Americans have always had an aversion to intrusive Government. Most of the text of the Declaration of Independence is a recital of intrusive action, the specific abuses of power which compelled America's separation from the State of Great Britain. The Fathers justified a course, which they knew would be considered treason, on the rationale that previous intrusions by the British Government had constituted a violation of the sacred compact between the Governors and the Governed. Hence the old legality was null and void, and we were free to reconstitute our political societies, and allegiances.
In the present century, a large percentage of the population in most of these United States saw in Prohibition an egregious intrusion into the daily lives and customs of our peoples. It did not even matter that it had been premised on a Constitutional Amendment, duly ratified by three fourths of the States. It was viewed as an arrogant abuse of power; and men and women who had been law abiding citizens all of their lives, openly defied the enabling Legislation, enacted by a Prohibitionist Congress.
One could cite other, more or less controversial, examples from the history of our peoples; but the point is obvious. Law enforcement and the respect for law must always be viewed in context. Chanting slogans can never prove a substitute for the contextual reality.
We agree that President Clinton deserves to be Impeached. We do not agree that he deserved to be impeached because he tried to cover up his involvement with Monica Lewinsky. We believe that a Republican rush to remove the President for the wrong reason, could do long lasting damage to our ability to attract reasoning men and women to a cause which is a lot bigger than Bill Clinton or Ken Starr. The House Leadership have witlessly given the "Liberals" an issue, which they will use for the next generation to misrepresent what Conservatism in general, and Republican Conservatism in particular, is all about!
The President, without question, has abused power. He abused it at Waco; he abused it in Haiti. He has abused it almost to the point of treason in actions which have dramatically increased the military potential of the Red Chinese. He has totally trashed every traditional concept of the functional duty of the Presidency, by undermining morale and efficiency in the U.S. Armed Forces, in order to facilitate an asexual Left Wing agenda.
There is no articulable legal justification for using the position as Commander In Chief in order to further any non military agenda. The Constitutional duty of the Commander In Chief is patently functional; that function, clearly, to provide for the Common Defence of the several States. That demands the highest standard of military excellence. It can have nothing to do with any Feminist or Homosexual agenda, or with correcting any conceived wrong in civilian society. (One can imagine the frenzied outrage on the Left, had Reagan established a protocol for promoting officers based upon an intention to later enter politics as Conservatives!) Yet few Republicans in Washington will even speak out against what Clinton has been doing with the Military: Decision after decision, dictated by a social ideology, never a military necessity or propriety.
The President's entire domestic initiative has been an assault upon the Constitution--a violation of his oath of office!
But, whether from confusion or a lack of courage, the Congressional Republicans have been attacking the President, not for actions which smack of the usurpation of power--for which they could clearly impeach him--but for trying to ward off an assault on his own privacy!! In doing so, they have put themselves out of step with the American antipathy to intrusive Government. Indeed, the issue over the consummation of Miss Lewinsky's crush on the President, is not about sex. NOR is it about "perjury," "lying under oath," or "obstruction of justice!" To most of us, it is about intrusive Government! That is how it is seen overseas. That is how historians of the future will record it.
Granted that the President's approach to Paula Jones--if as reported--was so crude as to be a Continental embarrassment. It is ludicrous to claim that it raises any Federal issue. Disagree? Read the Constitution--including the Amendments, and tell us what you think applies!
We realize that many Conservatives feel that Clinton is 'hoist with his own petard,' in that as an advocate of a Federal role in so called 'sexual harassment,' he is caught up in his own mischief. But two wrongs do not make a right, nor two imbecilities an argument. And however poetic, neither the President's conduct, nor his own intrusive agenda, can justify the Constitutional travesty that we have witnessed. Even if Paula Jones were a convent raised virgin, who had never before seen the parts of a man; there is no Federal issue in her loss of innocence. None! And Ken Starr's preoccupation with seeing her obtain "Justice," was itself an abuse of his position as a Prosecutor--in its own way, as obscene as the President's reported approach to Paula Jones.
We do not question Mr. Starr's integrity; we certainly question the President's. We must certainly question Mr. Starr's judgment. Hounding the participants in a wholly voluntary dalliance, was scarcely even arguably relevant to the question of whether Clinton had earlier abused the innocence of Paula Jones. And Mr. Starr repeatedly asked questions, which no one should be forced to answer.
Granted, of course, the President handled the matter very, very badly. The man is every bit the clod and scalawag, my Southern friends complain of. No gentleman would ever hold a press conference to discuss his private sexual conduct. To do so is to compromise the reputation of any woman involved. And that no man should ever do! But nothing in the gaucherie of the President can justify the responsive gaucherie in the office of the Independent Counsel in hounding a young woman in order to humiliate either her or her lover. Perceiving the President to have been the victim of a "witchhunt," most people have been willing to forgive his poor judgment in response.
One further note on the absurdity of the spectacle that has dominated American news for almost 12 months: Many of the most prominent and heroic figures in the Old Testament, as many of the most honored statesmen of European history, had concubines and mistresses. Oliver Cromwell, that pillar of English Puritanism, took Camp Followers with his army into Ireland. (I do not believe that anyone checked to determine whether or not their patrons were married. The Biblical definition of adultery, then as now, was sex with the wife of another.)
Ruth, perhaps the most virtuous woman in the Old Testament, won Boaz by sleeping at his feet, so that he might see her when he first awoke (free from concern and hence more susceptible to seductive beauty). At the time, Ruth and her mother-in-law were completely dependent upon Boaz' business practices. If there is a moral issue in an employer having a relationship with an employee, because of some theory of economic dependence (and what a really silly idea that is, because of all the basic values it can never comprehend), what was the relationship of Ruth and Boaz; the union from which sprang the House of David, from Boaz to Joseph of Nazareth and beyond?
The greatest sin, then as now, was in the profanation of privacy. The curse placed on Ham in Genesis was because he discussed his father's nakedness and indiscretion, rather than cover him. Jerry Springer and Larry Flynt do not define the public taste or the public morality of America. Nor do Ken Starr and the House of Representatives.
Since 1770, Americans have always focused on the intrusive aspect, never the statutory technicalities, whenever they perceived that Government had gone too far. It was the same at the Boston Tea Party; the same at the Declaration of Independence; the same in the days of Prohibition.
It is no mystery why the polls have turned against the Republicans on the Monica Lewinsky affair. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Economy; and the fact that prominent Republicans still claim that it does, can only demonstrate how far indeed they are out of step with basic human nature. They will not turn those polls around by endlessly repeating words that the rest of humanity tuned out last spring. "PERJURY, LYING UNDER OATH AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE," continuously repeated, might make good "Rap." They do not really apply when the "perjurer" was hounded beyond reason, over matters which for centuries have been considered purely private.
With all the material, which any partisan might ever desire, the House Republicans have picked the one issue where Clinton is the Defendant, not the INTRUDER, in a case of overreaching Authority. Our Conservative base may be a very long time, indeed, in undoing the damage which fools and politicians have done to our cause. In thus losing their way, the House Republicans are in danger of turning a scoundrel into a folk hero!
In the name of history and reason, enough is enough!! With a New Year, let them find both purpose and understanding.