- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 1, 2000

Why is America singing singing 'Hail to the chief adulterer'?

In a recent CNN/USA Today/ Gallup poll, Americans chose President Clinton as the most admired, followed at a distance by the Rev. Billy Graham and Pope John Paul II (Poll Watch, Dec. 19). Needless to say, the selection strikes me as odd.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;I am no bastion of knowledge concerning moral values, nor do I profess to be. But I think I am amply qualified to speak on what I most admire in a person.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Adultery. When I think of Mr. Clinton, I automatically associate him with that word.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;The pre-eminence placed upon religious dogma and metaphysical reasoning has been supplanted in the past three centuries by an emphasis upon the individual. I cannot believe, however, that morality has morphed into a slide rule, applicable more to some and less to others.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Mr. Clinton committed adultery with a government intern, he unflinchingly lied to the public when questioned about the affair and he confessed his behavior only when there was no shadow of a doubt that the affair would be made public. These are the facts of the situation; the relationship was real, not a myth.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;That people should be so willing to brush it under the rug is astounding, and in many respects disheartening. As a citizen, I am offended more by the complacency of the people than by the acts of the president.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;I am not here to inveigh against Mr. Clinton. In 1992, I was a staunch supporter of the Arkansas governor in his campaign against President Bush. I am offended that I was lied to, that my conviction was made a mockery of and that insiders tried to palliate the matter with definitions and convoluted explanations.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;More importantly, I would be angry if the president ever wanted repayment from the pocket of the U.S. taxpayer for his actions. The work of the independent counsel's office found that he had lied. At least, when the president lied to the American public he was duly impeached by the House of Representatives for his actions.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;I do not find the president's actions admirable. I don't vote in this greatest of democracies just for its leaders to lie to my face and expect me to chew up the matter with a smile.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Perhaps I am wet behind the ears with idealism. Yet, I do know this: I did not vote for a supporter of adultery, and I now see what a mockery the president had made of my idealism.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;If anything, I have learned an invaluable lesson: You cannot wholly rely upon others to make that idealism reality. I suppose I should thank Mr. Clinton for that. People would have you believe that things are all subjective in the end. I think that is a cheap way out.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;I contend that there is a core set of values most Americans would agree on. Among them are the belief that murder is wrong, theft is wrong and marriage is a sacred and moral institution.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;I say moral, but not in the traditional religious sense. Marriage is sacred as an expression of love, and in damaging the institution you debase the value behind it.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Mr. Clinton did just that, and what is worse, he and his advisers may down the line change their minds and expect the public to bail him out of his legal fees legal fees aimed at maintaining a lie against the American people.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;If Mr. Clinton calls on the public to pay his legal fees, we must reply with a resounding "no." Mr. Clinton must realize that if he is truly sorry as a husband and as a president, he and he alone will do whatever is necessary to make reparations both with the family he spurned and with the people to whom he has lied. The greatest test of any marriage is the ability to show fortitude in the face of adversity. Now is the time for Mr. Clinton to do so.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;In my eyes, he has done nothing to warrant his position as most admired. If anything, he has portrayed himself as the one person in the world whom I would never want to be, and I find it most sad that I once supported this man.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;These actions of the president should lead everyone to an important question: Do I find a known adulterer admirable?
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;THEODORE KOWALSKY

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