Seeing Is Believing

Ah, Monica. The face that launched a thousand dirty jokes, the valley girl who brought new meaning to presidential service.

Tomorrow, house prosecutors get their wish: the chance to look into her eyes -- or at least their designated looker
Congressman Ed Brian of Tennessee will get his chance when he interviews her.

When prosecutors told senators they needed to look into Monica's eyes to get the full flavor of the case, Tom Daschle, the leader of the Democrats, wondered if all 100 senators would have to take turns sitting in the front row in his seat to get a good look.

A lot of eye contact, for sure, but what would they see?

Writing in the New Yorker, editor David Remnick says we've come to see in Monica what we want to see, the innocent brought low to some, the retrograde temptress to others.

But it goes even beyond that. The whole process has become a giant reflector, one of those funhouse mirrors where distorted from time to time by the hypocrisy of modern politics we see a reflection of the differences over basic values that has come to characterize modern American culture.

Far more significant than the outcome of the O.J. trial is what it told us about the racial divide in America, that blacks and whites looked at the same television screen and saw different pictures.

Perhaps more significant than the outcome of Bill Clinton's trial will be our reaction to the larger questions it presents: what do we want from our leaders?

Should we expect more or less from them than we expect from ourselves? Or does it really matter? Looking at Monica won't tell us much about that.

Reported by Bob Schieffer
©1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved


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