Over 60 percent of New Yorkers wanted Governor Eliot Spitzer to resign at the revelation he had solicited sex with a prostitute. What’s wrong with these people? The home of “Sex in the City” doesn’t want their chief executive doing what the natives are doing?
Why are they so upset, so outraged, and for that matter, why are we? Why does it disturb so many to see Silda Spitzer stand next to her husband of 20 years as he made his public, quasi-remorseful apology? Didn’t we learn from Bill Clinton and surrogates that private behavior has no effect on public life? That the judgment and deceit it took to arrange sexual favors from a young intern in the Oval Office had no bearing on the judgment and trust required to conduct the nation’s business or lead the free world? Can’t a brilliant governor of such a forward-thinking state possess superior wisdom on matters of state while privately choosing to betray his wife and children, even putting Silda at risk by engaging in unsafe sex with his trollop? A private matter, said Spitzer, hinting that it was not related to his decisions as a publicly elected official.
“Big deal. Married man goes to a prostitute,” declared Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz. In Europe, it would hardly have made the papers. A “uniquely American” story of our “pandering” and hypocrisy “when it comes to sex,” he concluded. In a Los Angeles Times article published in the aftermath of the revelations about Spitzer, evolutionary biologist David Barash says, “I told you so,” informing us that the only reliable life form practicing monogamy is “a parasitic worm that inhabits the intestines of fish. Before Western colonization, 85 percent of human societies unabashedly favored polygamy.”
So what’s wrong with us?
Could it be that too many of us have suffered the pain of being lied to and betrayed in that most intimate part of our lives? That we have seen in the faces of our children the realization of deep betrayal absorbed by their young, innocent minds? That we have seen mothers and fathers ripped apart, houses disassembled, children shuffled between parents, broken or hardened by the loss of what should be theirs: a loving home with two parents disciplined enough to love and be faithful for a lifetime?