At the height of the Bill and Monica frenzy, Republicans never tired of expounding oral sex -- who, what, when, where and how.
Who can forget the titillation, jokes and snickers, the loudly proclaimed outrage, feigned or not? And, who can forget the constant refrain through clenched teeth and drawn lips: "What about the children?"
Relentless is the proper adjective for their pursuit of "immorality in the White House." No stone was unturned, no cost was too great, no tape was unplayed, and no public waving of dirty laundry was inappropriate for the children to observe: the guilty must be punished.
An entire industry was spawned to mourn America's loss of innocence -- especially the innocence of the children. Slack-jowled ministers wept crocodile tears over a disgraced presidency. Hordes of long-legged women in skirts shorter than their tongues flipped their wigs before television cameras and decried the shamefulness of ungodly liberals.
Joining the pre-impeachment chorus of partisan Republicans, Joe "I'm just a Jew" Lieberman, bearing a heavy burden, made his way to the well of the Senate to deliver the biggest "accountability" speech of his career. In 2000, Al "I ain't Bill's pal" Gore, by running from his own administration and throwing his lot with the tongue waggers, lost the election to a man who promised to return honor to the White House and "to leave no child behind."
So, what about the children?
Al Gore pursued other interests and Joe Lieberman became a cheerleader for George Bush -- the "decider" who bears a heavy responsibility for the deaths and injuries of thousands of innocent children in Iraq.
And the Republicans? Strangely, we don't hear many questions raised about dead children half a world away. In fact, we see little concern, and even less action, for the born, wherever they live, although we get an earful about the unborn.
In the world of Republican morality,
- fertilized eggs are worshipped at the expense of scientific research that could offer hope for victims of injury and disease;
- tax breaks for the wealthy take priority over health care for the children of the working poor;
- failing attempts to rebuild a country we destroyed drains resources needed to defend and protect lives at home and to manage emergencies during natural, man-made or man-assisted disasters like Hurricane Katrina;
- the war on marriage and adoption rights for gays and lesbians, with the resulting denial of loving, secure homes for thousands of adoptable children, becomes the new battle against immorality;
- awarding multi-national corporations with no-bid contracts in Iraq, rewarding political hacks with presidential appointments, and granting religious extremists undue (and ungodly) political influence demonstrate a disregard for competence, an allegiance to dogma and a rejection of policies to "establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, (and) promote the general welfare" (Preamble to US Constitution).
Yet from the moral police of the 1990's, we hear only unwavering support for a Bush administration that refuses to take responsibility not only for minor mistakes but for the most colossal failures of this generation -- an administration that failed not only the children of today but the children of future generations.
Now is the time for some accountability from the people whose behaviors fail the hypocrisy smell test: Indeed, "What about the children?"
Further reading: Taking Full Responsibility