A Time to Resign
On August 17, 1998, President Clinton confessed to a nationwide television audience that he had an inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky. He further stated that he would work to restore his marriage and his family; the whole Lewinsky thing was a personal matter between him and his family and God, and the public is not entitled to details; he had been the target of a political witch hunt begun before he took office in 1993, concerning wrong doings alleged to have occurred over 20 years ago, regarding matters for which he had already been cleared of any wrong doing, and that too much money and time had already been spent on this witch hunt, and it was time to move on. Oh, and he had not perjured himself when he testified earlier in the Paula Jones deposition that he had not had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky.
With the exception of not understanding how he could not have perjured himself in the Paula Jones deposition, I agreed with everything he said. For some time I had felt that the Whitewater investigation had lasted too long. It was a complicated matter to follow, with intelligent people marshaled on the side of the argument convenient to their party affiliations. But more importantly, the public had become mere viewers of the ever- running Republican vs. Democrat intramural competition; and with Whitewater we were being captivated by old news. Information resulting from a 20 year dig for incriminating material against the President sufficient for public humiliation at the least, and impeachment as a goal, would certainly have turned up damaging information on many public figures. Thus, the chorus of those calling for President Clintonís resignation for lying under oath meant little--having already determined to become involved in an adulterous relationship, certainly he would lie about it. Arenít all adulterers also liars?
That he took liberties with a young woman under his employ, for whom it can be argued he had a stewardship responsibility, was a matter of greater concern -- unfortunately, one for which there is no penalty in this age. The argument for his impeachment thus focused on his perjury, necessitated by his actions. So we would have to endure the embarrassment of a president who was continually losing his battle to control his urges. If ever there was anyone who could identify with the Apostle Paul who declared in the book of Romans, chapter 7, versus 18-20, that sin dwelling within him caused him to do what he did not want to do, it is our president. The unseen enemy the Apostle Paul identified for us can not be fought by declaring war, it can only be fought by surrendering to Christ who has already conducted a victorious battle in our stead. And Satan knows he has been defeated. All that is left to him is to goad us into doing something contrary to God's word so that we fall into disfavor and are so humiliated we are reluctant to turn again to God for help.
With President Clinton recognizing his present troubles could only be worked out between himself, his family, and God there was a faint indication that perhaps he recognizes his need of Christ and will establish a relationship with Him beyond the carefully orchestrated photo opportunities staged for the press after his weekly Sunday visit to church. If he is sincere in his turn to Christ, we could endure him a little longer. After all, having elected him to a second term, our role remains one of prayer and forgiveness. Our badgering would not make him a better man, only Christ could do that.
But then, came the military strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Khartoum. The mountainous country of Afghanistan sheltered a terrorist training base funded by exiled Saudi millionaire, Osama bin Laden. A pharmaceuticals plant in the Sudanese capital city of Khartoum was alleged to be manufacturing biological weapons, and also alleged to be funded by bin Laden. The strikes were in response to the two bombings of American embassies in Africa. Certainly all Americans expected some action in response to the bombings. And we can understand that the President received counsel regarding the military strikes from military and espionage career personnel. The discussion of military action to address terrorism was almost certainly not initiated by President Clinton. Rather, his role was to consider information and arguments presented, and authorize a course of action most beneficial to the American public. Being unencumbered by present military service, and with no need to demonstrate military might to the world, the President was free to seek a resolution that did not escalate random acts of violence to a full scale war against unseen enemies.
But he authorized action that we think, in retrospect, was wrong. Action of any President is bound not to be concurred with by all. But at this time, it is hard to imagine President Clinton able to bring a moral and ethical view to any debate , least of all a debate that centers on action certain to divert public attention from the spectacle of his private life. Now, I'll be the first to say it is unthinkable that I or any other writer would seriously suggest that the present state of public alarm was brought about by President Clinton's desire to shelter himself from further criticism, and perhaps in the process protect his presidency. But is it possible that in weighing the consequences of missile attacks against alleged bin Laden forces and suppliers, President Clinton did not properly consider the consequences? Terrorism is an unseen enemy; it has no headquarters to be destroyed and taken out of use; it displays no signs to allow its identification until after a terrorist act has occurred; it has no time constraints to force it to act while our suspicions are high, it can wait until we relax, thinking the need to be vigilant is passed; it does not require escape of its forces to wage a future battle, if one dies while committing a terrorist act, he is martyred, in some circles assured admittance to a hero's heaven. Would a demonstration of might mean anything to one who has decided to achieve his ends by terrorism? In such a war, would there be any identifiable target other than the American people?
My view is that President Clinton did not serve his country well when he authorized military strikes in Afghanistan and the Sudan. Had any other president, not besieged by problems of character, made the same or a similar decision, there would be fewer questions. But this thing was done on President Clinton's watch. And we are now engaged in a war, of sorts. There is little we can do to protect ourselves from unseen and undeclared terrorists. But we can continue to trust God for our protection, knowing that He sees, hears, and knows all.
President Clinton has no record of defeating the unseen enemy we all face from time to time. His record is one of relinquishing control to whatever demon is bold enough to challenge him. By his well documented pattern of failure, President Clinton is no longer fit to lead. I doubt that there is enough to impeach him, or that an impeachment effort would be successful. The best thing President Clinton can do for his country is resign his office. But you might say, "What about forgiveness?" He remains forgiven; but he is no longer qualified to lead. Already others have begun to cover their transgressions with his line that he had "...an inappropriate relationship." Many more are likely to pattern their actions after his. (Some things really do trickle down.) William Jefferson Clinton has been a very successful president. It is time for him to resign his office and become a better man.