By Joe Rector

I admit it. I’m addicted to coverage of the political drama that is playing out on the cable networks. No, I’m not a fan of the president, but rest assured that neither am I a fan of those Democrats like Warren and Sanders. I’m more of a middle-of-the-road guy who eschews the calls from either extreme wing. With that said, the constant airing of information about the fights between parties draws me in. It’s not the first time such a situation has captured me.

On January 8, 1973, the Watergate Hearings began. I was in college and too busy to spend much time keeping up with events. That changed on July 23, when President Nixon refused to turn over taped conversations. I was sucked into the coverage and spent as much time as possible watching the televised hearings.

At the time, I was working a summer job with a construction contractor. He sent me to a house in West Hills where my job was to use a steamer to strip several layers of wallpaper from kitchen walls. On one counter sat a small television. For days, many more than were required for the job, I pulled paper, scalded my forearms with water droplets from the steam, and watched such notable personalities as Sam Ervin, Howard Baker, and Fred Thompson uphold the laws of our country and expose the corruption of the Nixon White House. In the end, I sadly watched Nixon resign from the office and even felt a bit of pity for the man as he waved “V’s” to the crowd before boarding the helicopter that would take him off to infamy.

All too soon, the country returned to impeachment inquiries. Bill Clinton, a brilliant politician with a weakness for women, was in trouble for his actions with Monica Lewinsky. Although these indiscretions didn’t lead to an impeachment trial, charges of perjury and obstruction of justice did him in. He remained president when the Senate failed to vote to remove him from office.

I watched the hearings on a limited basis since I was teaching school at the time. I worried what another ouster of a president would do to our country. In disbelief, I watched as Clinton verbally sparred with investigators and hedged answering a question with that infamous line: “It depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.” Anyone listening knew that the man was playing games to try to save his skin. He survived the process but has since carried a rather unwanted reputation.

We’re back at it. President Trump is now the subject of an impeachment inquiry. Information has come to the forefront just in the last couple of weeks that paints the actions of the present administration in a dim light.

I’m engrossed in the entire thing. The newest information centers around a phone call. It also has tentacles that ensnare the Secretary of State and the Attorney General of the Department of Justice, and the president’s personal attorney. The president sets off a tweet storm that includes plenty of name-calling and half-truths or lies. We citizens are stuck in the middle to watch the impeachment exercise play out. I suspect that the coming days will produce facts that will seal the fate one way or the other.

I’ll watch this debacle until the end. The best outcome will be one that restores the U.S. to its former glory and place in the world. The individuals that loses this debate will retreat to lick their wounds and figure out what went wrong. The truth of the matter is that folks like me who have lived through 3 of the 4 impeachment proceedings are ready for honest, patriotic, qualified leaders in all branches of government.