By Arun Kumar Shrivastav
This week, the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal turns 25. The 24-year-old White House intern who came from an affluent family in California found out President Bill Clinton claiming he did not have sexual relations with “this lady, Monica Lewinsky” in a televised White House press conference.
Later, he said the same thing under oath and was impeached for perjury, and escaped narrowly from losing his job as the US President. Lewinsky got into an immunity agreement with the prosecutors and revealed her side of the story. She stated that there were nine sexual encounters between her and President Clinton between November 1995 and March 1997. These encounters were fellatio and did not amount to sexual intercourse. President Clinton admitted these acts were performed “on him” and “not by him.” In later interviews, Lewinsky agreed that Clinton took advantage of her but the relationship was consensual.
Twenty-five years later, Monica Lewinsky recalled the incident in a January 19 tweet and shared 25 pieces of wisdom after surviving this scandal that changed her life forever though, in a piece in Vanity Fair.
First the tweet: “Celebrate. It’s the 25th anniversary of SURVIVOR’S DAY—the scariest + most traumatic day of my life – when I as stung by the fbi + learned of the starr investigation that would lead to bill Clinton’s impeachment. I was 24. THANK YOU to my family, friends, professionals, colleagues + people who supported me especially pre-2014.”
After the much-publicized impeachment proceedings in 1998 which made Monica Lewinsky a household name in a world dominated by a blame-the-woman mindset, she took up minor media assignments and chose never to talk about the scandal prominently. But, in 2014, she decided to take back the narrative through a Vanity Fair article titled “Shame and Survival.” It was to give a purpose to her past, she told as a 40-year-old woman. Later, Vanity Fair enlisted her as a contributor to its print and web publications. In her latest Vanity Fair list of 25 random wisdom pieces this month, she says, “If you can’t laugh at yourself, you are so fucked.”
Now, Lewinsky is 49 and her bio reveals that she is an activist and writer, with a Master’s degree in Psychology. She says, “Choose your friends carefully. Twenty-five years ago I had one of the world’s worst friends: Linda “Judas, hold my beer” Tripp. While I have since let go of the resentment and bitterness that surrounded her and her betrayal, it’s not lost on me how very fortunate I am to have been able to trust new people. My most emotionally intimate relationships are with my incredible friends. These are the investments most worth nurturing.”
Linda Tripp who died in April 2020 at the age of 70 from pancreatic cancer was a civil servant that Lewinsky met at the Pentagon where she was transferred after her seniors found that she was spending a lot of time with President Clinton during her White House internship. Lewinsky would tell Linda about her relationship with Clinton, who later began secretly and illegally recording the conversations. These recordings further strengthened the prosecutors’ arguments in the Clinton Vs Jones case.
It was during the hearing of this case in which a state employee Paula Jones had charged Clinton with sexual harassment when he was the Governor of Arkansas state that the name of Monica Lewinsky exploded on the scene. Tripp handed over the recordings of Lewinsky’s conversations with her to the prosecutors who were pursuing a civil lawsuit against Clinton which said he had a pattern of sexual harassment of government employees.
“Grief reigns in the kingdom of loss. I refer to not only the loss of a loved one but also the loss of hope, a dream, or love itself. It seems we don’t finish grieving, but merely finish for now; we process it in layers. One day (not today) I’m going to write a short story about a vending machine that serves up Just the Right Amount of Grief. You know, the perfect amount that you can handle in a moment to move along, but not so much that you’ll be caught in an undertow,” is another piece of wisdom from Lewinsky.
You can make the right decision and still have regret. Also, don’t judge your insides by other people’s outsides, she begins her random pieces of wisdom with. But what wins a place in the hearts of those who have followed her over the past 25 years is this: “One thing everyone has in common is that we have all made mistakes. It’s inevitable. Get comfortable with the Art of the Mistake.” (IPA Service)