Tuesday, June 22, 2004

My Life: The Modern Book of Job

"I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know. I broke the fangs of the unrighteous, and made him drop his prey from his teeth."

I don't plan to read My Life, the memoirs of our lip-biting former president, because I think I can guess the story. The above lines are from the Book of Job, that famous biblical character who lived righteously, but got little earthly good fortune in exchange. These lines no doubt capture Clinton's self-perception (although one shouldn't take the "father to the poor" part too literally, as I am sure he lived by the bumper sticker adage not too bed a pro-lifer), and as such probably summarize the entire pre-impeachment portion of his memoirs.

When he tackles impeachment, the story will no doubt again closely parallel Job's soliloqy:

"On my right hand the rabble rise, they drive me forth, they cast up against me their ways of destruction. They break up my path, they promote my calamity; no one restrains them. As through a wide breach they come; amid the crash they roll on. Terrors are turned upon me; my honor is pursued as by the wind, and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud."

As one writer as already pointed out, the book will clearly omit any admissions of wrong-doing in connection to matters where there are no dress stains that have established the undeniable facts. There'll be no mention of Kathleen Willey or Paula Jones or Juanita Broderick. And this is where one could argue My Life diverges from Job. Job, in the course of his soliloquy, says that he could understand the miseries that God has bestowed at his feet if he had not lived righteously, listing out the sins that would have merited the fate that has befallen him:

"I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look upon a virgin?"

But even here, Clinton clearly broke no such covenant with himself unless the definition of virgin has been vastly undermined in recent years. He gets into trouble, however, a few lines later:

"If my heart has been enticed to a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor's door; then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down upon her."

Any takers? I didn't think so.


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