Footing The Bill

1/30/1998

If you’re interested in an Editorial about the record or radio business, skip this one.  One of the nice things about writing an Editorial is I can choose whatever topic that interests me…and hope it will interest you.

One of the problems in writing an Editorial (other than coming up with a subject every week) is to hope that it’s topical.  I’m writing this in the midst of the Presidential sex scandal…what a great title for a book.  Whether or not this is still news by the time you read it is a crapshoot at best.

So what does the sex scandal have to do with the record and radio industry?  Substantially, very little.  But the effect on our lives and the lives of those around us can be profound…if only on a shallow level.

Bill Clinton is accused of having sex with an intern in the White House. Surprising?  Possibly.  Shocking?  Hardly.

Clinton has been accused of extramarital affairs for years, so this latest revelation is certainly not out of character.  Face it:  Our President is a dog.  Anyone who has trouble believing that can be sold the Brooklyn Bridge…twice in the same week.

What concerns me is the immediate feeding frenzy exhibited by the media.  I haven’t seen anything like this since Jaws.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not about to defend Bill clinton or his actions.  I believe anyone who cheats on his wife is morally bankrupt.  To betray that special trust and risk the emotional devastation that follows is unforgivable.  This statement comes from one who ended a marriage and jeopardized a family for exactly that same behavior.  Having said that, let me also say the behavior and outcome should be between the husband and wife.  Period.  It’s nobody else’s business.

Should we hold the President of the United States to a higher standard?  It’s an interesting question.  When polls show that a majority of the married people in the United States are unfaithful to their spouses, who is going to throw the first stone?

Did we agree to marry Bill Clinton or did we vote for him to be President?  Does our President have  to share our morals or should he just make decisions that impact favorably on our daily lives and our future?

Here are the $64 million-dollar questions:  Can a person who cannot be trusted by his wife be trustworthy to a nation?  Can a person who cheats on his wife be expected not to cheat on normal citizens with whom he has no personal relationship?  Can a person who acts immorally–when it comes to sex—be expected to act morally when it comes to questions of national security?

Is the soldier who cheated on his wife, yet gave his life to defend his country, a hero or a bum?

I don’t have the answers.

We all have our faults.  Nobody comes close to perfect.  Maybe that’s why we take such glee in torching someone who is accused of wrongdoing.  It makes us feel better.

It’s interesting, but it has been my experience that those doing the accusing are the ones who are usually guilty.  The ones who are blameless usually don’t care.  Hmmm…

Should Bill Clinton be having sex with a 21-year-old intern in the White House?  Of course not.  And, by the way, her age and job have nothing to do with it.  It’s just terrible judgement.  Is it too much to ask that Bill keep it zipped up for eight years?  Hey, we’re not insisting on a lifetime of monogamy, but for eight short years, with a country to run, can’t he just take cold showers?

Who is more stupid, Clinton or Castro?  You want that Cuban embargo lifted?  Don’t invite the Pope for a visit; bring Bill down.  Smoke some cigars…bring on the strippers.  And Hussein should stop refusing to allow Americans access to his palaces.  Bring Clinton to your house.  Have him take a hit off the nerve gas bong (he won’t inhale) and bring on the dancing girls.

But I digress…

The nation is upset because not only did Clinton possibly have a sex in the White House sans Hilary, but he lied about it.  Oh, my God.  Clinton told a lie.  Five thousand reporters are jostling for position on the White House lawn.  Talk shows are being invented to provide space for special coverage.  Newspapers are printing extra pages to interview people who might have known the girl when she was in college.

Its all about space and time.

Forgive me, but am I missing something here?  Whether Clinton had sex with someone other than his wife in the White House will have absolutely no bearing on our lives.  Whether or not he told the truth about his libido won’t make one, small change in our day-to-day lives.

This is the same guy who promised that if he was elected President, he wouldn’t raise taxes.  We voted for him…and he raised taxes.

He lied.

Where were all the reporters, talk shows and newspaper when this happened?

Forget Clinton for a second.  Our values are out of whack.  Politicians habitually lie to get elected and we wind up paying the “Bill.”  We should hold them all to higher standards about the things that affect us.  We should demand credibility on issues that will make a difference in our lives…and when they don’t, let’s see the same coverage we get when the President unzips his pants for another “non-affair.”

Maybe when we begin to demand that credibility, the land of the free won’t be so expensive to those of us who live here.

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