Will Senate Democrats Save Their Party?
To be sure, the spectacle we are watching is a first for America. On one side, we have - mostly Republican - lawmakers desperately trying to figure out the right thing to do. On the other side, we have forces with one thing on their mind: to prolong the reign of President and Mrs. Clinton, no matter what. For the most part, they call themselves Democrats.
The former are looking to the law for guidance; the latter are looking to manipulate and twist the law to accomplish their agenda.
Before you protest, consider this: the former have been saying much the same, day in day out, for the past year. The latter say something different every hour on the hour. They will say anything to accomplish the agenda - anything, and its opposite.
Lying is an abhorrent deed. Lying is an abhorrent word. One should avoid using abhorrent words, except when they are unavoidable.
But when you see and hear the White House press secretary, a United States senator, and a law professor from Harvard reciting identical words, your attention is engaged. After a while you think someone had replaced their brains with prerecorded tapes, and all the tapes contain the identical series of lies.
There is no other word.
Can a different word be employed when members of Congress, legal experts, and distinguished academics routinely recite the White House talking points "du jour" as their own opinion? And, worse still, how are we to interpret the phenomenon of these same people routinely quoting passages from the U.S. Constitution which simply do not exist?
Professor Alan Dershowitz, for example, has been especially creative. Almost every day, he comes up with different language from the Constitution, none of which is to be found in the standard text. He masquerades as a scholar which, I am certain, he used to be.
Senator Robert G. Torricelli (D-NJ), for example, had no qualms about announcing his verdict on the Articles of Impeachment on Meet the Press - four days before he was to take an oath upon being an impartial juror. While he is patently a mouthpiece for the Executive Branch of the government, he masquerades as an honest legislator - which, I am certain, he used to be.
And, always, there is James Carville, smearing the dead and the living, spreading filth and inciting hatred. He represents the flank of this enterprise that promises to take apart America stitch by stitch if necessary, to preserve their masters' reign. He masquerades as a human being which, I am certain, he used to be.
The damage must be contemplated in terms of our basic political system that requires two healthy political parties of roughly equal strength, of equal loyalty to America and its basic principles, and with clear differences in the application of those principles.
America used to have two such political parties. And the U.S. Senate, acting as a body, may yet persuade us that it still does. For the past year, however, the television screen has shown otherwise. Notably, during the debate in the House Judiciary Committee, and again on the floor of the House of Representatives, Democrat after Democrat stood to give evidence of being merely a foot soldier in the president's phalanx. They betrayed not only America's principles - among them the separation of powers - but the very foundation of human interaction in this land: to speak the truth.
Much speculation surrounds the matter (rather prematurely) of how history might view this presidency. Right now, my overwhelming impression is that it corrupts everything and everyone who comes in contact with it. The number of prominent, decent and respected Americans who have publicly abandoned truth, decency and integrity represents a tragedy for the world yet to be assessed accurately.
I speak of the world, not just America, for the decency and integrity of America and Americans has been the safeguard of the world in this last century of the millennium. What an accomplishment it is to have rules of impeachment on a shelf, ready to be dusted off at a time of need - rules that have been sitting there since the trials of Andrew Johnson in 1868. In that year, 1868, three quarters(!) of the nations now comprising the membership of the U.N. simply did not exist. Those that did not exist include the obvious ones - from Armenia to Zaire - but also Germany and Italy: neither became a nation state before 1871.
Yet even the ones that did exist in 1868, for the most part, have experienced war, revolution, foreign occupation, and bloodshed as governments fell and new ones rose. The law had to be remade every time - one short-term fix replaced by another.
Would that the silver lining of the dark clouds now over America come as renewed gratitude for our unique riches. Would that the 1960's generation discover history, which they had so carelessly tossed out the window. Would that the Democratic Party take its cue once again from its venerable elders for whom America remains sacred, and who speak the truth.
Would that Democrats cease turning the Bill of Rights into the Rites of Bill.