“In today’s world of suicide bombers and a ravaged economy, it seems not merely frivolous, but ludicrous.”
——— New York Times Assistant Editor Richard Berke, referring to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in his review of the new book, The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr, by Ken Gormley, in the New York Times Book Review.
Berke’s view is popular, common, and ethically indefensible. A President of the United States of America lied under oath in a formal court proceeding, an act that would disqualify him for the practice of law in every state in the nation. He orchestrated a cover-up withing his administration to avoid the consequences of that lie, and lied again in a statement before the American people, not in the interests of national security, but to hide his own misconduct.
Demanding integrity, respect for the law, and conduct in keeping with the importance, dignity and significance of the high office of the President of the United States of America is not, and must never be regarded as, either frivolous or ludicrous. I can only hope that eventually, over time, after the distortions and biases of political passions fade into historical and ethical perspective, sentiments like Berke’s will be both rare and derided for misguided priorities they champion.