Thursday, March 13, 2008

Practice in the Mirror: "I Am Not a Crook!"

Interesting to follow the hullaballoo about Eliot Spitzer. Not being from New York, I have no background of knowledge nor conviction about the man or his career, so I come to this out of the blue. Which sounds like how the news came to those in the know: like a thunderbolt.

I can't bring myself to give a shit about the sexual behavior of consenting adults, and I don't get how government even gets involved (that is, provided there is no coercion involved). If a woman is willing to take a guy's money for sex, and the guy is willing to pay for it, I just can't find a foothold to care.

But a person must be held to the standards which they demand of others, especially if those standards bring dire consequences to other people. Like the priest who keeps a tight yoke on his flock's sexual behavior yet regularly dupes the alter boys into changing his oil, a man who makes a good living and garners spectacular press off of breaking up prostitution rings yet clandestinely partakes himself needs to be brought down in the most forceful way. It isn't that his sin should not be forgiven, it's that he himself loudly and publicly defined the act as unforgivable. Spitzer is being pounded with his own hammer. (I can only wonder that his wife doesn't say "Do your own fucking press conference; I'll be at my lawyer's!")

I expect this kind of you-all-have-to-follow-the-rules-but-I-don't behavior from the legions of oily, self-righteous Republican scumbags--guys like Jimmy Swaggart and Larry Craig and Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, hypocrites all--who love to wrap themselves in the flag and carry their Bibles. Hell, the setup and downfall is so commonplace that it's become a cliché. But here's yet another reminder that there are dirtballs of every political stripe (not that I've ever been much more inclined to trust Democrats). Either politics and power attract the ethically-handicapped, or it makes monsters of otherwise solid citizens; but whatever the cause / effect sequence, this is what we've come to expect from those who would lead us.

Thus do they get swept out with their own broom; but, unfortunately, only to make room for the next scumbag off the bus.


GreenCanary said...

It's the classic "chicken or the egg" question. But with prostitutes.

Joshua said...

"The sign that points to Boston doesn't have to GO to Boston"

Hypocracy, I guess, doesn't really bother me. If we mind the actions of the politicians, the words can never distract us.

Here's the crux, for me: While I personally think prostitution to be one of the many things which ought be legal, it isn't. And as long as it isn't legal, officers acting for the law, which is functioning for the government of our people, cannot participate. They are the face of our system, and, for the majority of the populous, that face is more important than, I think, they realize.

All that being said, he overpaid.

wunelle said...

Yeah, when Clinton was getting his for free...

Karlo said...

I agree that it's the hypocrisy that makes this person's failings stand out. I suppose there's also the issue that politicians doing things on the sly can also be blackmailed to betray the public's trust (not that this isn't happening constantly anyway, with the constant flow of lobbying money).

wunelle said...

Do the ends justify the means? I've heard people say that Spitzer did so much good that his foibles should be forgiven when balanced against the benefits he brings. But that's basically saying that so long as my taxes get lowered then I don't care if the person doing it has integrity. How can he move mountains against governmental corruption if he is himself corrupt? (And again; it's not that he prevented a world war while cheating on his wife: a good part of his legacy was to make guys cheating on their wives a beheading offense.)

"Any legal code worthy of the name restricts the enforcers of the law as well as its subjects; there are some things you cannot do."

(from the 2001 Frank Pierson movie Conspiracy)

Sixdegrees said...

Yep - shades of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again".

The bad news - we will get fooled again. The good news - but only for a while.