It’s true that Members of Congress and others employed in some fashion by the federal government meet ambassadors from different countries. Private citizens do as well. Even a huge honkered Louisiana boy has been an invited guest to embassies and engaged in private conversations with ambassadors from foreign states. Topics of discussion have run the gamut from historical matters such as the life of Theodore Roosevelt, Reconstruction and Jim Crow in the South, life growing up in the Hungarian Settlement, how my high school is no longer located in a village but a town, and techniques with a spokeshave to current events. Heck the better half will tell you that a major event in our marriage was walking maybe 20 yards through a congested outdoor patio to interrupt her speaking with others to say Mr. Ambassador may I introduce you to my wife. The reason that was a milestone had nothing to do with the ambassador, but it was the first time since I had been bedridden for a year that in such an environment that I acted in the same professional manner as I had before illness.
Now I don’t expect the same of many others in terms of memory that I do with myself because I am my Grandpa’s youngest grandchild. I remember conversations with random people that occurred years ago. In fact, the subtler or seemingly “common” a person is, the more vivid my memory. I cannot memorize dates; I forget names; I often draw momentary blanks about what I’ve read recently; I may not be as intelligent as Grandpa was or have his kind of memory, but I can hold my own against most when it comes to recollection.
What’s the point?
The issue today is less about speaking with the Russian ambassador or other Russian officials, it’s the failure to disclose those events. To not disclose under sworn oath is even worse because if the person who is the chief legal officer for the country is confused by questioning or cannot remember personal events from the past year, I’ve lost confidence no matter what my opinion of that individual might be.
The issue is trying to deflect by saying “others did the same.” Maybe they are hypocrites, but that doesn’t change what others have admitted to doing.
Sure, when those hypocrites lie under oath let’s prosecute the others as well. I’m not opposed to doing that. When they have potential conflicts of interests of any sort, let’s investigate and either disclose the conflicts or debunk any suspicions. Again, let’s do that for all.
When those potential conflicts of interest are connected directly to the very foundations of our government, domestic and international security, and very essence as a nation, we should not justify a cover-up and do everything possible to keep the record secret.
Whether someone thinks another person has done the same or even if other people have done the same, that fact does little to protect the integrity of this nation and its citizens and is not excuse to overlook the present.
Yes, I know that Russia is not the Soviet Union. I also know the biographical outline of Vladimir Putin which crosses back into the USSR. Is it naivety or hatred of the past administration to support keeping the tax returns secret? Is it naivety or hatred to blow off the possibility that a foreign government has infiltrated? Many people took ole Tail gunner Joe McCarthy at his word and believed that our government was infested with communists, but for the good of the country even the supporters of the idea expected him to prove those allegations. We had hearings.
For those who forget the economy of the Ronald Reagan presidency and how many people lost jobs because of the drop in oil prices and maintain the Teflon Ron American savior image, OK. I admit that I like several of his campaign commercials and the attitudes and imagery conveyed within. I was a supporter of George H W Bush in both campaigns for President. The first time I could vote for president, I pulled the lever for then President Bush. Historically I would argue that only John Quincy Adams had the same level of experience in areas germane to being president. Both, however, had troublesome terms in many respects so qualifications are not a certainty for success.
Still what ushered in the Reagan era was Barry Goldwater. I wasn’t around at the time, but in my study of history Barry Goldwater still scares me because I wonder if the world would have become engulfed in a fireball in the actual war that ended all wars if he had been elected. Honestly, I think my impression is too negative in this area but fortunately the country survived all the uncertainty from that decade.
Doesn’t it say something about how the ideas of “conservatism,” being patriotic, and loving our country has changed since being brought to the national stage by Barry Goldwater to today?
Watch for yourselves as Senator Goldwater spoke for himself during his candidacy for the presidency.
Unlike 1964 in 2016 and 2017, the conservative position is that the Russians are the good guys and any investigations or scrutiny about connections is some anti-American plot.
The answer that Democrats, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, or even Donald Duck or Bugs Bunny is worse isn’t an answer because if that’s considered the solution then this country has only a few gasps of air left. That should worry everyone, and it shouldn’t matter if you identify as Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, Libertarian, Constitutionalist, Christian, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist, or any other group. It should matter because we are human beings.
[Note: I do not know if any conflicts of interests exist. I do not know if Russia or any foreign entity influenced our electoral process. I just know that there is an insane amount of time trying to justify the innocence of what had at first been denied as to ever even occurring. You can have smoke without a fire, but smoke can cause harm all by itself].