The impeachment of President Clinton should prove once and for all that character does count.
When is the country going to understand that character does count, that character is important?
Six years after the 1992 presidential campaign between George Bush and Bill Clinton, during which Bush supporters tried to hammer home the theme of "character counts," the people of this country now ought to have far more appreciation of the truth of this statement.
In 1992 and 1996, a sufficient number of voters apparently didn't think character was that important. But today, on the eve of an impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, there should be full realization by all thinking Americans that character really does count.
If President Clinton had conducted his personal life in a wholesome manner and had the courage to tell the truth, there would be no impeachment. Clinton has a significant flaw in his character.
Saturday morning, the incoming speaker of the U.S. House, Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana, announced his intention to step aside from the highly prized speaker's post and to resign from the House early in 1999. This was brought about by disclosure of extra-marital affairs he had engaged in during his 33-year marriage. He, too, has a serious flaw in his character.
Character IS important.
Former Vice President Dan Quayle tried to call attention to what was happening to moral values in the country, and he was made the butt of jokes by Democratic supporters and "Friends of Bill." LIkewise, former GOP cabinet member Bill Bennett has tried to alert this country to the importance of character and moral conduct. He, too, has been the target of jokes and belittlement.
Just how far does this country have to slide before enough Americans realize character and moral conduct is important?
Americans, as well as the rest of the world, have witnessed a sad chapter in this nation's history, and character, moral behavior and respect for the law are at the center of it.
Character does count, and it is just as important when measuring the conduct and personal standards of an ordinary citizen as when measuring the conduct and personal standards of the individual leading the world's most powerful nation.
The big danger, however, is that Americans will continue to pass all of this off and go on with their normal way of life, which in recent years seems to include a growing acceptance of excesses in personal conduct and lower moral standards.
With both the citizenry and the president consumed and directed by opinion polls and with 60 percent of the population apparently thinking it is not terribly wrong for a president to lie and commit perjury, one has to wonder just how much further the moral standards of this country will sink.
Will history show what many have predicted, that this nation will destroy itself from within?