Mona Charen
I'm a little confused. Didn't we all agree that "everyone lies about sex"? So Gary Condit did the right thing, didn't he, in denying a sexual relationship with Chandra Levy for nearly 10 weeks and keeping the police in the dark? He was protecting his family, as any solid citizen would do, right? We don't crucify people for that. The fullest expression of post-Clintonian morality came from one of Condit's constituents. Asked if he thought Condit might have had a role in Levy's disappearance, he said: "That's his personal life. It's none of our business." Perfect. Tony Soprano for President! What those of us unschooled in Clintonian morality must conclude, however, is that Gary Condit is, at the very least, a louse -- bigtime. Assuming (for the moment) that he had nothing to do with Chandra Levy's disappearance, his decision to lie about their relationship placed his concern for his reputation above possibly finding a kidnapped or murdered young woman. The minute she disappeared, a man with any semblance of a conscience would have had the following conversation with himself: "I am really in the soup this time. Of course, I should never have been involved with her in the first place since I am married. Besides, I'm 30 years her senior, and it's slimy to play upon my power and position to attract women young enough to be my daughter, or even granddaughter. Now that she has vanished, there's no alternative. I must tell the police what I know because it could be relevant. I wonder if my wife will ever forgive me." Instead, he lied and sent staffers out to lie for him. And because he lied, we know something about his character. The saddest part of this story is that Levy is missing -- and may be dead. But the second saddest part is what has emerged about their relationship and what it says about young, "liberated" women these days. Levy is, or was, a well-educated young lady from an upper-middle-class family. Ambitious, well-organized and careful (her friends say she was very security conscious and used to beg one friend to carry "pepper spray"), Levy had a master's degree and high hopes for a career in law enforcement. She was off to a good start with an internship with the Bureau of Prisons. And yet she became, if her aunt is to be believed, utterly smitten by Gary Condit. She agreed to the secretive terms of a relationship with him, sneaking about incognito, meeting only late in the evening and agreeing never to discuss the relationship with anyone. (Memo to philanderers: No young woman will keep this promise.) Levy, according to the aunt in whom she confided, was deeply in love and believed she had a future with Condit. She discussed keeping their relationship a secret for about five years, and then marrying him and having a baby. As the relationship progressed, Levy became more and more subservient. At one point, Condit suggested that she date other men, but she declined, saying that she "wanted to keep the relationship monogamous." That would be funny if it weren't so sad. This high-achieving young woman then apparently took to waiting in his apartment every night, just in case he wanted her. She declined outings with friends just to be at his beck and call, and wound up spending some evenings organizing his closet and fantasizing about their future together. What is with these young women? Bright, attractive, on the ball and yet doormats for men who offer them nothing beyond the thrill of the illicit. Perhaps what we really need is a new feminism. It won't be based on killing the unborn, or putting women in combat, or promoting the liberal agenda. But it will focus on something that liberal feminism has failed to do -- instill a sense of dignity, honor and self-respect in young women. A sense of morality would be nice, too, though we can't push our luck. But at the very least, a young woman should know her own worth. She should not let anyone, not even a congressman or a president, treat her like a concubine.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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