Heroism is Many Things: James Rogan, A Political Hero

by Stephanie Janiczek
Clash Daily Guest Contributor

roganI am currently reading a book by a man I consider to be a hero, James E. Rogan. The book is called Catching Our Flag and it is about what went on behind closed doors during the Clinton Impeachment. Rogan was a congressman representing the 27th California Congressional District and is one of two men ever to serve on both the House Commerce Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. He was also one of the House Impeachment Managers during the Clinton Impeachment and he prosecuted the case at the Senate Trial.

At the time the Clinton Impeachment did not seem so large. It was the “silly” 1990s and in remembering the zeitgeist of that time period the impeachment would not have been considered “interesting times”, more like staring at a car accident and admiring it. In a world where OJ Simpson was a Cultural object d’ art the whole rubber necking at a car accident makes perfect sense . But in retrospect the biggest storms are announced by the smallest of events.

At the time Monica’s blue dress might have seemed a tawdry reminder of our very fallible president’s inability to say no or control himself. But considering the other current events that were occurring, including the terrorist attacks on our embassies in Africa by a group of terrorists who called themselves Al Qaeda, who were led by an Islamic fanatic named Osama bin Laden, Monica’s blue dress was a cry for Americans to become adults again and to take the world seriously and to hold their political leaders accountable. We would pay dearly for our decade away from history and adulthood. We still are paying for that decade.

People were either enraged by the lies the President told about his affair with Monica Lewinski under oath or were enraged that anyone cared enough to want him impeached. And those who wanted Clinton impeached and put on trial were in the minority. Into this maelstrom of political savagery Jim Rogan walked head held high, knowing full well that back at home the people in his district were against the impeachment. But sometimes doing the right thing means you are the one person who stands alone in the face of a very angry mob.

Rogan did what had to be done. Clinton lied under oath. Clinton broke the law, and committed perjury. Presidents are not infallible. Clinton was not the victim in this mess either. Monica Lewinsky and every other women Clinton victimized over the decades were the casualties of Clinton’s hubris and a media that made up a whole mythology about the events that led to the impeachment in order to protect Bill Clinton. It took a very brave man to do what Rogan did. He knew it put his political career at stake. Bill Clinton had a 70 percent approval rating, and Rogan went into the prosecution of Clinton barely clinging to his congressional seat. But popularity means nothing when the popular person is a liar and breaks the law of the land.

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