Thursday, November 22, 2012

When the Saints Come Marching In

Trey Smith

We need a Slut Moment.

As CIA director, David Petraeus led an organization that carries out extrajudicial assassinations, overthrows foreign heads of state and fires drone missiles at innocent civilians. For his performance as a leading state terrorist, General Petraeus received four stars, 28 motorcycle policemen to escort him to a girlfriend’s house, and nearly universal acclaim.

For cheating on his wife, he was forced to resign in disgrace. (Since his lover, a West Point graduate, was not a spy, national security was not at issue.)

What is wrong with our values?

I wouldn’t lay it on quite as thickly as John Prados, senior research fellow at the National Security Archive did in The Washington Post: “Because of an affair that had already ended, the nation this month lost the services of a highly skilled public servant. The hysterical reaction to the news of then-CIA Director David Petraeus’s liaison with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, has done more to harm national security than the affair itself.”

I’d hate to think that one man’s departure would hurt the CIA’s assassination and coup productivity.

Still, I agree with Prados’s broader point. What happened to Petraeus — and Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer and Bill Clinton and Larry Craig and John Edwards — was stupid.

Whether you’re a small-government conservative or a liberal libertine, one thing all Americans ought to agree upon is that we’re entitled to privacy in our sex lives.

As long as the sex is consensual, what happens in the bedroom — or the coffee room off the Oval Office or the Minneapolis airport men’s room — is nobody’s business but the two people involved. Or three. Or seven.

Maybe a mongoose. With verifiable consent.

Cheating on your spouse shouldn’t cost you your career. Especially when so many of us do it.
~ from Awaiting a Slut Moment: Everybody Cheats. When Will We Admit It? by Ted Rall ~
I have touched on this topic before. It just strikes me as weird that illicit sexual escapades can bring down powerful leaders, religious icons and celebrities like few other scandals. 

You can exploit others -- financially and/or emotionally -- and that often won't get you dismissed. Your decisions can lead to the deaths of a few or thousands and that's okay. You can subvert democracy, pay off officials, pollute the planet and atmosphere like there is no tomorrow and throw tens of thousands of people out of work -- most of this doesn't cause even a ripple in boardrooms and the halls of government across the land.

But if you fail to keep your zipper zipped or your brassiere on, too often you find yourself in hot water!  Sleep with the wrong person and you may find yourself in the headlines...and unemployed.

Rall points to the study conducted by Shere Hite which indicated that over 70% of married people cheat on their spouses at one time or another.  Personally, I think that figure is a wee bit high, but there is no question in my mind that extramarital affairs are prevalent in our society.

As Rall comments, "When anywhere from a quarter to three-quarters of a population does something, it’s not a moral failing. It’s standard human behavior."

Why is it that we expect governmental and business leaders to live like saints...when the rest of us don't?  Why do we expect them to be Puritans?  More importantly, how can we expect them to be unquestionably chaste when they, like us, grow up in a society that is patently unchaste?

I can think of numerous reasons why I would have liked to have seen David Petraeus removed from office.  Having sexual relations with someone other than his wife ain't one of them!

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