The Coastal Post - September, 1998

The Inappropriate President

By Frank Scott

While Clinton's grand jury and public statements twisted logic and soiled any sense of morality, the nation settled into political drift and economic drag. Manic-depressive market behavior of unexplainable highs and lows was balanced by dysfunctional political behavior of near schizophrenic nature.

The reckless, irresponsible dishonesty of this president has left the nation, for all intents and purpose, without a chief executive. Beyond formal performance, with photo ops and empty words to inspire minds emptied of substance, the U.S. has been and will seemingly remain on rather bumpy cruise control for the near future.

A terror bombing in Africa briefly interrupted the breathless media stake out of a story a tired public can be forgiven its short attention span. But the twisted morality of the inappropriate president is the same as that which rationalizes war. The slaughter in Kenya and Tanzania caused an ambassador to ask "what does this prove?" But she needed to ask further, what does any slaughter of innocents prove, even when done as an act of government, instead of terrorists.

The people murdered, whether in Oklahoma, Dresden, Kenya, Palestine or Hiroshima, are mostly innocent citizens caught in wars acted out with their bodies, but without their real consent. The problem is a double standard that accepts mass slaughter when performed by a uniformed military, but calls it savagery when performed by clandestine actors without state portfolio. It is the same double standard that forgives a disgraceful behavior problem in a president by assuming that boys will be boys, or that a temptress led him on, or that it is simply a private indiscretion and none of our business.

Moral hypocrisy is the real story , even beyond semen stains in Washington or blood stains in Africa. If we can think lightly of a president who indulges in sex with a groupie at the white house, and lies about it to the entire world for seven months, how can we criticize a boss who gropes his secretary ? Or a teacher who treats a student as a sex toy? The fact that so many can either excuse Clinton's behavior as private practice, or deem it typically male and nothing to be upset over, is the fact that we can teach that killing is wrong, except when it is right.

The rationale of some apologists for German behavior towards Jews in the second world war was that Jews had been persecuted by other people, so why make a big thing of the Germans? This is not to equate the act of sex with an intern to the act of mass murder, but to connect perverse moral standards that rationalize the actions. If a standard is acceptable in one area, why should it not be in another ? The principle is to have no moral principles, except for convenience that says: if you do it, it is wrong, but if I do it, it's right. Or, it's wrong, but everybody else does it, so what's the big deal?

Children question this hypocrisy; it is adults who are conditioned to accept it. Our politics, our economy and our environment should make it clear that this warped morality is destroying us.

The global economy and the national stock market are both acting in accordance with our twisted moral code . Investing is good, even if what is being invested in is bad: weapons and waste, instead of housing and health? Money talks, morality walks. Except when we choose to claim it matters, relative to perverse notions of family values, biblical truth or dogmatic superstition.

Americans can be forgiven clinging to their damaged president, given his opposition, often thriving on its hatred of abortion and homosexuality. But the choice of lesser evil guarantees evil. Is it any wonder that voter turnout in 1996 was the lowest since such figures have been compiled?

Clinton's forced explanation offered nothing but self-serving propaganda and legal sleight of mouth .His thoughtless conduct was disgraceful, but worse is that the only criticism, until his arrogant speech, came from the opposition. The Clinton acolytes and apologists are shamed twice: Once for accepting the lies, and again for rationalizing them even after revelation.

He acted without conscience in taking so many with him on his dishonest seven month campaign. Many in what has become a Theme Park for Hypocrisy may not even blush at having insisted that everyone but the president was lying, and having the facts reveal the opposite. But some are crushed, and for that, Clinton should be ashamed. Despite what any polls will show, his family will need all the strength that it has displayed in the past ,and more.

Those disillusioned by all this should remember that democracy is not about hero worship. It demands informed, critically thinking people. It can only be hoped that they will grow in consciousness, and not be reduced to cynicism. Idealism is necessary, but naiveté can be a curse. And a weakened presidency, a pattern since the days of the imperial office, may help people to assume responsibility closer to home. Power should move from our house to the white house, not the reverse.

It is time to concentrate on other issues, but not because this one isn't serious. The personalizing and demonizing should not hide the systemic problem, an outcome of an inherently dishonest, immoral and murderous mode of political economics. It rewards and condones dishonesty, treachery and murder, if performed by the right people.

The inappropriate president should step down, if he has any conscience. We should change the inappropriate system , if we have any sense. The second is more important than the first.

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