The Impeachment of the President of the USA - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Inrepparttar hallways ofrepparttar 126061 Smithsonian, two moralists are debatingrepparttar 126062 impeachment ofrepparttar 126063 President ofrepparttar 126064 United States of America, Mr. William Jefferson Clinton. One is clearly Anti-Clinton (AC)repparttar 126065 other, a Democrat (DC), is not so much for him as he is forrepparttar 126066 rational and pragmatic application of moral principles.

AC (expectedly): “The President should be impeached”.

DC (no less expectedly) ; “But, surely, even you are not trying to imply that he has committed high crimes and misdemeanours, asrepparttar 126067 Constitution demands as grounds forrepparttar 126068 impeachment of a sitting President !”

AC : “But I do. Perjury is such a high crime because it underminesrepparttar 126069 very fabric of trust between fellow citizens and betweenrepparttar 126070 citizen andrepparttar 126071 system of justice,repparttar 126072 courts.”

DC : “A person is innocent until proven guilty. No sound proof of perjurious conduct on behalf ofrepparttar 126073 President has been provided as yet. Perjurious statements have to be deliberate and material. Even ifrepparttar 126074 President deliberately lied under oath – his lies were not material to a case, which was later dismissed onrepparttar 126075 grounds of a lack of legal merit. Legal hairsplitting and jousting are an integral part ofrepparttar 126076 defence in most court cases, civil and criminal. It is a legitimate – and legal – component of any legal battle, especially one involving interpretations, ambiguous terminology andrepparttar 126077 substantiation of intentions. The President should not be deniedrepparttar 126078 procedural and substantive rights available to allrepparttar 126079 other citizens of his country. Nor should he be subjected to a pre-judgment of his presumed guilt.”

AC : “This, precisely, is why an impeachment trial byrepparttar 126080 Senate is called for. It is only there thatrepparttar 126081 President can credibly and rigorously establish his innocence. All I am saying is that IFrepparttar 126082 President is found byrepparttar 126083 Senate to have committed perjury – he should be impeached. Wherever legal hairsplitting and jousting is permissible as a legal tactic – it should and will be made available torepparttar 126084 President. As torepparttar 126085 pre-judgment byrepparttar 126086 Press – I agree with you, there is no place for it but, then, in thisrepparttar 126087 President has been treated no differently than others. The pertinent fact is that perjury is a high misdemeanour, inrepparttar 126088 least, that is, an impeachable offence.”

DC : “It was clearly notrepparttar 126089 intention ofrepparttar 126090 Fathers of our Constitution to include perjury inrepparttar 126091 list of impeachable offences. Treason is more like it. Moreover, to say thatrepparttar 126092 President will receive a fair trial fromrepparttar 126093 hands of his peers inrepparttar 126094 Senate – is to lie. The Senate and its committees is a political body, heavily tilted, currently, againstrepparttar 126095 President. No justice can be had where politics rears its ugly head. Bias and prejudice will rule this mock trial.”

AC : “Man is a political animal, saidrepparttar 126096 Greek philosophers of antiquity. Where can you find an assembly of people free of politics ? What is this discourse that we are having if not a political one ? Is notrepparttar 126097 Supreme Court ofrepparttar 126098 land a politically appointed entity ? The Senate is no better and no worse, it is but a mirror, a reflection ofrepparttar 126099 combined will ofrepparttar 126100 people. Moreover, in pursuingrepparttar 126101 procedures of impeachment –repparttar 126102 Senate will have proved its non-political mettle in this case. The nation, in all opinion polls, wants this matter dropped. If it is not – it is a proof of foresight and civil courage, of leadership and refusal to succumb to passing fads.”

DC : “And what about my first argument – that perjury, even once proven, was not considered byrepparttar 126103 authors ofrepparttar 126104 Constitution to have been an impeachable offence ?”

AC : “The rules ofrepparttar 126105 land – evenrepparttar 126106 Constitution – are nothing but an agreement between those who subscribe to it and for as long as they do. It is a social contract, a pact. Men – evenrepparttar 126107 authors ofrepparttar 126108 Constitution - being mortal, relegatedrepparttar 126109 right to amend it and to interpret it to future generations. The Constitution is a vessel, each generation fills it as it sees fit. It is up to us to say what current meaning this document harbours. We are not to be constrained byrepparttar 126110 original intentions ofrepparttar 126111 authors. These intentions are meaningless as circumstances change. It is what we read intorepparttar 126112 Constitution that forms its specific contents. With changing mores and values and withrepparttar 126113 passage of events – each generation generates its own version of this otherwise immortal set of principles.”

DC : “I find it hard to accept that there is no limit to this creative deconstruction. Surely it is limited by common sense, confined to logic, subordinate to universal human principles. One can stretchrepparttar 126114 meanings of words only thus far. It takes a lot of legal hairsplitting to bring perjury – not proven yet – under one roof with treason.”

AC : “Let us ignorerepparttar 126115 legal issues and leave them to their professionals. Let us talk about what really bothers us all, including you, I hope and trust. This President has lied. He may have lied under oath, but he definitely lied on television and inrepparttar 126116 spacious rooms ofrepparttar 126117 White House. He lied to his family, to his aides, torepparttar 126118 nation, to Congress …”

DC : “For what purpose do you enumerate them ?”

