Sex, Drugs, Scandal — BAM!

English: General David Petraeus in testimony

English: General David Petraeus in testimony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet another one bites the dust. Former Army General David Petraeus who resigned as chief of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Nov. 9, 2012 is now a dishonored member of the Walk of Shame Club with such well-known celebrities as Armstrong, Woods, Clinton, Kennedy, Schwarzenegger, Edwards,  Sandusky, Weiner, Spitzer, and hundreds of others.

This post today has no tips on how to avoid such a scandal. This post today does nothing to support those dishonored. This post is merely a rant of disgust that We the People can no longer trust that our favorite athlete, elected official, appointed official and those we hold in the highest regard in the upper echelons of celebrity in this country will act professionally and without sexual or drug-induced scandal.

What the fuck? (The first time I’ve ever used this word in my writings here; I apologize to anyone offended.)

Instead of waiting for those we should trust to prove they’re dishonorable, should we already think they’re not trustworthy at the get go and that their “private” life is actually one of trysts and pseudonyms?  Are they just “too clean” and we should think there’s an affair somewhere behind the scenes?

How about this marriage thing? Every one of these gents above was married at the time of their disgrace. Not only do their wives and children suffer, the entire company or political office or sports team or foundation also suffer in tremendous shame and horror.

What can we do except open the paper and flick on the news with a click every day to see more of the same. Are you getting used to this sort of thing? Has it become mundane and old hat?

If so, then we have to stop and pull back to the core of our values and demand that those who lead this nation uphold public office and stop letting extreme power and alleged invincibility go to their body parts.  We have to stop accepting a smarmy, “I’m sorry,” and demand more; how about paying back tax payers for the money it costs to investigate these scandals (especially if they sit in public office)?

I have no answers, Friends. Do you?

 

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80 comments
Faryna
Faryna

You ask important and difficult questions.

 

Some questions that come to my mind:

 

How can I ask moral perfection of a leader when my own moral imperfection is so complete?

 

Is moral perfection a qualification for leadership? More than a demonstrated commitment to the common good and civil rights?

 

Is there an ontological authority in morality? Or is morality all washed up and we are all doomed to face the empty touch and devastating stare of penance of the heartless?

 

Like you, I have no answers.

 

[big hug]

wonderoftech
wonderoftech

It just makes you wonder what else is going on in the world and we have no idea about it! If you want to avoid a scandal, behave as if your spouse was watching. 

Hajra
Hajra

I used to be a little offended when news of such kind came into the open. But I wonder who doesn't have a little bit of skeletons. Some get caught, some don't. But when you are a leader and you are in the public eye, you get scrutinized for every little thing. There is a little bit of corruption everywhere. 

 

We choose people to lead our countries. But we can't guarantee that they won't fault ever. 

Latest blog post: I am friends with weird people

EugeneFarber
EugeneFarber

I am by no means defending what he did. But isn't there a bit of hypocrisy here? Why is it OK for the President of the U.S. to cross that line? But this guy gets humiliated? 

 

I just think the timing of this scandal is a bit "curious" too. Cue the conspiracy theories...

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

Money and power corrupt the best of human minds. Integrity? Morals? Values? Put enough money, influence and power in most individuals hands and they will simply lose their ability to see right or wrong within themselves. They become gods in their own minds and serve the interests of themselves and the position that provides their delusions. They become servants to worst human characteristics God ever created. Especially our elected officials who play with people’s lives, people’s money and talk out both sides of their mouth. I don't look up to broken governments, or the broken people that run it. This is PRECISELY WHY the founding fathers of the great US of A revolted against their homeland, their elected officials, and their law makers. They said "enough" and would rather have their freedom, liberty and justice for all, than continue to live another day above ground without them. They got tired of being slaves to the establishment and decided to do something about it. They were tagged tax revolters and trouble-makers in their homeland and hunted down like criminals. These were ordinary people who had a heart and vision for a better life for themselves, their families, and for all. AND FOUGHT FOR IT. That's the heart that founded the US. This heart is long gone now. There are no ordinary people in government. There are only those who serve its struggle to stay in power by all means, and the oppression that is now served up daily to the people. No more rights. No more one nation under God. No more integrity. No longer that bright light that once inspired the world. If the founding fathers were alive today to see what has become of the great nation they founded, they would first be ashamed, and then they would pick up their guns and fight for a better life for themselves, their families, and for all. We don't have people in government like these anymore.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

While it'd be great to live in a perfect world where those we look up to have no skeletons, this just isn't the case. It doesn't make it right in the slightest, but unless there's the potential for national security or the bigger celebrity picture affecting our lives, it really has nothing to do with us.

