THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #5, 18 JANUARY 1999

DAVID’S NOTES:

>>> Well, it’s a good thing the English language is the flexible, resilient creature it is. If you compare Henry Hyde’s oratorical flourishes to those of say Martin Luther King you can see what the word “parody” means. Clearly, behind any serious form there must be content.

As an Emailite friend said in a letter here, “I was struck yesterday by how much Mister Manager Lindsey Graham of South Carolina sounded like Mister Rogers. The voice, the delivery, and often, of course, the words themselves: ‘Boys and girls and senators, it’s not nice to tell a lie.'”

Contrary to what many media pundits said, the hyperbole and bombast, the bathetic metaphors coming from Capitol Hill were enough to make anyone but a House Manager faint dead away.

>>> Another Emailite, Bob Hundley (Fakfrro@aol.com) who writes from Inside the Beltway and who was on Capitol Hill to watch the presenters last week offers these comments and this suggestion regards White House Council GREGORY CRAIG AND HIS MOTHER, LOIS:

“Gregory Graig will utterly destroy the House case, I am convinced. He is a remarkably thorough and compelling attorney who has rarely lost a case. Having five children and a very good humored and tough minded wife may be part of the reason for his success. If he is as successful as I think he will be . . . I would like to suggest some in your group [who live in Vermont near Burlington] recognize his Herculean work by taking flowers to his mother, Lois, who lives at Wake Robin in Shelburne.

She’s had hip replacement, 2, and uses a walker, but she is a terrific person, quite bubbly, an old Kennedy (John) hand, and terrifically proud of Gregory. Someone might tell her I suggested they call. She is very popular among the folks there. . . .

Of course, once the trial is over, it might make good political sense to have Pat Leahy and Jim Jeffords present the flowers, media in tow, not only as a tribute to Greg and to Vermont for stabilizing a profoundly unstable situation, but also as a recognition that in a gerontophobic society we are capable of remembering our forebears, our ancestors.”

>>> And I thought this comment regarding Art and Politics which I’ve titled ENGAGEMENT AS A SOURCE OF HOPE from Poet, Playwright and Equity Actress, Nadine Mozon (NMmaylast@aol.com) would be of interest to everyone:

“Scripture says we must pray for our leaders. Surely, our President stands in the need of prayer.. BIG TIME! It’s all an outrageous surreal mess! It makes a mockery of government, exposes among many things its misuse of time and money, while exposing the self righteous notions of men (as in mankind, not simply gender) pointing fingers and judging morality by self serving fickled standards–as opposed to consistently Biblical standards to which they selectively allude, and which none of them have upheld perfectly.

But you know what? It does not put a damper on my outlook for this new year. While I am affected by it all, and concerned, I am somehow inspired to become stronger and more clear about what I believe, why I do what I do, and to exercise my political efficacy, my prayers and my pen to paper.

These are strange and strained times we live in everywhere we turn. History will be recorded in many ways. And in many ways, the media is to be trusted the least. So we–artists with a passion, a penchant, a “calling”– must record, review, redress, express life; the human condition, the times we live in, the understanding of whatever we record.

No matter the size of the audience we imagine having access to now, the future will expand the records kept. We, who are deeply affected by this era will create work that is, on various levels, reflective or responsive to the state of government, the dismantling of the President.

We can’t help but be creating in a critical historical/political context.”

>>> Nat Hentoff has a disturbing column in last week/s (1/13-1/18) VILLAGE VOICE with the self-explanatory title:
“The Trashing of Clinton’s Women: Obstruction of Justice by Threats and Coercion of Discarded Women” (http://www.villagevoice.com/columns/9902/hentoff.shtml). This trial by innuendo in the press makes me wonder once again why the radical left seems so often sided with the radical right in matters surrounding President Clinton.

>>> An interesting answer to my question above emerges from an article in yesterday’s, Sunday’s, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE (available on-line?) called, “The Governor-President” which explains how Clinton has succeeded in alienating the Washington Insiders, the Radical Right and the Radical Left.

>>> The-Patience-of-Job-Torture-of-the-Month Award goes to CHARLES SCHUMER who had to sit through the Impeachment Hearings in December as a member of the House of Representatives and now as the new Senator from New York gets to sit through it all AGAIN in the Senate.

>>> And finally–during the week before Christmas I wrote the little essay that follows here. I’ve been peddling it ever since. It’s gotten turned down by four radio news programs and a newspaper so far. I’m still peddling, but since the nature of the thing is “time sensitive” as they say in the trade, I fear it will not find its way onto the air-waves or into print before it is “out of date,” so here it is for you all at least. This piece seems like a natural follow-up and flip side to Lois’ Scarlet Letter essay in THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #4.

PUT ON YOUR SCARLET LETTER

Nathaniel Hawthorn’s novel THE SCARLET LETTER is everywhere these days. You remember the story. Hester Prynne bears a child fathered by someone other than her husband and, as condemnation for her sin, is forced to wear the red letter A as a symbol of her adultery and shame.

Now the Republicans in the House of Representatives have said The President has to wear the scarlet letter also, for he must be punished for his sin and for lying about his sin. They argue there cannot be a double standard for justice, one for the president, one for the rest of us.

There also cannot be a double standard for honesty. We cannot insist the President tell all while the rest of us cower, hoping–as Henry Hyde and Bob Livingston did–that our own adulteries will not be discovered. We have absolutely no legal or moral right to know what we know about the President’s private life, but since Ken Starr, Linda Tripp and the Morality Police have forced all this on us, the only way out of this devious, hypocritical mess is for all of us to come clean now.

So, if you have had sexual intercourse, the President’s definition, with someone other than your wife or husband while you were married, or if you have had sex by the definition Ken Starr prefers, whatever that is, or if you have committed what Jimmy Carter, and Jesus, called “adultery in your heart,” by lusting after someone other than your spouse, then you too must confess. For the sake of our country. In the name of honesty. It’s only fair.

Let me begin. I have been married for 32 years. I am guilty of adultery by at least one of these three definitions. Any more than that I won’t say. We do not need to go into the lurid details Ken Starr lusts after. We can be discrete about this, but, in the name of what is right and just, we MUST do this.

Therefore, with this confession I join the President and put on my scarlet letter. I cut mine out of cardboard, painted it red and duct taped a safety pin to the back. Make yours any way you want, but join me, please. For the sake of honesty and unity, all of us who are guilty must step forward. And I mean ALL of us. I assume Henry Hyde and Bob Livingston will put on their scarlet letters, and I hope those in the media will do so as well. Think how nice the scarlet letter will look on Sam Donaldson’s black camel hair coat as he stands out in front of the White House or on Cokie Roberts’ blouse pinned there just above her left breast. I mean, of course, if they are guilty.

So, please, put on your scarlet letter, let it say that you too are fed up with this divisive, sanctimonious, self-righteous finger pointing.

If the President has to wear his scarlet letter, then so must we. Put on your scarlet letter. Let’s see how many scarlet letters there will be.

—–

MORE SOON