AC : “Because it is one thing to lie to your family and another thing to lie to Congress. A lie told torepparttar 126119 nation, is of a different magnitude altogether. To lie to your closest aides and soi dissant confidantes – again is a separate matter …”

The Impeachment of the President of the USA - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin

AC : “Before I do, allow me just to repeat. To me, there is no moral difference between one lie and another. All lies are loathsome and lead, inrepparttar long run, to hell whateverrepparttar 126060 good intentions, which pavedrepparttar 126061 way there. As far as I am concerned, President Clinton is a condemned man on these grounds only. Butrepparttar 126062 lies one chooses andrepparttar 126063 victims he chooses to expose to his misbehaviour - reflect his personality, his inner world, what type of human being he is. It isrepparttar 126064 only allowance I make. All lies are prohibited as all murders are. But there are murders most foul and there are lies most abominable and obnoxious. What are we to learn aboutrepparttar 126065 President from his choice of arms and adversaries ? That he is a paranoid, a narcissist, lacks empathy, immature, unable to postpone his satisfactions, to plan ahead, to foreseerepparttar 126066 outcomes of his actions. He has a sense of special, unwarranted entitlement, he judges his environment andrepparttar 126067 world, at large, erroneously. In short : he is dangerously wrong forrepparttar 126068 job that he has acquired through deception.”

DC : “Through elections …”

AC : “Nay, through deception brought about by elections. He lied torepparttar 126069 American people about who he is and what he stands for. He did not frankly expose or discuss his weaknesses and limitations. He sold his voters on an invented, imaginary image,repparttar 126070 product of spin-doctors and opinion polls, which had no common denominator with reality. This is gross deception.”

DC : “But now thatrepparttar 126071 American people know everything – they still prefer him over others, approve of his performance and applaud his professional achievements…”

AC : “This isrepparttar 126072 power of incumbency. It wasrepparttar 126073 same with Nixon until one month before his resignation. Or, do you sanction his actions as well ?”

DC : “Frankly, I will compare President Clinton to President Andrew Johnson rather than to President Nixon. The shattering discovery about Nixon was that he was an uncommon criminal. The shattering discovery about Clinton is that he is human. Congress chastises him not for having done what he did – in this he has many illustrious precedents. No, he is accused of being indiscreet, of failing to hiderepparttar 126074 truth, to evaderepparttar 126075 facts. He is reproached for his lack of efficiency at concealment. He is criticized, therefore, both for being evasive and for not being sufficiently protective of his secrets. It is hard to win such a case, I tell you. It is also hypocritical inrepparttar 126076 extreme.”

AC : “Do you agree thatrepparttar 126077 President ofrepparttar 126078 United States is party to a contract withrepparttar 126079 American People ?”

DC : “Absolutely.”

AC : “Would you say that he is enjoined by this contract to upholdrepparttar 126080 dignity of his office ?’

DC ; “I think that most people would agree to this.”

AC : “And do you agree with me that fornicating inrepparttar 126081 White House would tend to diminish rather than uphold this dignity – and, therefore, constitute a violation of this contract ? That it shows utter disregard and disrespect torepparttar 126082 institutions of this country and to their standing ?”

DC : “I assume that you mean to say fornication in general, not only inrepparttar 126083 White House. To answer you, I must analyse this complex issue into its components. First, I assume that you agree with me that sex between consenting adults is almost always legally allowed and, depending onrepparttar 126084 circumstances andrepparttar 126085 culture, it is, usually, morally acceptable. The President's relationship with Miss Lewinsky did not involve sexual harassment or coercion and, therefore, was sex between consenting adults. Legally, there could be nothing against it. The problem, therefore, is cast in moral terms. Would you care to define it ?”

AC : “The President has engaged in sexual acts – some highly unusual -with a woman much younger than he, in a building belonging torepparttar 126086 American public and put at his disposal solely forrepparttar 126087 performance of his duties. Moreover, his acts constituted adultery, which is a morally reprehensible act. He acted secretly and tried to concealrepparttar 126088 facts using expressly illegal and immoral means – namely by lying.”

DC : “I tookrepparttar 126089 pains of noting down everything you said. You said thatrepparttar 126090 President has engaged in sexual acts and there can be no dispute between us that this does not constitute a problem. You said that some of them were highly unusual. This is a value judgement, so dependent on period and culture, that it is rendered meaningless by its derivative nature. What to one is repulsive is torepparttar 126091 other a delightful stimulus. Of course, this applies only to consenting adults and when life itself is not jeopardized. Then you mentionedrepparttar 126092 age disparity betweenrepparttar 126093 President and his liaison. This is sheer bigotry. I am inclined to think that this statement is motivated more by envy than by moral judgement …”

AC : “I beg to differ ! His advantages in both position and age do raiserepparttar 126094 spectre of exploitation, even of abuse ! He took advantage of her, capitalized on her lack of experience and innocence, used her as a sex slave, an object, there just to fulfil his desires and realize his fantasies.”

DC : “Then there is no meaning torepparttar 126095 word consent, nor torepparttar 126096 legal age of consent. The line must be drawn somewhere. The President did not make explicit promises and then did not own up to them. Expectations and anticipation can develop in total vacuum, in a manner unsubstantiated, not supported by any observable behaviour. It is an open question who was using who in this lurid tale – at least, who was hoping to use who. The President, naturally, had much more to offer to Miss Lewinsky than she could conceivably have offered to him. Qui bono is a useful guide in reality as well as in mystery books.”

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
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