What Bill Clinton Could Tell Congress

(If he were prepared to tell the truth)

By Hans Wierenga wierenga@dceconsultants.com

This is a historic moment. For the first time this century, our country finds itself on the brink of an impeachment process that seems set to be fought out to the finish. The choices you - the members of Congress - make in this process are of the utmost importance for America. Congress holds the future of our country in its hands. Your decisions in the coming months and perhaps years will affect the destiny of this country; they will shape it for generations to come. They will determine what kind of country we live in, for long after I and whoever follows me in this high office have ceased to occupy center stage.

You have at long last taken the necessary steps to initiate impeachment, with this set of post-election hearings. I say "at long last" because the constitutional order of things has been reversed. The constitution made you - Congress - to be the judge of the president, and the American people to be the judge of Congress. And that's the way it should be: courts are appointed to pass judgment, and they must afterwards be prepared to justify their decisions to the people. Afterwards, not before. A court cannot pass on its responsibility to anyone else, it cannot test the waters to see whether its decisions will be accepted. No, it must have the courage to make its own judgment, and then face the music. We expect our courts of law to show moral leadership.

But that's not the way things have happened in this case. First, the majority of you have tried to make the American people to be the judges. You passed on every little bit of information, every shameful, sordid and boring detail, in the hope that that the people would pass judgment for you and that you could hide behind them. That's behavior that we wouldn't condone in any other court of law. Judges shouldn't pass the buck in any way whatever. It was only when the American people quite rightly refused to let you pass the buck on to them, that you had no way out but to start the proceedings. Since then the American people have made it absolutely clear that they want no part of this, but then it was too late to stop.

When I look at the way you have handled it, I can't help but be reminded of the biblical story of when Noah got drunk. The story goes like this: Noah, after having survived the flood, planted a vineyard, made some wine, drank too much of it, and lay dead drunk and naked in his tent. Ham, his son, saw him that way, and went out and told everybody how terribly his father was behaving. He gloated about his father's disgrace. Noah's other sons, Shem and Japheth, when they heard it, walked into the tent backwards, so as not to witness their father's shame, and they covered him gently with a cloak.

Maybe Ham told himself that he was doing the right thing in telling everybody. Why not: Noah was the most powerful man in the world at that time, and his behavior was absolutely disgusting. He wasn't fit to be in charge of others, so it was a good thing to expose him. That's probably what Ham told himself. Possibly Ham thought he was showing himself to be a moral leader by exposing his father's shame. Yet the bible makes it absolutely clear that he was wrong. Ham deceived himself. Deep down he hated his father, and was glad to see him fall. But Ham's hate had a terrible price, as hate always has had and always will have. What Ham did to his father, his own son Canaan did to him, and Canaan's descendants did for generation upon generation afterwards. If you read the story in the ninth chapter of the book of Genesis carefully, you will read that Canaan - yes, Canaan and not Ham, as the racists would have you believe - was cursed as a result of this miserable episode. The descendants of Canaan descended into lawlessness, until their evil became so great that they were utterly destroyed.

My opponents in this house have, just like Ham, convinced themselves that what they are doing in exposing my shame is absolutely right. And deep down, the motivation is the same, otherwise they would be treating me with decency and dignity. That doesn't mean that they should condone my behavior - I'm not asking anybody to do that - but just that the same rules should apply to me as to anyone else. Instead, they have gloated over my misdeeds, and done their utmost to publish as much dirt as possible, to order to maximize the resulting political damage. In doing so, they have demonstrated that they are so glad to see me fall that nothing else matters.

It doesn't matter to them that they exposed American children to sexually explicit material, just in order to avoid their own responsibilities.

They don't seem to care that America's international reputation hit its lowest point since the McCarthy era. Ask anyone who has traveled abroad recently how often they were asked: "How can you do this to your president?".

They don't care that the machinery of government slowly ground to a halt because of an undue fixation on this single issue. It doesn't matter if peace in the Middle East became more difficult to achieve, or South American economies threatened to nose-dive, or anything like that.

They don't care if the uncertainty that all this has engendered wiped trillions of dollars off the hard-earned savings of ordinary Americans. They wouldn't even care if our economy went into a recession and put millions of honest people out of work.

They don't even care whether they are guilty of much worse things themselves. The most conservative estimate is that fully a quarter of all those members of Congress who have been seeking my downfall are themselves guilty of adultery and of lying about it. It doesn't even matter to them that the chairman of the Justice committee has himself over a long period of time been guilty of adultery. Not only that, by his persistent adultery he tore apart a family with young children. And when he confessed it, all he said was that his wife put a stop to it, as if it was OK as long as his wife forgave him. What the other woman and the children thought about it doesn't seem to matter. Do these people know what its like to grow up in a broken home? Do they even care? Let me tell you, I do know what its like to grow up in a broken home, and I do care, and it makes my blood boil just to think about it.

I'm not asking you to believe this because I say so. No! All of what I have just said is public knowledge.

It does not matter to my opponents that they are misusing constitutional means to achieve unconstitutional ends. They have tried to depose a president - a president elected, re-elected and still solidly supported by the people - for acts which the framers of the constitution did not consider impeachable.

Let me be clear on this: no American president can give in to such behavior, ever! It is the sworn duty of each and every president to uphold the Constitution. And uphold it I shall!

Your decisions in these proceedings will determine the future of this great country of ours. The question is: are you going to act like Ham, or are you going to show yourself to be people of real principle? Are you going to listen to what the American people have been telling you all along, namely that your attempts to turn this impeachment into a partisan smear campaign are basically dishonest? I call on you to publicly disassociate yourselves from the partisan excesses that have marred this impeachment process and brought shame upon our nation. No decisions you are likely to make in the coming years will be as important as this one. Thank you!

Hans Wierenga is an IT consultant in Holland.