Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oh God, not this "sophisiticated European" crap again

If you go here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/so-john-edwards-had-an-af_b_203742.html

to the Huffington Post, you'll find an article by a Johann Hari, a columnist for the London Independent, entitled, "So Jonathan Edwards Had an Affair -- Grow Up, Adultery is not a Political Issue."

Hari invokes the Monica Lewinski scandal:

"Memo to America: Grow. Up. Have you forgotten the lesson of Lewinsky so soon? While al-Qa'ida plotted a murderous attack on the US, the twice-elected president was busy being impeached over a few bouts of consensual oral sex. It meant nothing. It was nothing. But it skewed your politics for years."

Hari is half-right here. Outraged and uptight Republicans focused on the sex aspect of l'affair Lewinski to the point where the real issue was totally obscured.

The real issue was perjury - lying under oath, and witness tampering. And that damn well does impact the issue of whether a public official is fit to serve.

A society can survive a high crime rate, even a high violent crime rate. What it cannot survive is allowing the trivialization of perjury, and witness and jury tampering. Tolerate these - for any reason, and you haven't got a justice system left.

A lawyer once pointed out to me, that if a prosecutor finds evidence of witness tampering by a murder suspect, many would happily drop the murder charge if they could send the perp up on the tampering charge.

But our pols evidently don't have to live under the same law as the rest of us.

Hari goes on:

"It doesn't have to be this way. Continental Europe has a mature model where politicians' affairs are considered irrelevant. The idea a French President would be debarred from office for sleeping with somebody other than his wife is preposterous.

Talking about "a right to know" about affairs is silly. We no more have a right to know about Edward's sex life than we have a right to know what he looks like naked."

True enough. When Francoise Mitterand died, his wife and his mistress (with her daughter by him) walked in the funeral procession hand-in-hand.*

I did not then, nor do I now give a frak who Bill Clinton, or Jonathan Edwards, sleeps with.** If I were the president of this land, I'd have a hareem in the East Wing of the White House. (Uh, you know I'm kidding honey. Just making a point!)

I care about taking an oath seriously, and I care about courage.

Caught out in lies that were certain to be uncovered eventually, neither of these wimps had the guts to look the press in the eye and say, "Who I sleep with is none of your damn business!"

Once a pol does this and makes it stick, then maybe we'll grow up and become tres European.

*Interesting side note. Some years back I asked a Japanese fellow-grad student about then-Prime Minister Tanaka, and how the Japanese press treated the fact that he had a traditional arrangement with a concubine and second family in a house across town from his wife and primary family. (I'd read it in Newsweek.)

She answered, "Oh, does he?"

She wasn't shocked you understand. She just didn't know. Which answered my question.

**Although I've got to say, what the hell is wrong with these guys' taste? They've got access to some of the most beautiful women on the continent - and they get caught with a pudgy Valley Girl and a skank groupie.


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