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I am writing in response to the recent letter, "Clinton is such a hypocrite." In so doing, I had to overcome my reluctance to add more words to the cacophony of sounds and images emanating from our nation's capital concerning the ridiculous and disturbing morality play called impeachment.

The writer speaks of the hypocrisy of a philandering president. However, the much worse hypocrisy -- one much more damaging to our nation and our national psyche -- is the moral absolutism being forced upon us by the far-right wing of the Republican Party, the so-called Christian Coalition.

I find nothing Christian in their brand of hypocrisy. While Christ taught love and forgiveness, they preach hate and condemnation.

Clinton sinned against his family, not his nation. It was a private sin that the far right chose to make public. Infidelity is not an impeachable offense and lying about sex is very often the honorable thing to do in order to protect others.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has called this attack upon her husband part of "a vast right-wing conspiracy." I'm not sure if it is vast, but it certainly is pervasive.

One can hear echoes of the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials and, more recently, the McCarthy hearings. In each case, the "far right" assumed the position of moral authority, of absolute truth, from which they felt obliged to judge and condemn those who did not agree with them.

The real danger to our nation is that we can be caught up in this witch-hunt mentality, becoming cynical and distrustful of all public officials.

We are not witnessing an impeachment process, we are witnessing a morality play. Conservative Republicans have been waging a cultural or religious crusade against the president, one in which he figures as a symbol of moral relativism.

They hate Clinton because he defeated them in two elections, doing so by co-opting many of their positions and taking the country toward the center -- where the only real progress can be made -- and where the great majority of Americans are. That is his genius.

James J. Foley Amherst

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