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Following Henry Hyde’s eloquent summation to the Senate, many
skeptical pundits were beside themselves with disbelief that Henry would
“go over the top” by invoking patriotic images such as Normandy Beach in
challenging senators to keep their faith with our war dead. Mr. Hyde
anticipated this kind of response when he said, “Senators: This trial is
being watched around the world. Some of those watching, thinking
themselves superior in their cynicism, wonder what it is all about. But
others know.”

Others know what? Others — lovers of the unique American experiment
in constitutional government — know how sacred are the rule of law,
equal justice under the law and the sanctity of the oath. The superior
cynics, those enlightened souls steeped in their own self-imposed mire
of moral relativism, cannot grasp what it means to aspire to lofty
ideals. To them there are no grand moral distinctions, no compelling
reasons to strive for greatness and excellence in our institutions.

Was Chairman Hyde exaggerating in daring to declare that there are
still principles worth fighting for, even dying for in this country? Was
he correct in warning that dire and permanent consequences will follow
from the abject trivialization of Mr. Clinton’s infractions? The answer,
of course, depends on your perspective.

Let me suggest that as a citizen of this nation, you are either a
lover of the rule of law or you are its enemy. There is no middle
ground. It’s not surprising that those contemptuous of the rule of law
are so comfortable with distorting the truth. Both attitudes spring from
a rejection of moral absolutes. Those of us who revere the rule of law
and believe that the whole truth matters, must continue to occupy
ourselves correcting the disinformation being constantly disseminated by
Mr. Clinton and his defenders. Our efforts are not merely academic; we
hope that there will be 12 honorable Democratic senators who will
objectively incline their ears. We appeal to their willingness to place
patriotism above party.

There are many falsehoods being perpetuated today and their purveyors
are fully aware of what they are doing. To them, the truth and the rule
of law are expendable for the “higher” cause of retaining Mr. Clinton in
office. That is precisely why Mr. Clinton and his allies pose a far
greater threat to this nation’s institutions than did Mr. Nixon. In
describing Nixon’s conduct they facilely throw out the phrase “assault
on our institutions of government,” obviously never pausing to consider
what it really means.

Our side is just as guilty of blindly accepting this assertion. Think
about it: No matter how bad Nixon’s conduct, even using the CIA and FBI
to wiretap illegally, it did not “threaten constitutional government” as
Democrats claim, any more than murder does. When Nixon resigned and his
misconduct ceased, though people may have been injured in the process,
the system itself remained unscathed.

Clinton’s wrongs, by contrast, are continuing and, as the House
managers have noted, strike at the very heart of our judicial system.
Clinton’s wrongs are not limited to perjury and obstruction of justice,
but the virtual decriminalization of those crimes by so trivializing
them that they are forever diminished in importance. Since they are two
of the most important crimes aimed at deterring the disfunctioning of
our judicial system, their diminution necessarily promotes the
destruction of our system. Remember that the proper functioning of our
judicial system is essential in safeguarding our civil rights and our
personal liberties.

This is why this battle is far more serious than it may first appear.
That is why it is a hill to die on.

So when you hear senators, whose duty is to preserve our system of
government, making such preposterous and destructive statements as:

  • witnesses don’t resolve conflicts, they create them;

  • perjury and obstruction of justice are not impeachable offenses
    when about sex;

  • it is not necessary that witnesses be called (in the most important
    trial of the century);

  • everyone lies about sex — even under oath;

  • Bill Clinton may have been misleading but did not commit perjury or
    obstruction of justice;

  • perjury and obstruction of justice are not impeachable offenses;

  • Presidents are subject to a different impeachment standard than are
    judges;

  • the House managers presented nothing new, but a weak case built on
    circumstantial evidence; and,

  • President Clinton’s conduct was reprehensible and indefensible but
    doesn’t rise to the level of impeachable offenses;

… please remember Mr. Hyde’s admonitions: there are those who love the
rule of law, and there are superior cynics; there are those still
willing “to keep the faith” with our honored dead, and others who no
longer “believe in an America where the idea of sacred honor still has
the power to stir men’s souls.”

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