COLUMN SIXTY-ONE, JULY 1, 2001
(Copyright © 2001 The Blacklisted Journalist)
LETTER FROM INDIA
A TURBANED MAN'S ATTEMPT TO SAVE THE PRESIDENT
Unlike the unelected simpleton now occupying the White House and despite the determined campaign by America's Repugnicants to demonize William Jefferson Clinton, this country's 42nd President was and remains widely popular not only within his own country but around the world. So popular that when the Repugnicants tried to impeach Clinton, Inder Dan Ratnu, a writer living as far away as the village of Barath ka gaon in India, felt compelled to "save" the President by writing a book entitled Ultimate Defense Against Impeachment.To do so, he had to make the heart-rending decision to leave his dying father and journey to the "Pink City" of Jaipur. Following is the preface for the book, an e-edition of which is now available at http://www.netboundbooks.com as "Ultimate Defense Against Impeachment." The book will be published in paperback as The Ultimate Defense, available from Michael Burchet , 15 Wild Flower Lane, Traveler's Rest , South Carolina 29690. Email- firstname.lastname@example.org .
Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States, like millions of others
across the world I too have been fascinated by his youthfulness, wits, and
charm. I admired the achievement of his rising from being a "fatherless
child," who lost his father "even before his birth" and faced
rigorous adversity in his childhood days, to the post of President of the United
States---the most powerful man in the world. In spite of
first tidbits of the sexual scandals surrounding President Clinton began to
appear in newspapers and magazines, they served to entertain me as much as they
did the rest of the world. I was somewhat impressed by the President's
cleverness when the first inklings of the Monica Lewinsky scandal began to creep
out into the press and onto TV. It
was a fun item that kept entertaining me for many months until finally one day
on the 17th of August 1998, the President took a U turn on his earlier denials
and openly admitted he
revelation had an additional dimension: that the ramifications of this would
cost the President his very job. To
me it was plain because I had as much confidence in the competence of his
Republican opponents as I had in the President himself. That gave rise to a
great anxiety in my mind since such a turn of events would spell the terrible
end of a great talent which polished, shone and dazzled the world under the
conditions of freedom and democracy---values that were the motivation behind the
fight by the Allied powers under the able leadership of Winston Churchill
against Adolf Hitler and his philosophy of domination by force. Here was the
best example of how a person humbly born but under free conditions could through
his talents and hard work rise to the top of a nation, as opposed to inevitably
perishing under a dictatorship. And here was a person full of basic decency who
deserved to be helped.
that rather than expressing mere mental or verbal sympathy, I must do something
concrete to "help" the President.
But how could I, a poor man from a remote backward corner of India,
"help" the President of the United States? Could I really do so? That
was the big question. I felt myself nothing more than a "rat" when I
thought of the President, and he seemed to me a big cat, a lion, or even an
elephant. This comparison suddenly inspired an idea in my mind. A rat could really help a big cat or an elephant caught in a
net, and "caught in a net" the President was. A rat has incisors that can cut the net. Did I have any
weapon of the sort? I found that I had none---not on my body, nor under my
clothes. But I had one weapon in my mind that perhaps could help: literary talents.
I thought that the President could save himself by obtaining the
equivalent of a "pardon,”
which he could accomplish by coming out to openly admit his mistakes and to
express remorse through an address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress,
which was the only body in fact empowered to remove the President from office.
In my mind, this was the proper forum in which to present his case
directly, and that would be his ultimate means of defense.
I then set
out to write the speech the President was to deliver.
I also worked out the reactions that the words could invoke. While
writing this speech, I was suddenly reminded that the President was a
"fatherless child" who lost his father "even before his
birth." Here was something, I
thought, that he could invoke in his favor---"deprivation of love" as
the grounds for falling into the love affair that was at the root of the
scandal. I was confident that this
could give a powerful emotional touch to the President himself and to his
countrymen, since it is most extraordinary for a man with such a misfortune
right at the beginning of his creation (birth) to rise to be the all-time most
powerful man in the world in the entire history of mankind, and this fact, I
felt, could be very powerful if used in his defense. Therefore, I included this
in the speech.
I wanted to
send the speech to the President through a letter.
But a very strong thought overpowered this idea:
Who was going to read such letters at the White House? Did they have time
to read such letters of advice from unknown persons around the world? I guessed
not. There was no question of such a letter of advice being brought to the
personal attention of the President. But perhaps a book could be, as in fact my
earlier book about Churchill had been. Or
at least so I assumed on the basis of the card I received
visualized and wrote the story of the possible encounters of the President.
