Saturday, May 5, 2007

Getting a Little Political -- Part 2

Second topic: How is it possible to be willing to vote for Hillary? To use a gender-inappropriate term, Hillary was cuckolded. She was cuckolded more publicly and more embarrassingly than anyone else has ever been cuckolded in the history of the world.

That's not her fault.

Her husband is (or am I to believe that he's reformed and should I change that "is" to a "was"?) a lecher. That's no secret. It never was. I think we pretty much all knew it going in.

I remember having a conversation with a friend who was volunteering for his campaign in 1992. I asked her whether she thought he was merely the best of the available choices or whether she honestly believed in him and trusted him. (Her answer surprised me greatly. To me, even then--before he was elected, before all of the scandals broke--it seemed quite obvious that he should not be considered a fine, upstanding, decent member of the community, worthy of admiration and respect. To put a word on it, he was a slimeball. That has no bearing on how well he governed or what he was or wasn't able to accomplish while in office. But it's fair to note, as a matter of historical record, that it was out there.)

I repeat: That's not Hillary's fault.

However, she didn't divorce him. And that's not even what really bugs me about Hillary--not exactly. I'm not terribly concerned that she didn't divorce him at any given moment during that whole mess. I'm not terribly concerned that she didn't divorce him the second after his second term in office ended. What concerns me is that every day that goes by is yet another day when she hasn't divorced him.

That is her fault.

And when I say "her fault", I don't mean "a consequence for which she is to be blamed". What I mean is "her flaw". Namely, by not divorcing him, every single day that goes by, she demonstrates quite clearly that she has no sense of self respect.

Don't get me wrong. I'm certain that she has a great (maybe overblown) sense of her own value and importance. In fact, I'm sure that she's downright arrogant and cocky. That's simply not the same thing as having self respect, in my book.

I can't get past it. I can't imagine ever being willing to vote for somebody who has and who so proudly exhibits such an utter lack of self respect. There's no dignity there. And frankly, I can't stomach the idea of voting for her as long as she wakes up every day and again decides not to end that marriage.

Giuliani is a lecher, too. We all know that. Gingrich is a hypocritical lecher. I think we all know that too--and shouldn't forget it if/when he decides to jump into the race. John Kennedy was a lecher too, although I suspect it was less well known when he was elected--because the media didn't make a point of reporting it. Jefferson was a lecher too, apparently. I guess we have a long history in this country of electing people who are slimeballs in their personal dealings.

Frankly, I'm sickened by the culture of nosiness that has made sexual dalliances and proclivities a part of the political decision making process. I wish we could go back to judging candidates on their substantive ideas or lack thereof rather than on where they decide to "stick it". I blame the shift on the media, looking for stories wherever they can find them. And now that we've crossed that line, I don't think there's any going back.

In the past, I think we were allowed to believe (because we weren't told any better) that our elected leaders were admirable and worthy of respect. Now we are no longer given the opportunity to hold onto that illusion. Too bad. I think it was a nice illusion to have--healthy, in its way, for the nation's collective psyche.

But at this point, the "electable" candidates' lives are exposed too thoroughly to give them the benefit of the doubt.

So now, if we want to be able to respect our leaders, we must consciously choose to only elect respectable people to office. If we want to believe our leaders are decent, we can't simply assume that they are decent until proven otherwise. Instead, we have to take our impressions of their decency (or lack thereof) into the polling booths with us, and consciously choose to elect only those people who we believe to be decent.

Will that happen? I don't think so. We'll keep electing slimeballs. Frankly, because of the popularity W.J. Clinton retains, despite his thorough exposure as a world-class slimeball, I think lechery has become "the new normal". It's no longer considered a character flaw by the voting public. Instead, I think it's considered as merely a trait. I fear that "He (has/doesn't have) a southern accent" and "He (likes/doesn't like) to wear a jacket and tie while delivering his stump speeches" are now the ethical/moral equivalent of "He (can/can't) remain faithful to his wife". That's a shame.

I really don't want to vote for a slimeball. I'd rather have the slimeballs forced to step aside (or choose (of their own accord) to stay out of the race from the start).

But somehow I do see a difference between (a) disrespecting your wife or disrespecting your marriage and the vows you took and (b) disrespecting yourself enough to not even care when your husband disrespects you and your marriage and the vows he took.

Option (a) is vile, reprehensible, and disgusting. Option (b) is pathetic.

If you think you can convince me that I shouldn't be so thoroughly put off by Hillary's flaw, please do try. I doubt you'll succeed, but I'm eager to entertain your attempts. In the meantime, I'll go on believing that I will never be willing to vote for her--at least not until she chooses to end that marriage.


