Buffalo Bills Impeach Iraq
The Day The Buffalo Bills Impeached Iraq
It was the second Saturday in December, 1999. Our football team, The Buffalo Bills, were in a shoot out with our much despised down state rivals, the New York Jets. The game was important in deciding who would get home field advantage in the coming play-offs. The spirited rivalry of the two teams goes all of the way back into the days of the American Football League in the early 1960's, when the Jets were still the New York Titans. Life as we know it came to a virtual halt in Western New York as the faithful got ready to view the contest.
It also happened to be the day that the House of Representatives was scheduled to take a formal vote on four counts of Impeachment against our sitting President, William Jefferson Clinton.
A pizza and several beers were before us, as we watched the green clad rivals engage in a spirited shoot out with our home team in blue. Dan Rather and the news men kept breaking in on the game to give us annoying updates on the voting in the House of Representatives. To Bills fans, this was almost as big an affront as the famous "Heidi game. There, the final few climactic moments of a Jets game had been sliced off to show the beginning of the old classic movie "Heidi, starring Shirley Temple.The resulting public outrage had shaken the airwaves. And now they were doing it again for something as silly as the formal impeachment of a President of the United States. Will they never learn?
In addition, the news men kept interjecting green tinted visuals, from Baghdad, of U.S. Cruise missiles slamming into Command and Control sites in Iraq. The military action was taken to punish Iraq for non-compliance with the United Nations inspection of sites used in the making of weapons of mass destruction.Or, at least that was the official line anyways.
Popular bar room wisdom had it that old Bill had pulled a "wag the dog, on the day of the impeachment vote, to divert attention away from Washington.The term refers to a popular movieWag The Dog in which a President finds himself in hot water similar to Bill's. He hires Hollywood producers to stage manage a small telegenic war that will take the attention away from his troubles. The concept worked in the movies. And, if we could believe our own eyes, in real life too.
The Christmas Tree was twinkling in the background of our living room, as green tinted bombs were falling on Iraq. Helmeted members of the Jets and Bills seemed to be running across the lawn of the Capitol Building with news anchor Dan Rather calling the play by play.An "Aye vote for article one of impeachment was cast as the striped jerseyed referee threw a yellow penalty flag and a cruise missile exploded on a green tinted command center in Baghdad.
The time warping from Buffalo to Baghdad to Washington and back, in milliseconds, was mildly disorienting. Was the penalty flag for the Iraqis and the missile for congress or were the jets being impeached by the Bills. It was getting confusing. And even the damn pizza was getting cold from watching this dizzying array of visuals flash before us on the television screen.I wonder if Congress gets to vote on an instant replay call or do the Jets get to launch the missiles?
What would someone from an undeveloped country make of this scene if he were to see television for the first time during the game. Would he be out raged at the fifteen yard penalty assessed to the Iraqis? Or just curious as to why the Bills were getting hit with Cruise missiles for voting to impeach the Iraq?
As the drama unfolded in out of sequence vignettes, Bill Clinton got impeached, the Iraqis got a pounding and so unfortunately did the Bills. Some days nothing seems to go right!
In any case, the Bills were still in the playoffs, Bill Clinton and the Iraqis are both thumbing their noses at somebody and we plan to tune in next Saturday when the House of Representatives challenges the Iraqis to a game of pick up volley ball with Bill Clinton as the referee. Who says we have a short attention span?
Joseph Xavier Martin