 

We pay the taxes but we do not choose the higher ups, with the exception of elected public officials. The hiring process of others is left to those we elected, and these are the guys that make the decisions on hiring and firing when personal lives come into the equation.

 

One thing to remember - the golden boy of American politics himself, JFK, was no saint. And he WAS an elected official...

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

For years I've listened to people say that "sex with an intern has nothing to do with the president's ability to do his job." I now find it amusing to hear the many of the same folks now say that the CIA ex-director put our national security at risk by making himself vulnerable to blackmail, leaks, etc. 

 

Could it simply be that these people supported one man politically, but opposed the other? 

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

Anyone over the age of 18 has skeletons in their closet. Show me someone who doesn't. I don't think power negates humanity and making mistakes.

 

I have no comment on Lance Armstrong because from what I understand, we believe in "innocent until proven guilty" here.  If he did use performance-enhancing drugs, that is criminal.

 

I guess what it boils down to is that I'm not ever going to get mad that someone got horny, because there are very few people who don't. This has nothing to do with whether or not something is "common." This is about not deifying human beings. False idols, etc. It's always disappointing to have to take someone off their pedestal, but then you get a good reminder why no human being should ever be placed on one.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Faryna Thanks Stan for contributing to this conversation. This morning I nearly tossed my coffee reading the local paper. A high school coach videotaped 24 naked boys in the school showers and got caught. A couple raped a teenage boy and will serve 6 years. That was all on one page, and this stuff comes out every day.

 

Are we in the midst of a sexual revolution? Should we accept these behaviors as natural except when it pertains to our kids by their leaders and those they trust? I guess where I'm heading with this entire discussion is from the position of motherhood and my baby growing up to doubt the intent of adults who teach her, guide her and are supposed to be, hopefully a "moral?" compass. 

 

I've already admitted my "own moral imperfection is so complete" as you just did; should I throw stones? Should we look at the timing of all that and how I behave now as a parent setting an example to my kidlet?

 

Stan...all of this is so confusing to me and I'm sad; very sad.

SteelToad
SteelToad

 @wonderoftech You don't need to behave as if your spouse was watching ... you just need to behave.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Hajra  You're right. There's no guarantee, Hajra. And this age of technology ensures that, too. 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @EugeneFarber Do we think this guy is getting humiliated? I am not sure that's an affect I can gauge from this vantage point. He took control of the situation (I think?) before he was raked over the coals (to resign), but that won't stop the raking, will it? 

SteelToad
SteelToad

 @EugeneFarber Yes, there was no humiliation or impeachment or constant press coverage for years or endless late night comedian fodder when it came to Clinton.

Faryna
Faryna

 @Mark_Harai We the people... don't have the heart and courage of the brave and intrepid ordinary people that fought the Revolutionary War. [sigh]

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Mark_Harai So well said as I love about you, Mark. Thanks for putting a perspective on this discussion from the founding fathers. I suppose they had skeletons, too, but far easier to keep whispered secrets captive than in today's world. 

 

Why shouldn't we expect integrity, values, professionalism and morals in the leaders of this country? 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

@Danny Brown so after all this why am I so upset about these things coming to light? Go ahead and lead a private life in public and have all the sex you want under your spouse nose. Not my business. When the dirty laundry gets aired and it becomes a national story with larger implications that is where I do a slow burn. I don't know. Maybe my age has something to do with it and my fear for my daughter. When I was a wee lass just out of college, I had to fend off my bosses and the boss next door from sexual advances. I had NO idea how to handle that as I was terribly naive. They were my bosses and I fought back the best I knew how. Many years later in the allergist office, the one old geezer saw me and apologized. Just a story. Not sure it has formed my judgment or not.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

@barrettrossie I have to say...sex happens despite your political persuasion. I have no idea from which party the general comes. Today's WSJ paints a story about Broadwell and her jealousy of the Tampa socialite. no, Ray, the women are not innocent and seem to be downright possessive of all their men.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jennwhinnem I agree with you and I don't. Those who do assume higher positions of leadership need to beat to another drum. When tax payers are footing the bill for those mistakes, politicians, that's when it becomes personal to me. 

