in Postcards from the Edge
Ah, another politician's wife finds herself with yet another hard dog to keep on the porch.
Sad, yes. Shocking?
Surprising that an elected official would deny an extramarital sexual encounter or relationship?
Most adulterers are, by definition, liars.
Maybe not all.
There are probably a few 60s hippie throwbacks who freely share their indiscretions with their spouses during the course of their open marriages, but the rest of us God-fearin' southern souls here in the heartland freely admit that kinda reckless candor (if not the behavior itself) is limited mostly to freaks and weirdos.
(And before anybody jumps to award labels of "liberal" or "conservative," let's all acknowledge that adultery is an activity that has always enjoyed bipartisan support.)
Why then do voters then always spring forth with their moral outrage, cautiously specifying (probably as they survey the skeletons in their own closet), "whoooaaaaa, it's not that he did it, it's that he LIED about it!!"
Oh it is not.
It is both. And it should be. Because they're inextricably linked.
It is too that he did it, because it follows naturally that of COURSE he lied about it.
Most people who are having sex with people they OUGHT not to (employees, employers, their wife's sisterthat kinda thing) LIE about it.
What adulterer comes home and gives a truthful answer to "how was you day, dear?"
Take a poll. Hardly ANY.
So isn't it a LITTLE disingenuous when all the pundits gather to issue their condemnation and carefully delineate that their problem is NOT with the cheating, it's with the lying?
Or worse, when elected officials apologize profusely for their deceit (even the cheap seats get bathed in their tears), while paying nothing more than lip service (so to speak) to the fraud and corruption that almost definitely accompanied it.
They're not sorry they did it; they're sorry they got caught.
That's why they lie.
When hard evidence starts to turn up, they come clean (again so to speak).
The only way two people can keep a secret is if one of them is dead, and since we're not talking about Kennedys, that isn't really germane to the discussion at hand.
What is germane is that illicit activities between consenting public servants often lead to illegal or fraudulent improprieties followed by illicit coverups (and if we wanted to be bipartisan we might at least mention Watergate and Iran-Contra).
What also applies to the discussion is what favors were done for whom? When? And in exchange for what?
What's sad-in Kentucky and elsewhere-is that none of THAT is news. It's how business gets done and the sausage gets made. They don't call it pork-barrel politics for nothin'.
Did anybody ever obtain or hold a job in state government without knowing somebody who had an "in" (maybe literal, maybe not).
That's not to say there aren't fine, brilliant, well-educated folks in government who work a minimum of 60 hours a week and strive only to serve the public. We all know some.
God bless 'em.
But what are the odds that they were hired in spite of their qualifications rather than because of 'em?
Show me anybody in state government making more than $60,000 a year and I'll show you somebody who (at a minimum) had a third cousin once removed who knew a clerk who knew a legislator who was willing to "put in a word." Maybe they incurred rug-burns on their knees in the process, maybe not.
It's all relative, and yet so little is relevant.
Nobody really knows what goes on inside a marriage except the two (or more) people who are in it.
(Thank heavens we passed some laws more specifically outlining the sanctity of the institution and making sure NOT JUST ANYBODY could get in.)
On the other hand, what goes on inside any elected official's fiefdom from 9 to 5 is happenin' on the taxpayer dime. And therein lies the accountability. Or lack thereof.
Voters and politicians are all going to spend a lot of time on their moral high horses in the coming months.
And it's all ridiculous.
I remember when a sheriff near my hometown was "investigated" by the media, mid-election, and it was reported (erroneously) that he'd only made a handful of arrests during his last tenure.
The entire community rallied.
It was heartwarming.
They flooded the local newspapers with phone calls like, "I happen to know for a FACT that he has personally arrested MY boy at LEAST six or eight times. He calls up to the house all the time to tell us Billy Ray's got in some kinda trouble and we've got to haul him to town. We load him up and bring him down there, and the Sheriff arrests him ever' time and puts him on over in the jail."
This particular sheriff is beloved precisely because (to quote my dad and uncles), "he don't do nothin'But he don't bother nobody."
Yeah. That's Eastern Kentucky all right. Small-time. Rural. Typical.
That's what you're thinking.
Nobody wants to believe it's endemic to the entire system, which is so polluted and so corrupt that even the most civic-minded citizens can scarcely stifle their gag reflexes long enough to get in and out of the polls.
Maybe it would be cynical to suggest that "he don't bother nobody" is the best we can hope for in elected officials these days.
Is that the kinda epitaph we'd all be proud to hang on our graves?
We may not get much out of our public servants, but at least we've been trained not to expect much.
And we're so rarely disappointed.
But I say if you've got a dog you can't keep on the porch, get another dog. My generation is more forgiving. My grandmother would've said: shoot that first dog; then get you another one.
If you build it
Starting Thursday, September 27 Habitat for Humanity and the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center will begin to build a home for a single mother who works for the Fayette County school system. Funds to be raised are $37,500. Construction of the house will take place on Fridays and Saturdays. For more info, call 859/323-6337.
Mayoral candidates Teresa Isaac and Scott Crosbie discussed the issues Tuesday at a debate, sponsored by the Greater
Lexington Chamber of Commerce and The Lane Report. The debate will air Wednesday, October 2nd at 8pm on WKYT. Also, Crosbie will appear at a Greater Lexington Ministerial Association Forum October 2, 2002 at 11:30 am at Southland Christian Church.
UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart announced this week that head football coach Guy Morriss has been awarded a contract through the year 2007. Prior to the extension, Morriss had been on contract through 2005. The new contract pays Morriss the same amount of money as the previous one-$170,000 in salary and $230,000 in endorsements. But unlike the previous contract, Morriss is entitled to compensation not through the end of the calendar year, but through the end of 2007 should he be relieved of his duties.
The decision to extend and guarantee Morriss' contract was made, according to Barnhart, after a two-month "evaluation period." The evaluation would've included dealing with the off-the-field difficulties inherited from the Mumme regime.
What's gone on on the field, most noticeably, is Kentucky's 4-0 record going into Saturday's game (3:30 p.m., CBS) against Florida in Gainesville.
Lexington's Annual Take Back the Night rally and march is Sunday, September 29th from 4-9pm in Triangle Park to raise awareness of violence towards women. Live music will be provided by Lexington Blues Society. Author Susan Bordo will speak, along with representatives from the offices of the Mayor and Governor. The march and candlelight vigil follows the speakers.
The Water Ways water education exhibit opens at the LASC Tues, Oct 1. Discover strategies for conserving and protecting water in your community. Info, Bluegrass PRIDE (Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment) or call toll free 866-222-1648.
The fall fundraiser season books up fast. This year's Beastie Ball, benefiting the Lexington Humane Society, will be held Saturday, October 5 at the Radisson. Tickets are $75 in advance; $85 at the door. Info, 233-0044.