Saturday, Dec 19, 1998
Zealots, Hypocrites, and Naives
Barry D. Bowen
On Saturday December 19th, 1998, the U.S. House of Representativesculminated its headlong rush over the impeachment precipice. Thisgrossly unfair partisan process was driven by zealots, aided byhypocrites, and blindly followed by naives.
The president, by publicly and repeatedly denying his personalpeccadilloes, disgraced himself and embarrassed his family. HouseRepublicans, by assuming non-existent evidence, ignoring contraryevidence, and refusing to ensure even the pretense of fairnessanywhere but in its press releases, disgraced themselves, denouncedthe people's will, and trampled upon the constitutional standards forimpeachment.
Which was the greater transgression? No Contest!
In a press interview following the White House press conference,minority House leader Dick Gephart noted, "Politics is a substitutefor violence." He explained that what we have today is coming rightup to the threshold of violence. "When you have this back and forthof character smears people may begin to go beyond politics", he said,and look to violence.
This is the first time I've heard a national political figure echomy assertion that we have seen the first step toward a US "Belfast",where political enemies are not fit to live. We already see thisattitude is some local commentators in Whatcom County. This is gravenational tragedy.
I said at the top that this process was driven by zealots,hypocrites, and naives. The zealots cannot help themselves. It isfolly to put our hope in the hands of naives. That leaves theAmerican people with little to trust in Republican leadership.
Republican zealots argue this is all about trust. Well theAmerican people know one thing for sure, they cannot trust HouseRepublicans to respect the clear will of the people. It is also clearto most that the GOP trampled upon the constitutional standard ofimpeachment in its lynch mob commitment to get a president theyhate.
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