 

Attraction to the opposite/same sex is human; it will happen and it does. 

 

Public figures who put the country at risk because they're "horny" ... do they forget who they are when engaging and think it doesn't matter?

 

When Elliot Spitzer came out with his scandal, there were several articles I read about psychology of dominance and control -- the attitude becomes one of "it can't happen to me b/c I beat to my own drum and no one else's."

Faryna
Faryna

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing 

 

The great 18th century philosophy of the enlightenment - which informs many of our American expectations and hopes - suggests (more or less) that ever-increasing growth of human goodness, freedom and progress will be fueled through legislation, education, culture, science, technology, and free market economics.

 

However, just as Milton Friedman and Alan Grenspan demonstrated that non-stop economic growth is a beautiful aspiration and totally bogus model, so too the advance of "enlightenment" comes with stumbles, treacherous falls, betrayal and set backs.

 

Yes, I too share in your sadness, disappointment, anger, frustration, and nausea.

 

Sometimes, it overwhelms me like an existential vertigo.

 

Age of Enlightenment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment

EugeneFarber
EugeneFarber

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Hmm, that's a good point. Maybe it's too early in the game for any real "humiliation" to start. 

 

But realistically, the guy just lost his job as the CIA director. That's pretty bad. Worse than Clinton had it I think - he got to stay President. 

 

I'm just trying to make sense of how the hypocrisy is justified. 

EugeneFarber
EugeneFarber

 @SteelToad I think just as many people thought that he shouldn't get impeached as thought that he should. And sure, there was plenty of jokes, but there's jokes about EVERYTHING. 

 

I'm not saying there was no reaction at all. The bottom line is that he kept his job. And quite frankly, people still love the guy - and he's still very influential. 

 

Again, I'm not saying what he did was right. It sure as hell wasn't. Just the timing of the whole thing was a bit curious...that's all. 

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Because it's not in the scope of reality.  The US is not run for best interests of the people, its run by special interest groups and bankers that keep it in power. Here is the mindset of the bankers that really run the country:

 

The Rothschilds    "The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from it's profits or so dependent on it's favors, that there will be no opposition from that class." — Rothschild Brothers of London, 1863   "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild 

 

It's a mindset with no regard for the people, but rather what serves their interests and greed. There is no integrity, values, or morals behind those who run it, so you certainly can't expect that from those who serve it - and that has been CLEARLY seen by all.

 

It's the very reason the US is in the position it is in now. The wealth of the nation, its people, and its future generations has been robbed and the bankers are laughing... well, all the way to the bank.

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @Danny Brown Okay, FWIW, I don't condone ANYONE not taking "no" for an answer. That's a violation of the law and of human rights. Sexual harassment is never okay.

 

What I'm saying "not my business" about is sex between consenting adults.

 

When it comes to our kids, I think we teach them 1) not to do that and 2) how to deal when someone does that to us. 

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  Here's the thing though, Jayme - all affairs and indiscretions *are* behind closed doors until they're found out. This is in all walks of life, and not just for those in the public eye. Let's say these affairs had never come to light and none of us knew anything - the guilty party is still a shit, but you think he or she is still awesome. That's the conundrum - until you know better, the sun shines out of people that otherwise we should be questioning. And that's always going to be the way, whether we like that or not.

SteelToad
SteelToad

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @jennwhinnem I'm going to disagree with you a little. These people do not "assume higher positions", you are elevating them to higher positions. In the end they are all still people, and they represent the people in both definitions of "represent". To expect them to be any better that the normal person, or have fewer failings than the normal person is a nice ideal, but only that.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @EugeneFarber What I've realized is that there is no way to make sense of these collective debacles, right? Each of us has opinions others may not; we make choices of our own volition and live with the consequence. I only hope that my poor choice doesn't affect you, Eugene.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

@Mark_Harai I love how you think with a depth of insight I relish. Thank you Mark.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

@Danny hi @danny! Dd you get another email? Lol. Great having you over today!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jennwhinnem  @Danny Brown So, when would it become your business, Jenn? IF the head of the CIA had a 6 yr extra-marital affair during tenure in Afghanistan leading the military and directing the CIA and the nation found out? Does it then become your business or does it remain his, his wife's, his mistress's and her husband's only?

