Politics and Sex
Posted March 24, 2008on:
This time, the so-called victim is New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. On March 10 The New York Times reported that Spitzer had been involved in a prostitution ring. This news finally turned Spitzer into a joke in the American politics.
The Governor had nothing much to say. He tried to look strong and confident but his eyes could not hide his sorrowful emotion and with his wife Silda on his right side he said, “I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me. To every New Yorker and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.”
Spitzer, who was once known as Mr. Clean for his efforts to fight against corruption in Wall Street while serving as the New York Attorney General, ended his bright political career. The person who had been projected to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2012 ended his political career with shame.
Interestingly, David Paterson who took over Spitzer’s position last Monday has admitted that he had extramarital affairs with several different women from 1999 until 2001. His wife has also admitted that she had an affair in the past.
As you know it, Eliot Spitzer is not the first public humiliation in American politics. The most famous political sex scandal in American politics is no doubt the former president Bill Clinton’s affair with his intern Monica Lewinsky. The scandal almost threw Bill Clinton out of the White House.
Several days after the news about his sexual relations broke Bill Clinton gave a famous press conference denying his sexual relations with Lewinsky. He said, “Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time, never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.”
But, later we found out Bill Clinton actually had done it.
Another famous American political sex scandal is Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey who proudly said, “I’m a gay American.” McGreevey resigned three months later after committing that he had sexual relations with his aide and driver, Teddy Pederson.
What were those guys thinking?
Leon Hoffman, former chairman of the American Psychoanalytic Association’s public information committee, said that politicians are human too just like us. But then Hoffman explained, “There’s the psychology of the exception. People in power sometimes feel they can do things that us, mere mortals, are forbidden to do. There’s a sense, as with adolescents, that ‘I won’t get caught.”‘
Politicians are indeed human too just like us who can make stupid decisions. But the difference is that ordinary people don’t have power while high-ranking politicians do have power and that power tends to make them feel more immune than others. The feeling of having power sometimes causes them to have an I-can-catch-you-but-you-can’t-catch-me mindset.
Lord Acton once famously said, “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Because of that reason, Eliot Spitzer was caught using e-mails, text messages, and phone calls to arrange sex with a prostitute. The same electronic devices Spitzer had used to catch the bad guys when he was the New York Attorney General.
What about Indonesian politicians? Aren’t they human too?
Surprisingly, we don’t really witness sex scandals in the Indonesian politics. The latest sex scandal in Indonesian politics that I can remember was the sex video of an Indonesian parliament member in 2006. But, that was not really a sex scandal since his wife claimed that he was a victim of guna-guna.
In a country like America a transparent political system is a must and its news media are working hard to make sure that every political hypocrite can be caught and turned into a headline. On the other hand, a transparent political system is something that Indonesian public is not able to enjoy. I believe it is the duty of every newspaper, magazine, or TV station to make our political system work: Where the politicians do what they say they do.
Picture was taken from here.