American Puritanism and Eliot Spitzer
March 15, 2008 1 Comment
From the pen of Tom Clancy,
The dollar was already falling… In Europe, traders on their way home heard their cellular phones start beeping to call them back. Something unexpected was afoot. Analysts wondered if it had anything to do with the developing sex scandal within the American government. Europeans always wondered at the American fixation with the sexual dalliances of politicians. It was foolish, puritanical, and irrational, but it was real to the American political scene, and that made it a relevant factor in how they handled American securities. — From Debt of Honor, emphasis mine
Thought this relevant in light of the revelations emanating from the state of New York earlier this week. I have a European co-worker who more or less agrees with Clancy’s take.
To a lesser degree, my admiration for Pres. Bill Clinton was not stifled when the Lewinsky scandal broke, but in fact it grew. My “reasoning” had to do with what I, in my darkened understanding, perceived his dalliance with a woman half his age as a sign of the man’s virility. I wholeheartedly agreed (past tense) with comedian Chris Rock in thinking that it was all Hillary’s fault. As the ever witty Rock commented,
A man is only as faithful as his options
Al Mohler wrote a compelling and insightful post on the media’s treatment of the Spitzer scandal,
It would seem that the Los Angeles Times writer would wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Clancy’s assessment especially in light of their admiration of the French reaction to the marital troubles of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s.
The Times concludes in a manner eerily reminiscent of Clancy’s prose,
The French example makes one wonder when Americans will begin handling the flammable mixture of sex and politics more sensibly.
In his book, Jesus among Other Gods, Ravi Zacharias took me back to that time. Albeit, I’m reading the recollection from a vastly different perspective than when I admired Pres. Clinton for his infidelity.
The venerable Zacharias observes,
In our moral contradiction, an amazing cultural mood was uncovered. The president’s famous line that “it all depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is,” sent reporters scampering onto the streets with the question of the century:
“Do words have a fixed meaning, or may we give them any meaning we choose?” (What would encroach upon itself more than purveyors of words inquiring if words have any meaning, while using words to ask the question?)
To the utter “surprise” of the surveyors, most people seemed to agree that words can sometimes mean different things to different people, assuming, of course, that there was no equivocation in meaning as the question was posed and the anwer given.
That prompted the next question: “Is morality an absolute or a private matter?” The overwhelming response came back that morality is a private matter.
These have been confusing times we have been living in, though it is not the times that are confused but the beings who find themselves trapped in them.