Clinton impeachment and the future

The crucial lesson of "Saturday's Vote" is not, as you assert, "that personal morality counts," but that hatred of the worst type has deeply permeated American political life ("Beyond Saturday's Vote," Dec. 21). The issue is not morality. It is obvious that President Clinton committed immoral acts. The methods used by his political enemies in Arkansas, in the GOP who, because of their dislike of the man, would not concede him political victory but sought to use Paula Jones to humiliate him in no way reflect morality.

The decision of a sanctimonious Supreme Court that the Paula Jones suit must go forward, totally ignoring the political circumstances of the suit and the overall interest of the nation, is not morality.

The methods and overzealousness of Kenneth Starr and his chief collaborator Linda Tripp, are nakedly immoral. The jubilant House Republicans who, ignoring public opinion and all probable cost to the nation, impeached Clinton in a frenzy of disdain, have proven by the behavior of their own leaders that they are not moral people.

The House Democrats who prescribed censure of Clinton in the toughest language in the name of fairness, justice, and the good of the nation but were arrogantly rebuffed by the House Republicans, are not immoral people.

Elite opinions like yours clearly show that the leaders of this nation are missing the lesson of this national tragedy. Clinton is not only a reflection of this generation of America. He is indeed its true product. We all, as a nation, are deeply implicated in his behavior and in the prevailing climate of hatred and unforgiving spirit. We need collective contrition and national healing. God help us.

F. Ugboaja Ohaegbulam

Tampa, Fla.

Department of Government

University of South Florida

You seem to imply that only a senatorial censure of the president will allow the prospect of presidential humility and reform. Those are always available to him, whether or not he stays in office.

When people show that they cannot function properly in a job, they lose it. When they cannot function properly in society, they go to prison. This does not remove from them the opportunity for reform or for making a contribution to some worthwhile purpose.

The same is true for our president. He will still have many opportunities to contribute. But by his continuing reliance on the exact parsing of words, he's demonstrating so clearly that he does not have the moral authority to govern this country. How can we trust anything he says now? As we say in the business world, when faced with a person who is not a good fit for the position he or she is in, they should "be given the opportunity to find success in another avenue of life."

Bruce Jeffrey

Kansas City, Mo.

The editorial provided thoughtful and balanced commentary on the impeachment vote. You correctly state that the impeachment process provides an opportunity for US society "to see through the delusion that morality is irrelevant, and thus set a steadier course for the nation."

The current crisis in the Clinton administration also provides an opportunity for the European Union (EU) to demonstrate a much-needed sense of leadership in world affairs. The EU has an important role to play in issues such as NATO enlargement, Bosnia, and the Middle East.

Cooperation between Britain and the US - so evident during the recent bombardment of Iraq - must be expanded to include all EU nations. A strong EU-US alliance must be forged in order to maintain peace and to counter the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime.

Alistair Budd

Elsah, Ill.

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