BY SKEPTIK SINKIKIAN
The famous Greek comic and dramatist of the 5th century BC–Aristophanes–once observed that "Under every stone lurks a politician." I’ve read volumes–essay after essay–article upon article–all on politicians and politics–and have yet to come across anyone who has been able to describe politicians as accurately as good ol’ Aristophanes.
Why did I remember this quote–you ask? Well–it seems as though a politician that had crawled back under his rock 4 years ago has decided to reemerge having shed his old skin for one more slippery. The political serpent I want to draw your attention to is one Dennis Hastert currently serving as Speaker of the US House of Representatives. In August of 2000–Dennis "the Menace" Hastert met with Armenian community leaders in Glendale and pledged to bring the Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res. 398 at the time) to the House floor for a vote.
I was hesitant to take Hastert at his word considering the only reason he was even meeting with Armenia’s was because his protg–Congressman James Rogan–who will be best remembered for his role as a prosecuting manager in the House Impeachment hearings against President Clinton–was up for reelection and in the race of his life. Every eye in the nation was on the Armenia’s to see who they would support. Hastert’s visit was politically motivated but he did "promise" he’d bring the bill up for a vote–I thought. Even I got caught up with the moment–thinking that finally our Congress had the guts to flex its muscles against Turkey and put this bully of a nation in its place. Two months later–Armenia’s were abandoned and left hanging in the wind.
Before we recall how the bill died–I want you to read the statement by Hastert at this meeting that I found on the Armenian National Committee’s website.
"We have paved the way. It is our intent to carry it to the floor," said Hastert. "I voted for this resolution in the 100th Congress?We are working to move this legislation forward now," he continued.
Here’s an excerpt from another press release from the ANC two months later. "Citing Clinton Administration claims that its consideration would threaten American lives–Speaker Hastert withdraws measure only momen’s before adoption by the House of Representatives." Devious serpent–Hastert be thy name!
Citing Clinton claims? What’s that supposed to mean? This was the same guy that wouldn’t believe the President on whether he had sex or oral sex or whatever else kind of sex. He criticized every single Clinton policy under the sun. And now he was taking Clinton’s advice? So–Dennis–let me get this straight. You and President Clinton disagree on everything from what the definition of "is" is to whether men have to be straight in order to shoot straight in the US army–but when it comes to the issue of the Armenian Genocide and its recognition–somehow–you two kids seem to get along just fine?
Ok–Ok–calm down–Skeptik. You know that when you get like this–your blood pressure goes up and you can’t finish your column with something cute or clever. Count backwards from 10. Das–eeneh–oot?
Folks–I’m writing this article to give credit to the Fresno Armenia’s for doing something that nobody else is doing. They are planning to protest Speaker Dennis Hastert’s visit to Fresno at a fundraiser for a local Republican Congressional Candidate. I read it in an email that a friend sent to me and even though I won’t be there in person–I want to encourage everyone who will not be in Fresno–to call Speaker Hastert’s office and leave so many messages that the machine shuts down. We need to let Hastert know that we were not born yesterday and that he should crawl back under the rock from whence he came.
Call Hastert right after you’re done reading this article. I’ll make it easier for you– Here’s the phone number–(202) 225-2976. Don’t email. No one reads emails anymore. They’ll just delete it as spam especially if it has a heading like "Recognize Genocide Now–from [email protected]" Call them up and talk their ears off. If Hastert isn’t going to bring the current Genocide Resolution up for a vote and if he’s going to come to Fresno–where Soghomon Tehlirian is buried–Antranig Pasha called home–and where the Asbarez was founded–then by God–we’re going to give it to him from both barrels. Keep on fighting for justice and never give up!
Skeptik Sinikian is deathly afraid of snakes–spiders–and other slimy creatures like politicians who make promises they can’t keep. He lives in Glendale–but every Armenian community in the world is his home. He can be reached at [email protected]