The Fayette Citizen-Opinion Page
Wednesday, August 26, 1998
If polls rule, who needs a Constitution?


Two weeks ago, I told you I didn't think the Lewinsky scandal would be enough to get President Clinton removed from office.

I'm beginning to think I was wrong.

The arguments of two Democrats have convinced me that he will be impeached, and that there's at least an even chance that he will be removed. My opinion changed after I heard the arguments of Rep. Paul McHale, D-Pennsylvania, and the president himself.

The latter had more effect on me than the former. When I heard my president admitting that he had made a lie of everything he says he believes in, then turn around and start blaming the messenger and telling me that his conduct in the people's House with a person that the people sent to be in his care and under his instruction was "nobody's business but ours," I gained a new appreciation for the total arrogance of this man.

As I did in the Paula Jones case, I keep wondering where the voices of leading feminists are. This president claims that he supports the goals of feminism while he treats his employees as playthings. Yet you so-called feminists continue to stand by your man.

No wonder he has the arrogance of a spouse abuser who knows his victim has no self esteem and can't bring herself to press charges.

You can't be impeached for arrogance, though. That's where McHale's argument came in. He announced that he was urging Clinton to resign and that he is 100 percent in favor of impeachment to preserve the rule of law.

If you don't know much about the history of this country and the principles on which it was founded, that might sound like a catch phrase. It's not. If there is a single central principle of our way of life, it's that we are a nation ruled by laws, not by people.

That's why we're not a true democracy. In a true democracy, you wouldn't need a Congress, state legislature, county commission or city council. You would vote on every new law, every new tax, every decision to spend money, every program.

The problem with a true democracy is that it is, in effect, a dictatorship. Think about it. It's a dictatorship of the majority over the minority.

And if you don't think that can by tyranny, remember how minorities have been treated in this country even as it is, and imagine how long and painful the struggle for racial equality would have been if the Civil Rights Act had been placed on a ballot for a majority vote.

Our founders wisely did not establish a democracy. They established a republic governed by laws. They crafted a Constitution that is the central law of the land, stating that our representatives can make no laws, regardless of how the majority may feel, that conflict with that Constitution.

That Constitution and the laws that spring from it are what separate us from anarchy and chaos, and what distinguish us as the strongest civilization in the history of the world... not the flawed humans we elect to uphold those laws and the Constitution.

Here's an example you may be familiar with, right here in Fayette. Dave Williams believes he owns a piece of land, and Fayette County believes that the taxpayers of the county own the land.

If you took a poll, I'm willing to bet that a sizeable majority would say even if the county technically owns the land, it should be given to Williams, who has paid taxes on it and cared for it all these years.

The case is currently in court, so I don't know how it will come out. But however this case ends, it can't be based on how we feel about it. It must be based on the law. If the law says the land belongs to the county, no matter how unfair that may seem to us, the law is the law. If the law says the land belongs to Williams, then the county must look elsewhere for a site for its water tank.

Otherwise, if we could get enough votes together, you and I could take any piece of land we might want. Once upon a time, kings used to do that with regularity.

Bill Clinton didn't just lie once in his deposition in the Paula Jones case. He lied numerous times. He continues to lie when he says that his statements in that deposition were "technically accurate."

I believe that Clinton thinks he is a king, though an elected one. He thinks as long as he can point to favorable poll results, he can't be touched. He has no respect for the law, and even less for the American people.

But you may believe differently. You may believe his apology was sincere, and that he is right to attack the messenger because the case is about "his private life." You may believe he is the victim of a witch hunt.

But when the Congress receives Judge Kenneth Starr's report, it can't matter what I think or what you think. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle must weigh their next move based on one question: What does the law require them to do?

If they fail to act because of this man's alleged popularity, then they will have set a precedent that severely weakens the rule of law, and thus they will have damaged this country forever.

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