  1. Who says that she didn't care just because she didn't divorce him? And why is the act of forgiveness equated with weakness and self-loathing?

    And who says that walking out on a marriage, even after a betrayal, equals strength?

    There are many different reasons why people get and stay married and why they leave. And in ranking the various ways a spouse can betray his or her partner, it's not an absolute that being cuckolded is the worst or that it is unforgivable. How do we know that what they get out of their relationship with one another isn't more important to Hillary than the embarrassment and pain of adultery?

    That being "cuckolded" must be followed by the end of the marriage is a particular view based in a particular sense of morality and a particular definition of what a marriage is. It's not absolute. I'm not saying infidelity is no big deal. I'm just saying it's not my job as a voter to decide what kind of marriage potential Presidents should have.

    Half the candidates in the race are divorced because they apparently got tired of their wives and got caught cheating, and they're treating their relationships like political liabilities. While those still married to their first spouses are using their relationship as campaign PR fodder, usually to showcase their religious convictions or their moral credentials. Personally, I think those actions are pretty egregious.

    The fact that Hillary and Bill, whatever may be going on in their household, are able to successfully cooperate toward a political goal on a professional level is actually the only important thing I need to know about that marriage as a voter.

    Not that I'm saying I'll vote for her. But I won't judge her political worth based on the decisions she and her husband have made about their marriage.

  2. Wow, and I was just going to say that "til death do us part" means JUST THAT to some people, and being able to continue to hold her head up high after everything that's happened, I think she's a pretty strong person to get beyond it.

    Personalities aside, who out there is a stronger candidate to hold the office? Barack Obama? Laugh! He's fresh outta diapers. A Republican fundamentalist? I think not.

    I'd rather vote for "Hill and Bill" than for anyone else in politics least there, you've got a track record of really listening to, and following the will of, the people. Oh yeah, and of keeping the country's best interests in mind when deciding policy.

  3. Ten feet of steel...congratulations! You gave me a more convincing argument than I expected to get. You haven't convinced me, but you got me closer to the dividing line.

    Anonymous...I just can't bring myself to respect the "till death do us part" argument. Are you saying that there is no threshold? If she decides that smoking crack is more important than helping your son with his math homework, you're still committed to staying married to her until one of you dies? If he starts beating you up, you figure it's worth staying together? I think that's a dangerous and dumb position. If your spouse turns out to be a monster and you didn't know that when you made your vows, you owe it to yourself to get out of a bad situation. Frankly, you're not the one who breached the contract. And once the contract is breached by the other party, I would argue that you have every right (and frankly, a responsibility) to void it.

    Guess that makes me a hopeless romantic, eh? I think I can live with that.

    As far as who's a stronger candidate...Obama's age doesn't bother me at all. I like his enthusiasm and his hopeful outlook. I haven't yet heard a solid position from him, other than that he's opposed to the invasion/occupation of Iraq (Duh!). So basically, I don't really know what he stands for. But I certainly haven't ruled him out. Kucinich seems a smart and reasonable fellow. But I would call him an extremely weak candidate without a lick of a chance at getting elected. Gravel is intriguing because (1) he claims credit for having ended the draft in this country and (2) he has a grand idea (which I also had before I ever heard of him) that we really should have the possibility of a national referendum in this country. Again, unelectable. And I think his notions about taxes are kooky. I'm sickened that Bush II got to stack the Supreme Court with a couple of young right wingers. Which means that I'm going to have a very difficult time seriously considering any "pro-life" zealots. Which pretty much means I consider all of the Republicans as being off my radar, with the exception of Giuliani. And as mentioned before, he's a known (shall we go to "flamboyant"?) lecher. Which really sucks away tons of respectability points, in my book.

    Basically, depending on the outcome of the primares, I can actually envision being willing to vote for myself this election cycle. I never expected or wanted to be able to say that with a straight face. But there it is.

  4. Oh well, I tried. Though I still question your characterization of Hillary's decision to stay in the marriage as a failure to divorce as opposed to a proactive success in resolving whatever issues arose with her husband.

  5. I like the politics - you should stick to that in this Blog - you have a lot of passion, and something interesting to say.

    My uncle (mom's brother) said to me "I was going to vote for the best man; unfortunately, he wasn't running." It takes a very specific potent cocktail of megalomania and self-loathing (yes you can have them both) to be able to run for office. If you are looking for a hero in the race, you will have no one to vote for.

  6. Thanks, h.

    Nice to have the passion recognised. And I'll always take "interesting" as a big compliment.

    I don't think I'll make this a dedicated political blog, but at least I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with not trying to keep the politics to a minimum.