In the United States, the Democrats started out on the wrong foot, with their impeachment inquiry into the conduct of the US Chief Executive in partnership with the Ukraine to sully an American political foe. As matters proceeded from frowned-upon secret hearings to the open forum of public testimonies and without infuriating calculated leaks, a number of things become increasingly clear. It is that there are smoking guns leading to unsatisfying places, not necessarily rising to the level of “high crimes” just yet, but certainly not of the paleness of that which may be termed “misdemeanours.”
In one news items after another, the liberal, stately New York Times ensured that the sharpest of scrutiny took firm hold on national consciousness with the latest news of leadership overreach. The commentaries from its Editorial Board maintained the sharp focus and unrelenting heat as to the inexcusability and more of the president’s reckless foreign caper.
On the other side of the rancorous US political battlefield, the conservative and venerable Wall Street Journal has endeavoured tirelessly to flay and flail in less-than-spirited defence with the hand it was given to play. The proceedings are closed, they are partisan, they are detrimental to the Republic. Nonetheless, several times, even the Journal was compelled to retreat and pull in its horns, through limited admission that the president did not act in a manner most befitting a head-of-state.
Regardless of how positioned, how well-defended and well-minimized, the evidence is not helpful to the American president’s cause, and regardless of the believed purity of his actions and the strength of his barricades. Former envoys have spoken clearly, the damning has been heard. Current military men have yielded to the checks and balances enshrined in the sacred US Constitution, through answering the calls of a determined Congress.
What they have shared has emphasized some major lapses of judgment, which have not been found endearing by the president or his army of dogged supporters. In recent days, the Times and Journal have issued editorials that clash on the merits of impeachment hearings, without letup in sight.
From a Guyanese perspective, and for Guyanese consumption, this should be reduced to the crisp kernels of local circumstances that may be easily understood and appreciated. For, if and when, a Guyanese political leader was to reach to outsiders for purposes of accumulating fodder to set fire to an adversary, then an invisible but stretched Rubicon has been irreversibly, unpardonably breached.
If the situation was different, as in the more acceptable standard commonplace of obtaining intelligence on a fugitive or suspected criminal under surveillance, then there might be some discretion, the leeway and official loophole through which to find legitimate cover.
It is, however, an altogether unpalatable, if not illegal, matter for a leader, any leader, to stoop so low that he or she advances beyond the restraints of decency and legality, past the protective barriers of the dignified and the ethical, to target a foe for cheap political purposes.
Should a Guyanese leader make that call to, say, a Venezuelan or any other, then the self-serving martyrdom of bluster and spurious sparring about victimization and of varied witch-hunt objectives of perceived enemies falls apart, for by then it is over. Once discovered, there is no rationalization, no diluting or dumbing down of what did happen and never should have had. Some things are just not done, not even in the heat of battle, as perceived political advantages are not worth it..
There is where and how matters stack up in the unfolding and dramatic flurry of events in the Adam Schiff hearings. Though not of the calibre of a Peter Rodino of Watergate fame, he has been forced to learn on the run and adjust accordingly. Daily, the net draws tighter, leaving lessons for leaders similarly tempted or already so engaged.
Should not be. Whether here or there or anywhere. Whether supporter or partisan, or about the political, the social, the commercial, or the constitutional, all must be pervaded through and through with the moral and ethical. This empowers and enlivens the authenticity and acceptability of whatever is settled upon, issues forth, and then must be masticated in acidic human systems.
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Finance Minister Winston Jordan has sued the Kaieteur News for libel. Before I move on to the essential argument of this... more
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