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The Lewinski, Jones, Willey, Flowers, Zercher, et al scandal has brought to the forefront of Americans’ daily lives the discussion of the moral responsibility of our nation’s elected leaders. Do the American people have a right to expect a certain level of character and virtue from their representatives? Are their votes of affirmation conditional on the subsequent actions of the elected official? Is the sex life of the president off limits, sacrosanct, beyond scrutiny?
We’ve been told the president’s sex life is his and his wife’s business, a private affair. If she doesn’t mind than why should the nation?
Let’s look at this in an organized logical fashion. We will begin with President Clinton’s frequent refrain, “I, ah, need to get back to the work the people hired me to do, the work of the nation.” Stop right there, Mr. Clinton has said this so many times for the wrong reason that we have missed the inherent truth in its premise. The president is “hired” through the electoral process by the American people. Private businesses “hire” through the interview process concluding with management’s decision. Another commonality between the “job” of the presidency and any other job is the right of the employer to fire the employee for cause. Notwithstanding onerous state and federal regulations, private employers have the right to dismiss workers if they do not perform to the standards of which they are expected. That includes adherence to ethical standards, maintaining the company’s reputation, not violating the companies trust, and preventing personal and personality conflicts from affecting the productivity of the company. The employer does not have to establish criminal conduct by the employee to terminate.
How does this relate to the presidency? The Founding Fathers established a mechanism by which the people through their representatives in Congress could fire their most senior employee: impeachment. The Founders believed that the president holding the collective reputation, welfare and future of the American people in his hands should be subject to oversight, discipline and dismissal by his employers — you. They very clearly articulated the belief that the presidency can and should be held responsible for actions which ARE NOT illegal but do not represent the United States (the company) well.
If all this is true, and I can assure you it is, then how far are we, the American people, willing to compromise with our employee, Bill Clinton? Let’s address his sexual escapades. What if the specter of sexual harassment, obstruction of justice, subornation of perjury, disregard of national security concerns and the violation of civil rights laws with regard to hiring were to be ignored? What if after the investigation is complete, the president is absolved of guilt in these areas? What if he “just” has sex with women other than his wife? It’s just his private sex life, right?
Hmmm. How far are you willing to take this? Or rather how low are you willing to go? You tell me. Say we find out there were more White House interns with which Clinton dallied? Would two or three be too many? What about 10 or 12? A couple of dozen? (After all he has been in the White House for over five years!)
For those of you who have not cried “uncle,” we move on. What does prostitution do to your sensibilities? If the president were found to have procured prostitutes to satiate his desires, would you be more inclined to fire him? Of course, there are the national security issues but those are present in all my illustrations. OK, you say, men have been frequenting prostitutes for thousands of years, why should we hold the president to higher standard than any deviant in America?
If numbers of individual affairs and prostitution leave you unimpressed then what of group sex in the White House? If you’re shocked at my scenario, I have hit pay dirt. But why would the thought of an orgy of consenting adults engaging in protected sex bother you more than the thought of Miss Lewinsky performing oral sex on the prez in the Oval office? We don’t know it is true but Monica did say in her tapes that they engaged in this activity while Clinton was on the phone with Dick Morris as Morris enjoyed some treatment from his prostitute friend.
At this point I would like to remind you that we are talking about consenting adults. Isn’t this still the private business of Mr. Clinton and his wife?
Let’s backtrack a little at this point and re-examine our intern possibilities again. You realize there are male interns don’t you? We’ve been told by pop-psychologists and social engineers that millions of heterosexuals have experimented with homosexual acts, again, remember we’re talking about consenting adults. If some President were found to have had sex with a young male intern, what then?
I have been hypothesizing about specific sexual acts, but what of the possible consequences of those acts? President Clinton may deny it but I think he knows that sex sometimes leads to pregnancy. What if one of our presidents’ girlfriends had babies by him. As a responsible father, he would want to support his child and share parental responsibilities with mom. I can just see the Clinton team boasting of the president’s willing sacrifice to bolster the self-esteem of millions of unwed mothers! Of course Mr. Clinton could always pressure mom to leave the country, paying for her silence.
As long as we are talking about pregnancy, let’s talk about abortion. Would it bother you if our president encouraged or even pressured his paramour to take the life of his child, for the sake of convenience?
Now, I haven’t ventured into the more bizarre or if you will “kinky” possibilities. They are innumerable but I’ll restrain myself and allow you that displeasure.
My point, of course, is this: We have the right to fire our employee, the president. The Constitution guarantees us that right. Moral turpitude comes well within the parameters of “cause.” That is a fact. But, as his employer, you must determine the ethical standards to set for your employees. If one form of extra-marital consensual sex is tolerable than how do you justify and rationalize drawing the line at any other variation of the same? The camel’s nose is under the tent. Are you inviting him in?