Meanwhile, events kept unfolding, and whatever relevant tidbits were appearing
in TV news flashes and Indian newspapers I included in the chapter "The
Starr Report." The rest of it,
including the debate, came purely from imagination.
While writing the debate, I discovered a queer analytical note in my
mind. I found it easier to work out
the arguments in "defense" of the President than to "attack"
him. To my own surprise, a few of
my American readers of the book later informed me that most of the events I
visualized had come true---except for the President's resorting to my suggestion
and the consequential events. As an
afterthought, in order to minimize the chances of myself being dragged into a
court either by President Clinton or the First Lady or the clever Mr. Starr, I
wrote out the final chapter through which I could put all events related to this
saga well into the past (in spite of most of them being in the future at the
time of writing the book) by rolling the time frame forward 2000 years into the
future. I thought that such a
device would serve as a foolproof shield for me, as the book was an advance copy
of the one reproduced by my progeny in the year A.D. 4000, on a Moon of a
distant galaxy, by the discovery of thoughts that revolved in my mind---a
discovery that was to be made through the then-advanced science of genetics.
the book as an attempt to "rescue" the President, I became conscious
of the fact that the story I was writing was actually building in two theaters:
one was America, where the President was the chief actor; and another was India,
where I was the participating actor from conceiving the idea of writing the book
to bringing it to the personal notice of the President.
In this manner I laid out my own role---what I was doing and what I
intended to do---in the chapter, "The Turbaned Man," where I outlined
the entire plan of why and how I was to bring to the notice of the President
this whole work that I had designed to be helpful to him.
Thus the writing of this book and my presentation of it to the President
also became the part of the story of the book itself.
American opponents of the President, who sought to satisfy their glands of bile
by "ousting" the President through impeachment, I, like millions of
other Clinton supporters across the globe, was of the view that the disgraceful
ouster of the President from the White House would help nobody in the world.
Nevertheless, I did not allow my good will for the President to come in
the way of either my freedom of expression or my keeping close to the truths
that have since become so well known to the world.
I started writing this work on 15 September 1998. Most of the story I wrote by the bedside of my ailing father, Doonger Danji Ratnu, at my native village---"Barath ka gaon," near POKARAN [where India carried out her nuclear explosions] and completed it there on 1 November 1998, only two days before the U.S. Congressional elections. In view of the
1. The Beginning
2. The Encounters
3. The Starr Report
4. The Debate
5. The Turbaned Man
6. The Reactions
7. The Dream
8. The Speech & The Aftermath
the actual events at Washington, which were threatening to overtake the
publishing of the work, I decided to leave for Jaipur, the Pink City, (where I
am presently residing with my wife and children) despite the grave state of my
father's health. I explained to
him, and in fact to the rest of my family members, that it was a "lifetime
opportunity" for me, without giving out the details of my mission to
"rescue" the President of the United States---since I suspected that
telling them the full details might result in not only my becoming a laughing
stock in my village and just might lead to an immediate sabotage of the project.
As far as I was concerned, it was the most serious thing of my life.
father's health was an equally serious matter.
My father, while lying on his death bed did permit me with a signal of
his hand. So with a heavy heart,
yet driven by an irrepressible dream and a mystical force, I left for Jaipur on
the evening of 3 November. This was an act of ungratefulness which will remain a
blot upon my family culture and a burden thrust on my conscience as long as I
live. I reached Jaipur, but could
not do anything concrete since my heart and mind kept wandering back to my
evening of 7 November, I reached my village only to join the grieving, wailing
mother, uncles and brothers. Under
Hindu religion the last rites are carried out for 12 days, and even after that
for about one month one has to remain at home to attend to the grieving
late-comers. But in view of the top emergency arising for the future of
President Clinton at Washington, I had to leave my village on the very 13th day
(18 November) for Jaipur where I was to start the ABCs of the printing process
of the book. Which I would send to the President just as radio had begun to
report that the movement to oust the President was fast gathering momentum. I
had to beat them before they could beat the President.
On arrival, I
immediately got into gear and handed over the manuscript to a typist of my
confidence---who during the day did other work at his workplace and only during
the nights at his home attended to my work.
At this stage I was very conscious of keeping the project confidential.
Since I feared that any move to reveal it might invite unforeseen and
unwanted trouble, thus bungling the project and ultimately harming the best
interests of the President. Slowly and gradually, from 19 November 1998 to 25
December 1998, 37 days in all, I thrice edited the work (singlehandedly in order
to keep it confidential), had the cover prepared by a computer graphics person
(who had done the covers for my earlier books), got it printed and bound, and
finally pulled the first copy out of the box and immediately dispatched it on 26
December to the President. By then, impeachment hearings had already begun in
the full House. There was no time left to undertake the exercise as outlined in
the chapter "The Turbaned Man," so I sent the book with a cover letter
by a private courier to the White House in 3 days' time.
