Blast From the Past: Bring a Suitcase Full of Money

I saw an Facebook friend repost a prophetic piece relating a 2001 prophecy to this election.  The following isn’t exactly prophetic, but it dates from February 1999, when this site wasn’t even two years old.  It was written in the wake of Bill Clinton’s unsuccessful impeachment.

The impeachment trial is over with.  The current occupant of the White House gets to stay a little longer.  Most everyone is thrilled at this result, if you believe the media and the polls.  Somehow the Constitution has been preserved, even though either result would have been constitutional.

Most people have concentrated on the fact that the whole matter centered around a sexual scandal.  This is true of both sides of the debate; many Christians and conservatives are shocked that the President defiled the Oval Office in the way he did, and liberals can’t believe that anyone in this day and time would object to this kind of behavior.  It seems that the latter have done their propaganda well; they (through their colleagues in the media) have succeeded in making this trial about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky rather than what it was really about.

And just what, you ask, was it about if not that?  Well, at no point in the entire process, whether we look at the Special Prosecutor’s work or that of the Congress, was the legal status of the President’s having an affair with an intern or anyone else called into question.  What was called into question was his conduct in legal proceedings subsequent to that affair, both in terms of perjury and obstruction of justice.

There’s enough of the Sixties radical left in me to want him to be ejected from office just because of his refusal to be honest about his true feelings about a relationship, especially since he himself is the embodiment of much of what the Sixties were all about (his wife covers the rest.)  Unfortunately his honesty would have ended up costing him money in a sexual harassment lawsuit, something neither he nor his lawyers could stand.  So he attempted to cover himself in the usual manner.  This didn’t work out according to plan either and so we have the ordeal we have just been through.  He ended up paying the money to Paula Jones and we ended up with the impeachment process.

People who object to the whole process based on its roots in a sexual relationship should consider the following:

  1. Sexual harassment lawsuits are by their nature intrusive, messy affairs involving people’s most intimate activities.  This fact didn’t deter Congress (or the feminists who pushed them) into passing sexual harassment legislation.
  2. Our legal system depends on the honesty and availability of the parties involved; this honesty is enforced by perjury and subpoena laws.  If this is breached most litigation — especially civil — will turn into an unresolved black hole.  This is in fact what took place with the investigations on campaign finance violations in the 1996 election; this is why that really serious issue never made it to the impeachment proceedings.
  3. A legal system that has any fairness associated with it must proceed according to its own rules; if parties in litigation interfere with these, it’s obstruction of justice, and the system becomes unfair.
  4. Both (2) and (3) either apply to any kind of litigation or they apply to none.  If they don’t then the Congress has two choices: they should repeal legislation that has gone out of fashion to avoid problems like this for all of us (and not just some of us) or they should take the opportunity presented to demonstrate that they mean business about the integrity of our legal system.

As it stands we have the worst of both worlds.  On the one hand we have a Congress that goes on passing mind-numbingly complex and intrusive (in many ways, not just sexual) legislation; on the other we see them letting certain people off of the hook for political expedience. Representatives and Senators who participate in this “amnesty” overlook the fact that legislation is the only real way the Congress has to enforce its will on the government and the people.  When legislation becomes ineffective, so does Congress.  They might as well do like the old Supreme Soviet did: meet, rubber stamp anything the executive or “the party” puts in front of them, and go home.

Is this what our President wants?  To some extent it is, because this kind of political environment is exactly what he had in Arkansas, a state with a long history of one party, interest driven politics where a relatively small number of people work the system to their own advantage and the rest drift along in varying degrees of poverty.  The President’s sycophants in the media — who have done yeoman’s service on his behalf from Gennifer Flowers onward — may not think that this is a problem, but they only need look at the history of what used to be called the “Land of Opportunity” to see how this really works.

Moreover many of the powerful in this country — especially in the media and entertainment business — are taking a fresh look at the relationship between themselves and their government.  Why constantly fight something you can control?  In the early years of our country we turned our back on this kind of oligarchy, which is normal in most places, for a system where a broad base of people had a chance to make a difference for themselves.  The key to making this a reality is a universal respect for laws and a judicial system with basic integrity.  If we start putting people above laws on a routine basis our country will lose much of the “bottom-up” dynamic that has made it great, and really its reason to exist.  Liberals especially need to think this out because their entire agenda, from environmentalism to civil rights and, yes, sexual harassment have largely been implemented by enacting and enforcing laws.  Are they really thinking clearly now?  Or are they so cocky of their ability to control the system and manipulate public opinion that they figure they can advance their agenda through the fiat of loyal bureaucrats and elected officials?

In his fascinating book The Seduction of Hillary Rodham, David Brock tells us that “If Hillary could have her way, she would establish here exactly the sort of cradle-to-grave nanny state that exists in Denmark or Sweden.”  What her husband has gone a long way to bringing here comes from a little further east — a state such as Russia, where real power and influence is not based on legal standing but on the amount of money — and firepower — you have at your disposal.  Under these conditions everyone loses, especially those who lack the resources — the poor and middle class — or those whose conscience won’t allow them to fully participate in such a system.

In this new world we won’t bring a lawyer to critical proceedings, just a suitcase full of money.  (Maybe we’ll still bring the lawyer along to carry the suitcase.)  With the new 500 Euro note, this job will be simpler.  But our country will be much the poorer for the bargain.  Maybe then we will have a greater appreciation for the morality so many  disparage today in the name of “tolerance,” but by then it will be too late.

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