement is almost unimaginable in our current state of political chaos: the achievement of a balanced federal budget!
We were curious to see how the exhibits and information explained President Clinton's personal ethical lapses and the congressional attempt to impeach.  The moral missteps are not denied but much of the political results are credited to a "struggle for power" between President Clinton and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.  From this non-objective, Democratic point of view, Gingrich and the Republican congressional leadership resorted to "character assassination" in their attempts to undermine the President's influence. 
(On the basis of this interpretation of events, Bruce and I have decided that everyone should have the right to create a personal library which includes information that will re-interpret any personal lapses of behavior.  That way, everybody can leave a legacy of untarnished success and achievement!)
We had a delicious lunch in the "42 Café" (remember, Bill Clinton was the nation's 42nd president) in the downstairs of the Library building.  Well-nourished, we went upstairs and finished our tour, including admiring a model of the White House table set for a formal dinner, and reviewing some of the more striking of First Lady Hillary Clinton's gowns.
After such a mental overload, we decided to enjoy some physical exercise.
Little Rock has a beautiful and very extensive system of hiking/biking trails.  This trail was connected to the plaza of the Clinton Center.  It uses an old railroad drawbridge for foot and bike traffic across the Arkansas River.  It was a lovely walk until preparations for the up-coming Memorial Day Riverfest re-directed us up to city streets.  We walked so far we decided to catch a ride back to where our truck was parked.
The River Trail Trolley line tours the downtown areas of Little Rock and North Little Rock, including the main tourist destinations, for 50 cents apiece for senior citizens.  What a bargain!