Page 8


American Income Life Insurance Company BERNARD RAPOPORT Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer istory provides the details of the S of 1898. Many of the reasons ing that war were in fact publisher William Randolph Hears bloody episode in American history wo crease the sale of his newspapers. His resulted in a war, so it is that gave more justi la was worth risking the erg’s manufactured war bringi .to my MIR ‘our curren n s problems. In my view, no one of sound mind can defend at he did it was terrible, and if we all behaved in such a manner, we would have an exponentially deteriorating society. Yet even granting that outrage, what has been ensuing since in our politics and public life is itself generating a sickening deterioration of the spirit of the American people. The Clinton scandal has now become virtually the only subject of national reporting on television news, the only front-page headline in the morning papers, the only generator of conversation on television and radio talk shows. To many of us, it seems that this seemingly unending national obsession this obscene, compulsive circus is taking place during an economic era when many of our citizens are increasingly prosperous, yet have begun to act like exalted panjandrums or titled sheiks, showing untroubled insensitivity to the large underclass all around us. This insensitivity -this public and often even proud indifference is most especially cruel to the hundreds of thousands of poor and neglected American children, born with little chance of advancement in our increasingly competitive economic world. The President’s indefensible actions, lamentable as they are, are simply dwarfed when set against the seriousness of our continuing social, economic, and educational problems going unnoticed and unattended, now more than ever. Where does true morality reside? In judgment and retribution, or in reform and public action? It seems now that every American politi cian wants to beat his breast on television ‘ proclaiming his overwhelming shock and outrage at Clinton’s sins. Like, thilAorisees at the front of the temple, such hypocrites hope thereby to convince the viewers that they -and they alone are untouched fountains of purity and virtue. such e American. Do I think the President lied? Yes. Do I think he took inappropriate actions, to obscure what really happened? Of course I do! Any man in the country, who ever crossed the line of acceptable behavior, might well have lied and been guilty of some of the same responses as those of the President. That doesn’t absolve him it only explains his subsequent actions, and places them in some reasonable human perspective. He was certainly wrong, and has been justifiably blamed and humiliated for his actions. Yet to continue this relentless national flogging of the man is entirely out of proportion -both to his offenses, and to the persistent needs of the country. Now there is growing talk of impeachment, an excoriating public ritual which will tear this nation apart in political charges, profane denunciations, and ongoing recriminations. Taking such a path will continue to distract the entire nation from our real public issues, and diminish even further any meaningful concern for the large social problems that we have -problems which so badly need addressing. Meanwhile, we can only wait for the return of national sanity, while we watch the political posturing of each of these hand-wringing, hypocritical orators, adopting the ridiculous postures of moral self-immolation. Should it not give us pause, to ask of them: “Had we not better get our priorities in order?” Ci 18 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 9, 1998