Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Should We Really Be All That Surprised?

Another public figure, Governor Eliot Spitzer, has bit the dust in relation to a sex scandal; i.e. for engaging in something other than society-approved sex within the context of marriage. The public reaction, in the media and elsewhere, is shocked indignation.

Shocked indignation? Come on, now, people. Scandals such as this one occur with such regularity as to be nearly ubiquitous. People naively put public figures onto moral pedestals and never fail to be shocked when it is proven time and time again, that these people are just as human as the rest of us.

Some of what I've been reading on this latest scandal du jour takes the opinion that what they object to isn't so much the type of sex he engaged in, that prostitution should be legal, blah, blah, blah, but rather the blatant hypocrisy involved.

Indeed, Spitzer's preferred public image has always been that of a valiant moral crusader working to clean up society. According to Susie Bright in an article on Alternet, Spitzer, in 2004, spoke "with revulsion" after announcing his arrest of eighteen people who ran an escort business out of Staten Island.

But, again, should we really be all that shocked? Invariably, those public figures who are brought down by scandals of this nature, are always the ones who hooted and hollered the loudest about the so-called "moral decline" of our society.

Personally, I'm not the least bit shocked or surprised by these types of scandals as I've always believed that the ones who squeal the loudest about morality are the very same ones who have the kinkiest types of skeletons rattling around in their closets. We've seen this truth recently with David Vitter, Larry Craig, and Ted Haggard, and in past years with Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker, just to name a few.

Personally, I'd not be surprised if nearly all of the self-righteous public moralists did not have a skeleton or two in their closets. Denial and hypocrisy seem to be required in order to be a moral busybody in our society.

My reaction to these kinds of scandals is usually to point out that government officials were not elected to uphold certain tenets of private, personal morality and that the public should only be concerned with how they do their jobs.

But the ones who decry the hypocrisy of these people, no matter how expected it is, are essentially right. Those who make it their business to police the private morality of others when they should be concerned solely with their own behavior, should rightly have their asses tacked to the wall when they cannot and will not practice what they preach.

Better an honest, open "sinner", than a phony, hypocritical "saint".


1 comment:

Winter said...

Classic people who live in glass houses. I'm never surprised either. I think they're all sleazes in hiding.