Is this any way to run a country?

Friday, January 8, 1999 | by

Two of the most difficult issues to discuss among friends are religion and politics. As a Jewish paper, we can't avoid either. And while we try not to offend, it's almost impossible to talk about religious issues without upsetting people who are either very observant or not observant at all.

Politics is worse, especially since our country has become even more partisan.

Nevertheless, we have to inject our opinions into the impeachment trial. But let's be clear from the offset—we are not suggesting President Clinton is guiltless. He deserves official censure.

Clinton's actions have forever changed how we look at public officials. We could have done without the education our children received during Kenneth Starr's grand jury proceedings. He has embarrassed his office. His actions were disgraceful and reprehensible.

But at the same time we cannot condone the $40 million cost of Starr's investigation and the ensuing congressional waste of money and time. Will the country be any better off when all of this is finished? We think not.

Now the Senate has put aside the important work of reforming the Social Security system. It is ignoring the impending crisis in health care. It has taken attention away from the Y2K problem that threatens to shut down much of our computerized lifestyle next January.

Instead, the Senate, which we have elected, is conducting a trial most of us have told pollsters we don't want. Senators claim they are doing their constitutional duty. Well what about their duty to follow the wishes of their constituents?

In the meantime, what has become of the president's constitutional responsibilities? Can we trust that Clinton is being attentive to American interests while he is trying to save his job?

Is he watching the deteriorating Israel-Palestinian situation? Is he able to react to the demented actions of Iraq's Saddam Hussein?

And can he concentrate on the new budget and the State of the Union address that the American public expects to hear Jan. 19?

No.

Neither Congress nor the president is doing the job we pay them to do. It's time they get back to work solving the problems we face today and preventing those of the future.