Bill Clinton's Morality

by Bob Wilson

Morality is a human concept that doubtlessly evolves in some ways over time, and yet many would say that the basic precepts remain constant. What is a moral act to some, might seem amoral or immoral to others. Examples: Dr. Kavorkian. Abortion. Homosexuality. Politicians are not a class of people that come to mind when high precepts of morality are mentioned. By their very nature, politicians seem to have become the antithesis of moral people. They seem to pander for votes, and waffle on tough issues. A politician who dares to assert strong beliefs is more often than not, considered "extreme." Politicians tend to become weather vanes. Bill Clinton is a master politician.

To me, a moral person is someone who is honest and consistent. A moral person is one whose viewpoints track with some kind of basic philosophical creed. Having core beliefs which are based in a fundamental assumption that your beliefs are worthwhile and result in the advancement of the human condition is part of what I call "morality." It is perfectly reasonable to be liberal, or conservative, and still lay proper claim to some degree of morality. Morality does not require a belief in God. Religion, indeed, when viewed in a historical perspective, seems to have no corner on the term morality. Religions may tend to give structure and substance for those who search for a "moral anchor" but for too many, religion becomes a control mechanism and ultimately, a perversion. Morality does require that whatever underlying principles and philosophy one has, is displayed in every day action. Mother Teresa seems to be a "moral" person. Many other religious figures are somewhat dubious, by virtue of their lifestyle. Acting in harmony with basic principles over time, whether it brings favor or not with other people, commands respect. Being able to accept the attacks of others while maintaining one's belief system, and being capable of resisting the tendency to compromise one's core beliefs to effect gain in status, favor, or money is a primary tenant to "morality" in my opinion. Accepting others in their sincere beliefs, and the ability to change when change is indicated through the reasoning process or the attainment of knowledge is not contradictory to morality. Not intentionally inflicting harm on other people who are not threatening you, is consistent with morality. Being consistently honest and truthful is certainly moral.

Morality is defined differently by many people. I believe that the majority of American people would have a difficult time defining morality. Most would get hung up with religion and God. In so doing, all objectivity is lost. Jewish-Christian concepts tend to equate God with morality. It involves the concept that humans, being imperfect, have a lot of excuses to not be moral--at times, and when it becomes convenient, a request of forgiveness and heartfelt request for salvation will make everything better, and "morality" is reinstated. What a great system. It really favors despots though.

To comment on the morality of another individual, you must equivocate. Certainly, no one could be accused of total immorality (much less total morality.) A sliding scale, or judgmental "graph" of relative morality could be assigned to most any person. Is Bill Clinton a "moral" person? Relative to what? By what measure? According to whose values?

If you measure him against his predecessors in the office of the presidency, you might easily build a case that he is the least moral in post World War 2 history. If you judge a person by his close associates, a rather easy conclusion is that he is without morals. You could compare indictments, improper appropriation of files, special prosecutors, bimbo eruptions, real estate/bank fraud, deaths under suspicious circumstances, scandals involving close associates, his wife, drug tests of staff members, prostitutes and top aids, and so on. All these things should be taken in the context with the fact that he has the entire mainstream press in his camp. What events would be on the nightly news if he were a "contract Republican?" Remember the entire Watergate "scandal" was over speculation that Nixon became aware that there had occurred a break in at a Democrat headquarters office by some low level political operatives intent on getting files, and dirt on the Dems. Nixon's crime was that he allegedly "covered up" the fact that he became aware. The news media went on a total feeding frenzy. Every day there were "interruptions to regularly scheduled broadcasts" and special news bulletins with grim faced talking heads speculating on the president, and whether he was "lying." For weeks on end, the entire scheduled nightly news, other than the stock quotes, were devoted to Watergate. Print media was similarly inclined. Now, we see the media minimizing, and apologizing for the president. (What files? Why, he says no one even looked at them. We don't know how Hillary's fingerprints got there.) By contrast with the past four years, Nixon was Mother Teresa.

In view of the acceptance of Mr. Clinton, as indicated by his popularity polls, one wonders if morality is a concept many Americans understand or care about. If the polls prove accurate, and we will find out in November, then the term has a totally new meaning. We will also know that there are more fleas than there are dogs.