Such titans of the world! Such stanchions of politics, industry and public role models! The Schwarzeneggers, Strauss-Kahns, Ensigns, Gingriches, Madoffs, and so many other dirt bags who aspire and fill our leadership positions are truly no such titans at all. Lest you think I am totally partisan in my criticism, let me also cite the moral incursions of Bill Clinton and those of John Edwards, whose acts of betrayal hit me the deepest. The great American need is to be redeemed. But in order to be redeemed, we must commit morally unacceptable acts. That is the inherent catch-22 of our society. That is the driving factor that permits people to act in violation of their morality and the law. It could be our eventual downfall.
Stupid Arnold: having been unable to stay faithful to his wife and four children, he had to engage in an affair with one of his “household help” and make a baby over a decade ago. It is appalling to me that he refers to the mother of his fifth child as a “member of his household staff.” That grates on me the most. Just like this prince of international monetary policy, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who attacked a hotel maid. What is it with these guys? Besides their base, unfaithful ways, why do they hit on those women in subservient positions?
Strauss-Kahn, former head of the IMF and (formerly) close contender for the French Presidency, has been arrested and charged in NYC after allegations of sexual assault by a maid in the hotel at which he had been staying. Nobody is better than the NYC police department and they hauled his ass off the plane right before it was scheduled to leave the country. Additionally, the judge has denied bail.
This world leader, this socialist political punk, this hypocrite working for the IMF, found himself living off the fat of the IMF, whose mission statement is:
The IMF promotes international monetary cooperation and exchange rate stability, facilitates the balanced growth of international trade, and provides resources to help members in balance of payments difficulties or to assist with poverty reduction.
How could the chief of the IMF, having dedicated itself to the betterment of economic conditions worldwide, find the wherewithal to stay at hotel rooms that cost $4000 per night during his travels? How does that further fair and just global economic principles?
As an aside, here’s a funny story. I will never forget when David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer, was arrested in New York. My mother, permanently scarred by the Nazi hatred of Jews, whispered, “Oh God. He’s Jewish.” It was as if the world would once again come down on the entire Jewish population and the ugly, stereotypical prejudice would rear its ugly head. I imagined her, in her hushed tone, repeating that sentiment when Bernard Madoff was caught. And today, I giggle a bit because she would have said the same thing about Strauss-Kahn: “Oy, he’s Jewish.” Dear mother of mine, that is the least of our worries in today’s corrupt, devil-may-care, narcissistic world.
The worst thing, to me, about these crooks is that they say one thing and then do the opposite. Then we have the next level of scum who, while adhering to societal mores such as marriage first and childbearing afterwards, still play their own moral game of having numerous families a la Trump and Gingrich, of altering the strict behavioral codes they supposedly support all the while designing their own special moral code for their own lives. Newt Gingrich, with his three wives, is now the epitome of morality itself. He claims that his current wife Calista, with whom he was having an affair while still married to his second wife, has made him see the light and that his conversion to her religion of Catholicism has made all the difference. I do not believe that for a minute. His newfound religion is awfully convenient for a run for the Presidency.
Likewise Schwarzenegger has apologized to his wife, his children and the world about his dalliance ten years ago. Puh-lease: words are simply lip service. Where was his moral backbone? The trouble is that he does not have any spine. This is the new strategy, of course only put into action if the scoundrel has been caught: fess up, apologize and hopefully, continue on one’s ambitious, personal crusade. John Ensign tried to play the game but got his ass kicked pretty badly.
Similarly, I find it laughable that Bristol and Sarah Palin are now the face for teenage sexual abstinence. Once again, America has a penchant for that good old-fashioned redemption. Life is not worth living if we stick to the straight and narrow from the get-go. Oh no: in order for us to be forgiven and redeemed we must commit some atrocious act. I guess the Devil made them do it. Now let’s get on with the redemption and forgiveness. There. How’s that for a blueprint to act unethically?
Perhaps the only real retaliation to these gluttons of pleasure, greed and hypocrisy is to focus on the good guys. Such family men as Joe Biden and Barack Obama should get the acclaim and attention for their family loyalty and ethical behavior. Such captains of industry, like Warren Buffett, who has never paid himself more than $100,000 in annual salary, earmarked most of his vast fortune to the Gates Foundation and during his business trips stays at hotels that are very modest.
The worst offenders should be wiped off the face of our earth, or at least off of our front pages. If punishment is called for, as in the cases of Madoff and Strauss-Kahn, it should be meted out and then we should co-opt their media attention with news of the good guys. Most regular Americans are more upset by these leaders’ lies than with their sexual peccadilloes, financial corruption and abuse of public funds. Perhaps that is the crux of the matter: the actual unethical deeds have become acceptable to the public, or at least they are interpreted as being unstoppable. Therefore, the anger of the people is directed at the duplicity of these rats. It is as if the corrupt acts cannot be halted so our only alternative is to harp on the lies. No my dear Americans: first it is necessary to disallow the initial deeds. Those should not be forgotten or minimized.
Wouldn’t our world be a better place if we just did away with this urge to be redeemed? Our society would be a much better place if we adhered to an ethical code and laws on the books in the first place. This need to act badly would disappear. Redemption can get so complicated; why not skip it entirely? That would describe a true titan.