I’ll say one thing about today’s politicians: They have given whole new meaning to the term “stimulus package.”
Democrat or Republican, gay or straight, our public leaders seem to have a proclivity for unseemly and costly behavior. And when I think of the shenanigans they’re pulling and the lies they are telling their families, I do wonder how so many powerful public figures can be simultaneously so self-absorbed and so astonishingly stupid.
And as for these same leaders appropriately handling our public trust and our financial issues, it comes as little surprise that our representatives think the best way to fix a problem is to throw money at it. It is, after all, the single best way to get the attention of an Argentinean beauty or a high-priced New York call girl.
Remember Eliot Spitzer and the paper trail he left on the money he spent? That paper trail is how they caught him hiring his very expensive consorts. New invasive measures passed through the Patriot Act created a legal form of spying on our banking business done here in the United States, even though that business involves U.S. citizens. So the Big Brother department of the federal government monitored Spitzer’s ATM transactions. I’m sure I don’t know much about the $5,000 sex trade, but the government watching our everyday private financial dealings is what I find obscene. Still, you would expect that a former New York governor and New York state attorney general — whose business it was to know what legal traps exist — would have known better.
As for the most recently exposed dimwit in office, we can easily read every word of his sappy juvenile Harlequin-esque love letters. Jeepers, it’s hard to tell which is a worse way to get caught — the feds following the money trail until they find that a famous powerful man can have sex with beautiful, sexually skilled women, but only if they pay large sums of money for it, or a local newspapers reprinting your lovesick, star-crossed testimonies to marital infidelity.
But really stupid, arrogant men desiring sexual gratification and adoring lovers is not as amazing to me as the fact that the press has such an easy time accessing the documentation to prove their foolhardy philandering. That easy press access coupled with an unhealthy congressional preoccupation with private sexual exploits — a la the Clinton impeachment trial — makes me wonder what type of really bad things must be going on in the offices that the media can’t access and Congress lacks the courage to investigate.
You know, like the offices of the big coal companies.
While you know all about the stain on Monica Lewinsky’s dress and her dalliances in the Oval Office, you know absolutely nothing about the conversations between President Obama and top coal executives who met with him earlier this month, even though they, too, rendezvoused in the Oval Office.
And while no law enforcement officials hassled the reporters and photographers covering the Lewinsky, Spitzer or Sanford affairs, both a reporter and a photographer covering a mountaintop removal coal-mining protest were arrested, their equipment was ceased and they have now been charged with trespassing as well as conspiracy.
Conspiracy? Conspiracy to do what? Inform the American people about the exploits of companies that manipulate our elected officials and plunder our natural resources?
Now you can argue that blowing those mountains sky high in order to easily access the coal inside is the prerogative of private ownership. But one could make the same argument about former President Clinton’s private parts. For some reason the press and Congress think we have the right to supervise Clinton’s little treasures but not the majesty of an entire mountain range. And the same protections given to Newsweek when they collected evidence in the Clinton-Lewinsky affair were not afforded to Paul Corbit Brown and Kurt Mann when they covered the protests at Massey Energy Mine.
We know a little bit about the coal companies and President Obama. The president campaigned against mountaintop removal. He has since entertained coal executives privately at the White House. And he no longer opposes it. If the media wants a story about unfaithful men, they should cover this one.
Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.” She may be reached at PatLaMarche@hotmail.com.