I neither had time nor money nor even a way to obtain a visa on such
short notice, so I sent it immediately and directly to the President.
purpose had been served. The copy must have reached the White House, but whether
it had for certain reached the President personally was doubtful. In that case,
the whole exercise would go as a mere waste of time, money, and energy.
This thought began to grow into a great anxiety in my mind.
How to ensure the success of the "rescue" mission was a big
question at this stage. I
deliberated that to send it to the President alone would not be enough to stop
them at the Congress. Something
must be done at the Congressional level. It did not matter at this point whether
it would violate my planned confidentiality. The book carried a full speech
which the President, according to my plan, was to deliver to the Congress.
Although I had provided in the book a procedure for myself to travel to
Capitol Hill in Washington to bring it to the notice of the President
personally, there was no time left to undertake that trip.
Instead, I chose to send it to the Congressmen at that point in an effort
to give the plan additional leverage.
of the book at the offices of the members of the Congress and the Chief Justice
might, I hoped, suggest to them an honorable way out of the imbroglio for both
the parties. This would also arm
the defenders of the President with a few novel points and
suggest an alternative to the final impeachment.
Therefore, I sent copies by registered post to some of those whose names
were figuring prominently in newspapers at their Capitol Hill addresses.
The list of
names and the respective dates of dispatch (one copy of the book to each)
included: RICHARD GEPHARDT, House Minority Leader on 27th December 98; TRENT
LOTT, Senate Majority Leader on 4th January 1999; DENNIS HASTERT, Speaker of the
House, 8 Jan. 1999; RICHARD ARMEY, House Majority Leader, 8 Jan.; ORRIN HATCH,
Senate Judiciary Chairman, 8 Jan.; Senators MITCH MC CONNELL, ROBERT TORRICELLI,
and RICH SANTORUM, 8 Jan.; and Congressmen TOM DELAY and JOHN LEWIS, also on 8
January; Chief Justice Mr. WILLIAM REHNQUIST on 11th January; and Chairman of
the House Judiciary Committee HENRY HYDE ON 30th January 99.
None of them
cared to acknowledge or reply for obvious reasons except President Clinton, who
sent a card of appreciation purported to have been personally signed by him.
I included my return address on every envelope, and I assume that the
packages all arrived at their destinations, yet none besides the President's was
acknowledged. I have given all
these details so that anyone at their respective offices can confirm the arrival
of this book around the given dates to the above gentlemen.
that the arguments in the book given in "defense" of the President
would convince the congressmen to remain aligned with Bill Clinton if they were
Democrats and to weaken their case if they were Republicans.
I thought it impossible that they would not go through such a relevant
book to the hottest topic in which they themselves were participating. Those who
would read the book would spread the word among their colleagues, and the
collective response could "help."
I also had another lurking intuition that even if the book failed to
capture the imagination of the Congressmen, one of them might show it to a
journalist, who in turn could highlight it. Or a determined publisher---through
a massive quick reproduction of it---would convince the Congress and the
American people that the entire saga was nothing more than a bungled love
affair. And that it did not constitute grounds for an impeachment at all. Then I
would have succeeded.
March 2000, when President Clinton visited the city of my residence (Jaipur, the
Pink City), I made an unsuccessful attempt to see him personally. I met the
advance team at village Nayla, where the President was to attend a local body
meeting, and even at Mansingh Hotel, Jaipur where they were staying. At the
hotel I went with my daughter, a college student, but had to face considerable
embarrassment. With the help of local police officials, I had an appointment
with a security person. Instead, one over-smart American Embassy security
official, in view of my typical turbaned dress, decided to call police. Who
asked me to leave, adding that nobody wanted to meet me, so why was I hanging
around? All this despite my having arranged it through the local police
contacts. In my enthusiasm to have
a few seconds of photo opportunity with the person about whom I thought so much
and even dared write a book about in an effort to "rescue" him, I
barely averted an arrest at the hands of those security zealots.
I believe, in
spite of its relevance having been worn out now, that this still constitutes an
interesting historical question, i.e. whether the President could really
"save" himself at the last minute through the method suggested in this
book. I trust that one can answer
this question only after going through this book. And, after reading it, if one answers in the affirmative,
then I trust I can have the consolation of having spent so much time, energy,
money, and thought to do the right thing at the right time for the right
purpose, and I sincerely believe, for the "right person."
It was all "in the hands of God."
Clearly, God was on his side as always "He" had been.
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