The Americans who risked nothing

By Joe Schembrie
web posted July 17, 2000

It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from the southeast. Up especially early, a tall, stocky, silverheaded middle-aged Arkansan found time to buy [DELETED] for Monica, his mistress, who had made his wife ill-at-ease at home.

William Jefferson Clinton arrived early at the White House. The Oval Office was air conditioned and had comfy chairs furnished at taxpayer expense. On the wall behind the President's desk were the bongo drums that were beaten during the celebration of his impeachment by Congress the previous year.

Now Congress was at work, promptly taking up an emergency measure to develop a nuclear missile defense system to protect the country from the Chinese missiles that stolen American technology had built. But in this meeting, Clinton and his unelected staffers were formulating the words of what they regarded as the most important document in over two hundred years.

The Declaration of Dependence was read aloud once more, and debate resumed about the definition of the word 'is.' Excess verbosity was added wherever possible. "Doing what is right" was changed to "doing what feels right." "For the country" was changed to "for the children."

And with fanfare, the Declaration of Dependence was adopted.

What kind of people were the signers of the Declaration of Dependence? Well, for starters, they didn't actually sign the document, because that would leave a paper trail. Names like Stephanopolis, Gore, and Carville are household words, but most of us know nothing of the others. And they prefer it that way.

But who were these people who signed onto the Clinton Administration?

There were no merchants, land-owners, farmers, doctors, or ministers. All of them were lawyers or political operatives.

Each had much to gain from the public sector and nothing to lose by it. George Stephanopolis went on to a lucrative career as a political analyst with ABC. James Carville made millions as a political consultant. Greg Craig sent Elian back to Cuba while on the payroll of the National Council of Churches. Al Gore ran for President. Hillary Clinton ran for the Senate in a state where she had never lived.

Monica Lewinsky, who was trapped under the desk during the earlier meetings, was in line for a $90,000-a-year private sector job arranged by the President, when the impeachment issue became public. She later received a six-figure contract for a television interview, and then a million-dollar contract as a spokesperson for a weight loss clinic.

These people knew what little they risked. The penalty for treason was a job offer as lobbyist for Communist China. And remember: a great Chinese arsenal was already aimed at Los Angeles Harbor.

They were dreamy-eyed intellectuals and draft card burners. It was taxation without representation they sought. They claimed to be radicals, yet they clung to the status quo.

It was power, not principle, that had brought them to Washington. Two of them wanted to become President of the United States. The rest wanted to become media analysts and lobbyists, and authors of scandal-mongering, blame-shifting bestsellers.

Al Gore, Vice President from Mars, introduced the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Dependence. He was prescient in his concluding remarks: "Well, you know, I think I had too much iced tea. I have to go now. Don't do anything I wouldn't do."

And so he avoided prosecution. But for many of those who had signed on to the Clinton Administration, they ended up sacrificing despite themselves.

Vince Foster, White House counsel, committed suicide. So did Admiral Mike Boorda, Chief of Naval Operations. So did Kathleen Willey's husband. At least the official reports said suicide.

Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown died in an airplane crash. That wasn't a suicide, but the airport maintenance chief responsible for the navigation beacon that directed the plane into a mountain officially committed suicide before he could be questioned, so there was still a suicide in there somewhere.

Many women, like Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones, were sexually harassed. Other one-time Clinton supporters allege they were raped.

But for most of those who signed onto the Clinton Administration and its Declaration of Dependence, it was life without wounds or hardships. Few were imprisoned. Only two wives were brutally treated, and only by the President himself.

The unaccountable, non-signing proponents of the Declaration of Dependence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most malevolent curtain line in a country's history: "And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine government, we mutually pledge to each other the lives, fortunes, and sacred honor . . . of our fellow citizens."

Joe Schembrie is a senior writer for Enter Stage Right.

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