Former President Bill Clinton visited St. John yesterday. And you know what? It was a pretty big deal to me and to a lot of people who live here on St. John. Love him or hate him, love or hate his wife, Democrat, Republican or Liberal… It honestly doesn’t matter in my opinion. Having a former president visit a tiny, 20-square-mile island in the middle of the Caribbean is a big deal. Especially when it’s an island that was hit by not one, but two catastrophic hurricanes just five months ago…
I finished up an island tour yesterday afternoon and immediately walked over to Quiet Mon, so I could catch a glimpse of Mr. Clinton after he concluded a meeting across the street at JESS School. It was super exciting to see a former president walk out of our partially hurricane-ravaged school and hop into a nearby car. He waved to us all as he passed by, and we jokingly yelled over the balcony, inviting him up to have a beer with us. Needless to say, he didn’t join us. But it would have been so cool if he did!!
A few minutes later, I wandered over to High Tide to take some pics for this morning’s story. As I was sitting at the bar, I noticed a commotion at the ferry dock. I walked over and saw Mr. Clinton greeting locals and tourists alike, shaking hands and snapping pics with several. It was such a lovely moment of hope.
And then social media came into play….
I snapped a photo of Mr. Clinton as he drove past Quiet Mon and posted it to News of St. John’s Facebook page. Knowing that I have readers of all backgrounds and with varying political viewpoints, I asked that people be kind and refrain from political talk. It’s like what many of our parents taught us – if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Well sadly, many people chose not to listen.
Almost immediately, I saw so much online hate going back and forth on News of St. John’s Facebook page, as well as several other St. John-related pages, I was pretty disheartened.
The Facebook post wasn’t about Bill Clinton as a person. It wasn’t about Hilary Clinton. It wasn’t about President Trump. It wasn’t about the Clintons’ relationship with Haiti. It wasn’t about Mr. Clinton’s friends or associates. It was about the fact that a living president decided to come to our aid. It was about how he donated four shipping containers filled with supplies to our hospital on St. Thomas. It was about how he took the time to hold a roundtable meeting with several members of our community. It was about a man who came here with the sole intention of helping us.
Back on September 7th, so many people pleaded for help on our behalves after learning about Irma’s destruction. Yet five months later, some of those same people denounced a man who wanted to help. It was truly unfortunate.
I honestly do not know the purpose of this post other than to say that the hate really saddened me. It’s sad that I found it easier to simply delete the post, rather than have to babysit the comments section to ensure that hate did not occur on my watch.
St. John is nicknamed Love City, yet I didn’t see a lot of love yesterday. If you are reading this site or following us on Facebook, it means that we all have one thing in common – we all love St. John. So let’s please put all of our differences aside and continue to keep the love in Love City.