From Gerald Ford re Nixon; it doesn't quite mesh with what you've stated regarding his criminal acts: "No question, Tom: he would have been indicted. The probability is he would have been convicted. It would have been a long, tortuous appeal. The odds are he would have gone to jail." The rest I won't get into; there's a lot we agree on (the hubris of Clinton) and a lot we don't (my sons, their families, friends, etc., are very well-informed politically, although there will always be those that can't be educated no matter how hard we try). The fact is, it's another day and it's up to US, all of us, to keep the Congressional feet to the fire, to stop this bipartisan nonsense and work for us, not the lobbyists, cronies or anyone who is not a registered voter (i.e., also a citizen). Back in the day, voting wasn't secret and only landowners had the privilege; sometimes I think that's what we're headed back to. - Karen
This was a comment left on last night's blog entry by my friend Karen. I want to respond to her comment with all the respect it deserves. I may sound ignorant or misled, but that is my problem to deal with.
So .... here goes:
I agree fully with President Ford's assessment of the situation involving President Nixon and backs up the point I was trying to make in my blog entry. There is no doubt in my mind that President Nixon would have been impeached by the House then convicted by a bi-partisan Senate in 1974. After that, I doubt he would have been indicted in the civilian courts or spend time incarcerated but if he had been, it would have not have been due to "criminal acts" but rather because he was President at a time when elected leaders were held accountable for things that happened under their watch.
There was a time when elected officials were held accountable for their actions or inactions. Senator Joe McCarthy was censured in the Senate because of the way he ran the Committee on unAmerican Activities and rightfully so. Do you remember Senator Bob Packwood? The Senator kept a private journal which was somehow discovered. In this journal he wrote of sexual fantasies involving female members of his staff. He never showed them to anyone, never read them to anyone but once discovered, Senator Packwood was forced to resign from the Senate.
It was a different time and times have changed dramatically over the years. When the Articles of Impeachment came out of committee, the following day President Nixon was visited by a group of Senators. It was a Republican group of Senators led by Senator Barry Goldwater. They knew that President Nixon had to be held accountable for illegal activity that occurred during his administration, whether he had actually done anything or had knowledge of anything that was going on under his watch. President Nixon did the right thing and resigned. His Vice President, Spiro Agnew, had resigned two years earlier because of tax irregularities. Agnew was held accountable for his past taxes and forced to resign. My current Representative in the House is fighting a lawsuit by the IRS for back taxes in the thousands of dollars, yet he still holds office and was re-elected last night. Times have changed.
The system did have a big hiccup under Reagan with Iran-Contra. The system slipped a bit as Reagan's Administration made it through the investigation.
When President Clinton took office and was sued for sexual harassment by women during his governorship in Arkansas , we should have seen it coming. The investigation into illegal use of the FBI led to whether he was using his power to have sexual relations while President. While nothing was proved of criminal activity by Nixon, Clinton gave us plenty of evidence of criminal activity during the investigation. He tampered with a witness to a Federal Grand Jury by trying to force Monica Lewinsky to perjure herself. That by itself is a felony which is cause for impeachment and removal from office. But he went even further. He perjured himself at least three times during his testimony before the Grand Jury, three more felonies, all a cause for impeachment and removal from office. Then he took his case to the American people, pointing his finger at us and lied to us.
The trial of Clinton was one of the most partisan actions I can remember. Despite all of the evidence, Democrats voted to aquit the President. That in and of itself was a slap in the face to the American people but after the verdict he walked out on the White House Lawn followed by all these Democrats as a show of unity. It was also a final flip of a single finger to the American people. The system had failed miserably.
You once told me that thanks to President Nixon, you were cynical when it came to politics. I think you have it wrong. The system worked when Nixon stepped out of line. That should be a positive thing. The system was working. As President Clinton flipped the country off, the system failed. Total breakdown. That is when I became cynical and when I would think you would as well. Clinton stood there and told us the law does not apply to him, and it evidently didn't.
The other part of causing me to be cynical is the way campaigns are run these days. Times have changed. Half truths are thrown out by both parties as gospel. Appearing on talk shows instead of being out among the people is the new standard. There was a poll taken a few years ago where an astonishing number of the youth in this country perceived the Jon Stewart show to be actual news while it was in fact satire. I meant no disrespect to your children or family in stating what I did. I do however stand by the fact that the average American voter these days is less knowledgeable then forty years ago. This is particularly disturbing considering the mass communications we have access to these days.
This is what has made me cynical and I hope it is a good response to your comment. The system has been breaking down slowly. Political philosophies are now stated in short sound bites instead of deep explanations.
I am proud to be an American. I am respectful of my right to vote and my right to say what I feel. I am extremely respectful of how this country has peaceful and organized transfer of power, unlike any country in the world. I am also deeply respectful that the will of the people be carried out through elections. That is what will happen next January 20. Once again the will of the people will be carried out as President Obama begins his second term as our President. It is a good thing. It is this basic tenant that keeps this country running strong. Four years from now, somebody else will take the helm of our country and we will continue on, whether it be a Democrat or a Republican.
Yes I am cynical of the campaign process and cynical of the overwhelming partisanship that sets us back a little. Even though the system totally failed in dealing with President Clinton, it still survives and that is why I will continue to vote.
I may be "misled and ignorant", but I will continue to speak and to vote in a way that I feel is best for the country. I will also accept the outcome of these elections without malice but with respect of the will of the American People.
Times were different. Times have changed. My sincerest wish for this country is that we take a step back to times of decades past, and become a united country once again.