Impeachment-gate versus Censure Native American Style

Censure Indian Style

By Martin Edwin Andersen The Washington Times November 26, 1998 As Con ress loo!s to "oundin "at#ers Ale$ander %amilton and &ames Madison "or uidan'e on im(ea'#in t#e (resident, t#is )#an!s ivin wee!end t#ey mi #t also want to loo! to Native Ameri'an law "or wisdom as well as (ra'ti'al solutions* Clearly t#e im(ea'#ment imbro lio s(ea!s as mu'# about t#e sorry state o" (oliti's today as it does about t#e ri #ts and wron s 'ommitted in t#e (ursuit o" (residential (#ilanderin * +I" t#e (resident was a ,e(ubli'an and t#e s(e'ial (rose'utor (er'eived as a (artisan -emo'rat, it is reasonable to t#in! t#at many o" t#e im(assioned voi'es #eard today would be doin a one.ei #ty on t#e issues be"ore Con ress -emo'rats and ,e(ubli'ans*/ E$am(les "rom Indian law 'an (rovide Ca(itol %ill0s warrin (arties a way out o" t#e le al and (oliti'al im(asse o" Moni'a. ate, a 'risis t#at t#reatens to (oison t#e 1*S* system "or years to 'ome* It is a 'onservative a((roa'#, rooted in t#e 'urative e""e'ts o" s#ame* It is also one t#at 'an s(are t#e 'ountry a s(e'ta'le dreaded in e2ual measure by t#e Ameri'an (ubli' and by our "riends and allies abroad* )#e traditional Indian (ers(e'tive on law "o'uses more on t#e 'ommunity t#an on t#e individual* )ribal em(#asis on re'on'iliation, restitution and #armony was, and is, lar ely in'onsistent wit# (#iloso(#y o" t#e An lo.Ameri'an adversarial system* In t#e (oisoned (artisans#i( o" 3as#in ton today, Native Ameri'an ideas 'an #el( brin (ers(e'tive and (ro(ortionality to t#e debate about w#at is to be done* 4ut sim(ly5 Censure 4resident Clinton, let #im retain t#e o""i'e o" (resident, but ma!e #im move #im out o" t#e 3#ite %ouse "rom now until t#e end o" #is term* )#e 'rimes 'ommitted may or may not be im(ea'#able o""enses, but #e dis ra'ed t#e 3#ite %ouse wit# #is 'ondu't* I" t#e -emo'rats 'laim t#at essentially (rivate a'ts do not 'onstitute im(ea'#able o""enses, t#en surely bein banis#ed "rom t#e livin 2uarters at 1666 4ennsylvania Avenue is bot# a (ro(ortional and a((ro(riate san'tion* ,e(ubli'ans may #ave valid le al ar uments "or im(ea'#ment, but t#ey do not (ossess t#e (oliti'al will to o "orward* Even i" im(ea'#ment was "easible (oliti'ally, it is un'lear w#et#er Mr* Clinton0s mis'ondu't meets t#e ben'#mar! o" #i # 'rimes and misdemeanors* %an in in t#e balan'e are a number o" 'onsiderations, not t#e least o" w#i'# is #ow low 'an t#e t#res#old o be"ore t#e se(aration o" (owers is dama ed* Mere 'ensors#i(, #owever, seems an ina((ro(riate sla( on t#e wrist "or a (resident w#o #as en a ed in ar uably t#e ris!iest 'ondu't ever seen in t#e 3#ite %ouse* )#ere is a le itimate "ear t#at t#is (ale imitation o" &o#n 7ennedy mi #t, a"ter 'ensure, (ull an Andrew &a'!son and lobby a "uture -emo'rati' ma8ority to reverse t#e a'tion and (ut #is (i'ture on a 9: bill* An lo.Ameri'an law is a system o" rules in w#i'# 8usti'e is t#e (rodu't o" an adversarial system* Ea'# side to a dis(ute (resents its 'ase a''ordin to (re.establis#ed rules be"ore a neutral de'ision. ma!er, w#o de'ides w#o #as made t#e best 'ase* In today0s Con ress, it is #ard to ima ine t#e emer en'e o" a Solomoni' ma8ority*

)#ere are a wide variety o" a((roa'#es to 8usti'e amon t#e more t#an ;66 tribes t#at survive in t#e 1nited States today, but in many, 'ertain "undamental similarities e$ist* Most tribal 'ourts em(#asi<e mediation and dis(ute resolution* Several years a o, A(a'#e tribal &ud e Cary =i'enti o""ered me an interestin illustration o" t#e well.de"ined 'urative (ro'ess in#erent in tribal 8usti'e, one t#at allows t#e (er(etrator to s#ow real 'ontrition and t#us #el( restore #armony to t#e 'ommunity* I" two A(a'#es are involved in a "i #t, Mr* =i'ente noted, and one loses a "in er, it is u( to t#e atta'!er to s#ow t#at #e is doin everyt#in in #is (ower to s#ow 'ontrition* )#is oes beyond 8ust 'as# remuneration* >or e$am(le, i" t#e atta'!er o""ers 9;,666 as 'om(ensation but does not seem 'ontrite, t#e vi'tim 'an re8e't t#e o""er and t#e "ormer loses even more status in t#e 'ommunity* %owever, i" t#e atta'!er o""ers t#e money and a sin'ere e""ort at 'ontrition +?I am really sorry* )#is amount will debilitate me "or a lon time, but not li!e you are debilitated "or losin your "in er?/, 8usti'e is seen as #avin been served* Mr* Clinton0s (led e t#at #e will wor! as #ard as #e 'an "or t#e Ameri'an (eo(le is an inade2uate measure o" 'ontrition, (arti'ularly as many disa ree wit# t#e oals o" #is (residen'y* Bein "or'ed to 'ommute daily "rom Blair %ouse or t#e Naval @bservatory to #is wor!s(a'e in t#e 3#ite %ouse (rovides t#e balm o" #umblin e$am(le* Censure, Indian.style, 'ould be made more attra'tive by bi(artisan a reement on e$er'ise o" t#e (residential (ardon* In e$'#an e, Mr* Clinton would #ave to live wit# a uni2ue (unis#ment "or #is unusual 'ondu't* A (unis#ment o" time served livin outside t#e 3#ite %ouse is not li!ely to be reversed by "uture (artisan ma8orities* Co( 'ulture +w#ere t#e end oal is stri'tly (unis#ment/ is antit#eti'al to tribal 'ulture, &ud e =i'enti told me* It is also (oliti'al (oison* It is time t#at 'ontrition and re'on'iliation are iven a '#an'e w#ere men and (arties #ave "ailed* Martin Edwin Andersen writes frequently on Native American issues.
All 'ontent Co(yri #t 2666 The Washington Times LLC and may not be re(ublis#ed wit#out (ermission*

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful