Wednesday, April 23, 2008

One hussy, Two hussy, Three hussy, Four.

Politics, media, and the public: three entities with an often intriguing yet compromising relationship. Though what becomes of expectations when the line between public and private is indistinct? Moral judgment may not be affected, yet the principle of integrity prevails as a benchmark for tolerability, writes Bonita Silva.

Newly resigned Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, and French President, Nicolas Sarkozy with his newly wedded supermodel wife, epitomise the perplexities that riddle political careers and reputations. Should personal failings matter, and does it affect their ability to govern?

What exactly went through the mind of Eliot Spitzer – now infamously known as “Client 9”, when ordering a call girl from the International Emperors Club at a lavish rate of $4,300 – the public is still trying to ascertain.

Known as an ethical crusader, Spitzer fought corruption in the city of New York. As a former prosecutor, his knowledge of the very electronic and surveillance tools that brought about his downfall, was expansive. In 2007, he signed a law to lengthen jail time for customers of prostitutes, from three to a possible 12 months.

Spitzer prosecuted prostitution, and served to fight corruption which earned him his reputation; one that’s reflected in his grandiose labelling: “I’m a f______ steamroller, and I’ll roll over you.” His ability to execute correct political judgement was never hindered – but the public and media reserve no tolerance for counterfeit leaders.

It was the very exhibition of rank hypocrisy and disregard for the rules that facilitated his downfall. Investigators believe up to $80,000 was spent on escort services over several years preceding and following his appointment as governor.

Perhaps more condescending and ill-informed was his statement concerning Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, over a policy dispute: “[Bloomberg] is wrong at every level – dead wrong, factually wrong, legally wrong, morally wrong, ethically wrong”.

For a governor who freely dishes out accusations of moral and ethical breaches, it’s startling to see the same standards did not apply to his own personal undertakings. It’s not so much to say that personal lives should be a determinant of political success: it is however fair to conclude that the enforcer of a standard must abide by that standard to maintain any credibility or integrity in office.

The whirlwind romance of French President, ‘speedy Nicolas Sarkozy’ to ex-supermodel turned singer, Carla Bruni attracted its fair share of criticism and media coverage. Meeting 11 weeks before their marriage, and only divorcing his second wife last October, Sarkozy’s personal decisions have become the subject of ensuing media and public scrutiny.

It appears that when a politician stumbles upon increased happiness, the criticisms intensify. Divorce, marriage, and love are components of everyday life. To suggest his character, ability, and judgment are weakened, is to suggest a politician must be of an inhuman nature to successfully administer his position of power.

Some would be eager to apply similar principles to those of Eliot Spitzer. Humans are fallible, and whilst it’s important to recognise that politicians aren’t entirely pure in their personal dealings, it is the recognition of the notion that one who sets the rules must abide by them. Where personal dealings interfere or directly contradict the very core of political undertakings, their integrity is shattered, demeaning the very support invested in them by the public.

Political judgment may not be affected by their questionable personal decisions. It is however the blank hypocrisy that offends constituents in a manner that transcends all expectations, confidence, and mercy towards a falling or offending candidate.

An imperialistic attitude doesn’t stand in politics. He/she may effectively govern well, but the constituents that voted them in will just as easily bring them down.

Photo: Flickr
Licensed under: Creative Commons


Kester said...

great post! it was good the first time, but i think i love it more with the new title its been given =P

janahan said...

gun first article, i wish all 3 of u (and whoever joins later) the best of luck with this blog, looks promising. however still confused as to why kester is interested in a politically based blog post :P

Kester said...

hahaha despite what you may think jana =P i do enjoy reading political articles i just dont enjoy actual politics if that makes sense...well it makes sense in my head lol

J said...

A highly intriguing article composed with the brillant' of a four corners journalist and coherence lacking in a today tonight special

J said...

note the french

Bonita Silva said...

merci beaucoup to you and you and you!