Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pilgrimage of Hope

I went to Dallas for my cousin's wedding last weekend and on the way back stopped in Hope, AK. Since Bill Clinton is one of the Democrats I admire I decided to check it out before continuing on my journey up I-30 to Little Rock and the Clinton library.

First stop was the Visitor's Center in downtown Hope. It's the old railroad station which has been renovated since Bill stopped there during his 1992 campaign.
There's campaign memorabilia and a short 10 minute film you get to watch before setting off on the self guided tour through Hope. There's the birth home on S. Hervey Ave, the boyhood home on Walker and 6th streets, his old elementary school and the cemetary where his father William Jefferson Blythe is buried.

If you stop at any of the Clinton places where they spent time in Arkansas, you get a red passport to stamp. it has pages for Hope, Hot Springs, Little Rock and Fayetteville (when Bill and Hillary taught at the University of Arkansas)

I actually passed by the Hot Springs exit (where Bill spent his teen years and went to high school) but had already killed an hour in Hope and wanted to get to the library before it closed at 5 PM.

It's an amazing place. It's on the banks of the Arkansas River, has three levels and has the effect of a unfinished futuristic bridge to reflect the 'Bridge to the 21st Century' theme of the Clinton Presidency. There are mock ups of the Oval Office and cabinet rooms set up as they were during the Clinton presidency and lots of interactive exhibits. There was even a stort term exhibit on cowboys that included a crayon drawing from some kid named Billy Clinton of a scene from 'High Noon'

I also got to see Brother Bill during my visit. Salon Magazine was hosting an event there in which he was the featured speaker. The word spread quickly in the Library that he was here and me and the other library patrons hung around outside of it hoping that he'd come though after he finished speaking. The Secret Service had other ideas though. The Gift Shop is a short shuttle ride up the street.

It was also full of progressive Dems abolutely giddy aboout the results of last weeks election. Many of us talked about the good old days of the Clinton years and resolved on the spot to commit ourselves when we returned home to electing a Democratic president in 2008 that will restore that type of leadership.

Lord knows that it has sorely been lacking in the last six years.


Logo created by Barbi. Donkey clip art via MadLantern.com.