I was trying to think of a title for my blog post today and my buddy Pete suggested that. His highly original and mature take on the entire situation basically rang true for all of my interactions with the story. As I watched CNN yesterday afternoon at lunch and the story broke that Client 9, or Governer Eliot Spitzer of New York, has been involved in a high class prostitution ring, I was dumbstruck. To hear that his encounter had transpired in the Mayflower, of all places, was even more incredible. A friend of mine came over to watch after I pointed out the story, and his only response was, “I sure hope he’s not a Democrat.”
Is that what our country’s come to? A huge scandal that rocks an entire state’s bureaucracy, makes the state question their elected officials, and ruins the lives of countless people due to his assumed forthcoming resignation, and we hope that it’s a Republican who screwed up? How partisan can we be? How divided and cynical can we get? Do we honestly have to mock everything that happens in America today?
This guy spends $4300 on a sexual encounter with a hooker in a storied hotel in downtown DC while his wife and kids spend the night up in New York thinking everything is okay. And it immediately becomes this huge joke to people around the country. Am I claiming some moral superiority? Of course not. I think it’s shitty what’s happening that all of these people think that they can get away with things like this – Mark Foley, Larry Craig, all the way back to Gary Hart and Marion Barry. But the point is not what party they represent but that they think they’re somehow above the law. This former Attorney General of eight years certainly seemed to think so. The thing is, I’m not above this. None of us are. Yet we love to make fun of the guy and turn everything into a joke instead of considering what’s the cause. For some reason, we choose to tease and to rib and to ridicule instead of to wonder about some deeper cause. This world is fucked up, and our response is to merely distance ourselves from it even more.
Do we hold our elected officials to a higher standard? Of course we do, as they should be. But do we take real joy in taking them down once they’ve screwed up? Is the schadenfreude really that intense that we experience happiness by openly ripping apart the fallen and ruined? Unfortunately, it almost seems like we look forward with bated breath and jagged teeth to the next public downfall.