By William Markiewicz

Since America likes a puritanical President, candidates for the presidency should be over 85 to reduce the risk of temptation in office.

The only secular countries where fundamentalism has outlived the Inquisition are the Muslim countries and the USA. Only there do heads of State have no right to a private life. The Muslim fundamentalists keep total control over their societies. The fundamentalists In the States don't have the same power over the American people so they use prudery as a tool in political games. Forcing confessions about things that are nobody's business echoes similar practices during the Inquisition when the judges-tormentors listened lustfully to the "sinners'" confessions. American ayatollahs degrade themselves and show who they are when they degrade their victims in the public pillory.

And how ridiculous sound those public confessions and excuses about consensual sex among adults! Conjugal infidelity is not a criminal offense and forcing this kind of confession is an abuse of power over any citizen. Is the President obliged to be a model? It isn't mentioned in the Constitution and burdening him with this kind of duty is putting the President into ecclesiastic realms. The Queen of England is the Head of the Anglican Church -- since when is the President Head of the American Church?

Clinton deceived me only when he lied publicly several times about his relationship with Monika Lewinski. How could a politician of his stature believe he might get away with this? In the grip of fear, he tried to delay the problem instead of facing it. Talleyrand once said: "It's worse than a crime -- it's a mistake." One swallow doesn't make a spring. nor one microbe an epidemic; I still believe in Clinton as a politician but I wouldn't like to see him as Chief of the Army in war time. In true danger he loses his head and chickens out.

Optimists say that there is no bad thing that doesn't turn out to be good. What 'good' can come from this scandalous act of 'exhibiting' and insulting the President, an act more sinful than the targeted sin itself?

1. Hopefully Starr has raised a big enough stink to choke himself on it. Americans, patient folk, may finally start to defend their President.

2. Paradoxically, this public rapport may create a breach in the reigning priggishness and contribute to liberalizing public spirit. The whole nation has witnessed the pornography attached to the Head of State and this kind of subject, hypocritically avoided until now, has become open to discussion in all forums, including schoolrooms.

Finally, I would like to express my sympathy and admiration for Hillary. If Bill Clinton is, up to a certain point, protected by the aura of 'machismo,' Hillary is defenselessly exposed under the pillory of pity, scorn and sarcasm. Everybody expected that she'd be the first to leave him, but she showed too much class for this. She stands behind him and faces the worst thunderstorm in a woman's life like a mythical heroine. Only a person with her force of character could carry this off. Will she leave him? Perhaps, but it's not the moment. I remember a similar situation in an old movie when a cuckolded husband put his arm around his wife, protecting her from the villagers' rage. They left the village for a town, toward their separation there (no divorce in those times) but it wasn't the movie's subject any longer.

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