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Danny Brown I think you hit it right there...the crux of why for me.  I want to believe, just like my kid with Santa, that someone in a postion to protect these borders from another terrorist attack is an upstanding individual. Can't; shot down. 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Erin F.  @Danny I am not self-righteous in the least. I have a bucket of skeletons to share with anyone over an adult beverage. I think we the people are impacted; we are being pulled into bedroom behavior because of choices "consenting adults" made who happen to also be major figures in this country's leadership. 

SteelToad
SteelToad

 @Erin F.  Doesn't, deciding whether or not to "excuse" the behavior of others that doesn't directly (or indirectly) impact us, define nosy and self-righteous ?

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Hah. Subject to opinion for sure. I'll let you pay the tax payer bill as we watch Congress investigate Petraeus's affairs. Wonder how much we paid for Clinton? It was a ton of money. Do we pay it? 

 

So, over the top...how?  

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @SteelToad  @Erin F. I am glad to hear that - I mean about the m-word.

 

Let me put it this way, I can't ever run for President. I couldn't bear to be raked over the coals like this. I wonder if an age difference that's playing out here is more in the choices that people older than me are making. They don't realize the digital effects of what they're doing. And possibly it's people my age too. I'd say the world has changed drastically since approx 2005. Privacy almost doesn't exist anymore. This is changing faster than we can hold the closet door shut.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jennwhinnem  @SteelToad  @Erin F. Millennial to me means nothing of the sort; it was a different way to say that I'm old enough to be your mother. 

 

And, I shared above that I have a bucket of skeletons, Jenn. Nor am I in office, or  leading this country against terrorism.

Erin F.
Erin F.

 @jennwhinnem  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @SteelToad I'm not a fan of the millennial word, either. Then again, I probably don't represent the generation well.

 

Strangely enough, my perspective isn't so far off from yours, at least in regard to casting stones. I do think you can judge - and not in the judgmental sort of way that that word has come to mean - but it has to be tempered with the knowledge that we're human. We do wrong.

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @SteelToad I'm okay with agreeing to disagree. I was just sharing my thoughts on the matter just as you were sharing yours.

 

I have to say I don't really like having my viewpoint chalked up to "millennial" because 1) that word is never really used positively, all I ever see is people talking about how "my" generation is lazy, shiftless, entitled, can't spell, unintelligent, etc. and 2) I don't know that I'm representative. I think @Erin F. can't be that much younger than me, and she agrees with you. I think my viewpoint is more of "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

@Danny Brown @SteelToad @jennwhinnem you are right! No yardstick there, Danny.

SteelToad
SteelToad

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @jennwhinnem Still, they are us, they do not lead us, they represent us. We choose them from amongst us to advocate for us. They should be expected to have the same shortcomings as us.

 

If, upon examination. their shortcomings have damaged the state or the nation, or cost us in safety or financially, then of course we should be upset about that, but be upset about that, and not blend in our feelings of being let down for them not meeting our inflated expectations. This is why I asked about the women involved, they are just as responsible for any actual loss to the people, but the level of anger is not there. If two people have an affair, and that affair has not affected anyone outside of those immediately involved, why should anyone be more upset at one party the other.

 

Be upset with people for the wrong that they have done, not for failing to live up to our expectations

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @SteelToad I guess who cares about my "condonement" of someone else's business? FTR I would teach my (hypothetical) child to respect his/her partner. And I would ask my spouse to respect me just as I respect him. Outside of that, none of my business.

 

Prurient stories like this only get coverage because they sell. So, let's stop buying.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jennwhinnem  @SteelToad Are you condoning extra-marital affairs? If someone in public office thinks they can keep an affair quiet, then by all means -- go for it. Not my business. Isn't hurting me. 

 

When the dirty laundry is aired and we get to hear about it all day long and it has an affect, that's what I resent. 

 

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @SteelToad Okay, thank you for trying. I know I'm struggling to understand what exactly you're so upset about. Is it REALLY about taxpayer dollars and/or national security? Since when does having a job negate your right to some semblance of privacy in your life? This is what I'm thinking about when I read your comments.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @rdopping  @jennwhinnem  @SteelToad I don't follow Canada news much or maybe we have so much in this country that the air waves don't have time for Canada. 

 

Are there issues like this there? What is the sentiment of your citizens generally? Leave them alone, keep things private, no one cares?

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jennwhinnem  @SteelToad What you said before about everyone having secrets...I absolutely agree. It's how we learn. 

 

But, I've been thinking about what Ray said -- "uphold" -- why we uphold public leaders to a higher power and we shouldn't. Why exactly shouldn't we? They are leading this country; they are protecting our borders against terrorism and it's human nature to look up the chain to find the intelligent among us to be leaders. 

 

I'm really trying to put on the collective statements here of "prudes, no one should be on a pedestal, private lives are private in public." 

 

Trying hard.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jennwhinnem  @SteelToad If the U.S.A. was endangered as a result of Petraeus's indiscretion, then it becomes our business, Jenn. 

 

The media does such a great job of uncovering everyone's private lives when they run for public office and nothing is secret any more. I'm not sure if this phase will pass or we'll just become numb to it.

 

After all, people don't care that our presidents smoked pot in college, right? Maybe that's what's  happening...we're going to not care really soon whether everyone is sleeping with someone else's partner.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @SteelToad  @jennwhinnem You raise interesting points, both of you. President of the U.S.A., Head of the CIA, Attorney General, Governor of California, Vice Presidential Nominee...you're right, we should just let them all have extra-marital affairs and not worry that our dollars are spent investigating these travails.

 

The dude resigned; do we need to uncover all the details? I guess so...to determine whether State secrets were revealed to civilians? 

 

As for the women, I couldn't name any; none came to mind. Nope they're not not guilty; the Petraeus biographer has two children and a husband. 

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

 @rdopping  @SteelToad  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing 1) In light of the breaking news about Elmo, I'll say that I don't include kids in any of my aforementioned statements. 2) Ralph just what do you mean by 'pass'? I don't know that anyone here has said "he's famous, so it's okay that he cheated." I'm saying that it's none of my business. Morality is a lot more complex than you present it here - "who knows what other moral issues I might overlook" - I guess I need overall clarity on the point you're trying to make.

rdopping
rdopping

 @jennwhinnem  @SteelToad  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing I hear you all and I agree. Great piece in the NYT. Brilliantly written. The world needs more folks like Frank.

 

I have to say though that if you choose a job that puts you in public office there is no way you should ever get a pass. Ever. THAT's what pisses me of about a lot of these situations.

 

If I was to cheat, steal or lie and I got CAUGHT I would have to pay the price. Plain and simple. I just have the luxury of anonymity of a sort so my issues are not exposed in the public eye.

 

If I fall in love with someone else then I have a moral obligation to do the right thing.

 

If I hide it and harm someone else in the process then it is me who is the a-hole. I expect to be distrusted by others because if I do THAT (hide it and lie about it) then who knows what other moral issues I might overlook. I can't be trusted in the eyes of those I have wronged and if those I have wronged includes the public then so be it. I have to do the right thing.

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

 @SteelToad  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @jennwhinnem I'm with you Ray - I'm going to borrow an idea I read here http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/06/opinion/bruni-lessons-in-fearmongering.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0 "David Parker is just a textbook homophobe in the garb of a humbly concerned parent" - I think many people are possibly guilty of clothing themselves with justification for their outrage, and when you get down to it, they're just judging someone for something that's none of their business.

 

Not a comment on you Jayme - I also believe in the idea that only God knows what's in our hearts.

SteelToad
SteelToad

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @jennwhinnem The Brit's for the most part do see the queen as a human. Most of the pageantry is more of an homage to the traditions of their past than an acceptance of her being of a holy lineage. They see most of the rest of the royal family more as reality tv figures than anything else, they're lucky if it has another 2 generations. 

 

If an elected official were openly having an affair, while at the same time effectively representing their constituency to the peoples satisfaction, why should that matter.  Should everyone be fired for infidelity because people didn't expect that of them and had higher expectations.

 

Do you have the same profanity inducing disdain for the women in these affairs ? There's no mention of them in your post.

 

It's an interesting human dynamic, how much of the anger is because of tangible costs, and how much is for them not living up to expectations.

 

(not trying to be argumentative, it really is an interesting thing to examine)

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @SteelToad  @jennwhinnem OK; interesting thoughts, and I'm thinking on this...Should we expect the queen of England to be human, too? Or, should we put her on the throne and not her clan of princes and princesses -- Harry and Sarah, e.g.? 

 

OK, so at the end of the day every elected and appointed official puts their pants on one leg at a time, like you and me. 

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