A few thoughts on the tragedy of Eliot Spitzer. Including the one which should, perhaps, cause us the most concern.
One thought is that many of these grand office-holders feel they forever brush fingertips with God. And that God is the more grateful. In short, they feel they are above us. They believe they can get away with anything. Some do.
At times the job calls for such egos. When you send your fellow beings off to battlefields. When you drop atom bombs. Men must hear destiny call their names to be able to make those decisions.
Alas, too often the voices that stir them come not from God but from the devil. The result is that they have the devil to pay. And sometimes we have to foot the bill.
Another thought is that power corrupts. Eliot was corrupted by power. He used it to abuse others. Used it to destroy reputations of innocent people. Used it to trample the rights of fellow citizens. Rights embedded in the laws he was elected to respect. (He proudly called this “steamrolling.”)
Another thought is that he continued a tradition: the politicians’ perp walk. The ritual is that the disgraced pol hauls his wife before the cameras. To share in his disgrace. I suppose some wives are all right with this. The body language of Mrs. Spitzer suggested she was not.
Another thought is that many of the most powerful leaders hold seeds of destruction in their souls. Self-destruction. Why, I cannot say. Perhaps this is how power corrupts. Perhaps it is connected to the other adage, from Shakespeare: “... truth will out.” The truth within the governor worked its way to the surface. And destroyed him in the process.
Another thought is that some day we will have true equality. Voters will hear a woman in high office confess to sleeping with a man not her husband. Do you suppose she will drag the cuckolded hubby before the cameras for her confession?
The final thought is for those who tell us Eliot’s adventures with hookers are none of our business. His sexual activities have nothing to do with his governership.
Sorry, but they do. First, he broke a few laws. He laundered money through sham companies, for one thing. Since the governor is supposed to uphold the law he had to go.
Beyond that, however, I give you a simple word: Blackmail. It should send shivers down our spines.
It is bad enough that various interests manipulate politicians. They threaten to campaign against them. They push and shove in a hundred ways to get what they want.
Imagine the power then of a whisper in Eliot’s ear: “Psst. Room 871, Mayflower Hotel.” His reaction might well have been “What is it you want me to do for you?”
Not far-fetched when you consider most prostitutes are addicted to drugs. Addicts grow desperate. So do their suppliers. The hooker or her friends could collect a tidy sum for selling the secret. Who knows? Maybe they did.
No need to imagine what such a whisper would spark in Bill Clinton’s mind. It was more a case of “What is it I can do to you.” A number of the women who spoke out about liaisons with Bill were punished by his bimbo squad. Tires slashed, pets killed, threats of various sorts.
We may forever speculate that he lobbed missiles attempting to change the subject when his Monica fling filled the headlines.
He showed us repeatedly that money would turn his head. His pardons were disgraceful enough. When we consider them alongside the list of contributions to his library we see the spectacle of a bought president.
What might he have done - and some ask what did he do - when blackmailed by someone wielding a sexual secret of his? We may ask the same question of Eliot Spitzer.
From Tom ... as in Morgan.
For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.