May 25, 2009

An Apparent Disconnect

Americans seem to have a confused attitude towards extramarital relationships — at least, with respect to their public figures indulging in them ...
John Edwards suddently found that the ground beneath him had disappeared when his one time relationship with a woman came to light ...
Similarly, Eliot_Spitzer had to resign from the post of Governor of New York state when his liasions with call girls became public knowledge.
In Bill Clinton's case, his fling with Monica Lewinsky almost brough down his presidency.
In the case of John F. Kennedy, some of his adventures are coming to light now — more than 40 years after his death. A former White House intern is going to publish a book about her relation with the then president.
In spite of JFK's well-documented relations with many women, his stock continues to remain high in the public's opinion.
Is there a contradiction here?
Perhaps, the public is willing to condone personal mistakes in public figures as long as they don't lie.
Bill Clinton did lie about his relationship but he explained that it was only to protect his own family — so, that helped to mitigate his guilt.
JFK's story of course gets inevitably colored by the fact that he died young and so he attracts obvious sympathy because of that reason.
John Edwards got especially harsh criticism because he sought to hide something ... but did he lie?
Eliot Spitzer's conduct was unbecoming — especially as he was conducting a crusade against prostitution rackets and other moral depravities. But, again, this was a blemish on an otherwise spectacular slate of achievements ...
In India, of course, the ordinary person probably never gets to know about the 'real' private lives of politicians or other public figures ... The media is not independent enough to put tough questions to politicians ...

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