This is a speech I wish President Clinton would give:
I am, today, resigning the office of president because I believe such action best serves the interests of my country, my family and myself.The simplest reason I can give is that the president and leader of the free world must hold himself to a higher standard than I have. But let me explain more personally and in more detail: Through my own mistakes, I have come to realize that personal values and private behavior do matter. Indeed, they matter more than anything else. Whether we choose to call our values "beliefs," "morality," "ethics" or "commandments," they are the deepest, truest core of who we are. They are the key to our individual and collective happiness and well-being, and they are the mortar that holds our families and our society together. Let me list at least five values that I believe in but that I have violated: fidelity; honesty; self-discipline; respect; and loyalty. Let me mention a sixth value - forgiveness. I am having a difficult time forgiving myself - as are so many of you. I hope my resignation will help us both.
I believe that by resigning the presidency, I can accomplish (or at least set in motion) a healing process on three levels:
1. Personal: It will facilitate my own process of repentance - my effort to repair my own character and my relationship with God, whose forgiveness and help I seek.
2. Family: It will allow me to focus on trying to save and restore what is most important and most valuable to me and to all right thinking persons - my marriage and my family.
3. Societal: It will save the country from a protracted and distracting legal and political battle and allow us, instead, to continue a much more healthy dialogue - the re-examination of what is right and wrong - the discussion of personal values and the potential "values renaissance" that could become the silver lining or the positive legacy of this whole episode.
Indeed, I hope and pray that this kind of dialogue and debate will go on and even gain momentum - a discussion of what is right and wrong, of values and how they relate to individual happiness and to the strength of our country. For myself, I have come to believe (largely through the pain of my personal mistakes) that marital infidelity and sexual promiscuity are the most basic kinds of dishonesty and the core causes of family disintegration and breakup. Conversely, fidelity and the prioritizing of family is the key to personal as well as societal security. I have also seen how one value connects to other values. By violating one value, we are led to violate other values; and by restoring one value in our lives, we tend to restore and re-establish all values.
The real danger is amorality - where neither right nor wrong (or consequences) are discussed and where "everyone is doing it" becomes the excuse for valueless behavior.
My hope is this: That my mistakes and the penance I am paying, including my resignation, will spark the personal and societal re-examination of values that can revitalize and restructure the moral fiber of this nation.
Vice President, soon-to-be-President, Al Gore will continue the political and national policy and priorities we have set together, and I hope that the results of these will be one legacy that I leave. But I hope that the greater legacy will be the re-evaluation and recommitment to values that will make individuals happier, families stronger and America better.