By TOM MORGAN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The bloodbath-cum-circus in Washington these days? It awakens memories. Of how a notorious American ambassador handled a similar brouhaha – the Clinton impeachment.
He deployed a simple device. With it, he brought a certain order to the mayhem of the thinking of his friends. In one stroke he turned their murky thinking to crystal
clarity. I am certain he would use the device today.
G. McMurtrie Godley – “Mac” – retired to Gilbertsville from his distinguished career in our diplomatic corps. The Clinton impeachment proceedings had saturated the nation’s air, airwaves and print with debate and downright wrangling: He said this. No he didn’t. He did this. No. It is not important. It is vitally important. He broke the law! Rubbish!
The arguments raged in offices, bars, coffee shops and millions of homes. They certainly raged in Mac’s home. Where he entertained retired diplomats galore. Along with great and lively minds from academia to business to government.
His dinner parties were often bedlam. That was the case with parties during the Clinton impeachment. That is, until he daubed a four-foot sign and draped it over his television for all the combatants to see. HE LIED UNDER OATH!
“HE”, of course was President Clinton. And clearly, he lied to a judge in a federal court case. He committed perjury.
Case closed. To Mac this ended all discussion of the Clinton impeachment. He believed there was nothing more to consider.
Our president had taken an oath to preserve, protect and defend our laws. He was the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. He had violated one of our most sacred laws. He had lied to a federal judge after swearing to tell the truth.
Mac’s sign hit me like a bucket of ice water. It had the same impact on his other friends. It sobered us to a reality we all knew. A reality we had overlooked in our debates. The reality that truth before a judge is utterly essential. As essential to the running of our country as gas is to our car’s engine. To perjure is to dump sand into the fuel tank.
Mac, by the way, had voted for Clinton. He contributed to his campaign. That did not matter. Once he learned Clinton lied under oath the president became a pariah to the old ambassador.
For me, Mac’s sign floats above today’s debate concerning the intel agencies and their spying mess. This was criminal. No, it was an innocent mistake. They did this. Nah, that’s an exaggeration. I read the IG report and it said this. Well, I read it and got exactly the opposite impression.
Whenever I see Comey, Clapper or Brennan on my television, the sign flashes: HE LIED UNDER OATH.
Each lied. That much is clear. People can argue over a hundred other issues. They cannot argue that these guys did not lie under oath.
Not important? It shouldn’t matter? After all, everybody lies. It’s only politics. It was an attempted coup. Rubbish!
People said the equivalent during the Clinton impeachment. Hey, it was only sex. It didn’t affect his job performance, did it?
Mac devoted his working years to serving this country. To him, oaths were sacred. To violate an oath was unthinkable to him. Anyone who did so instantly sullied his own character. A person who lied under oath no longer deserved to be trusted. Every other of his or her activities would be under a cloud, in Mac’s view.