Monday, March 10, 2008

That Clinches It

Oh, goddamn it, Eliot Spitzer. Why do you have to go and do something so godawful stupid?!!

I should probably have more of a problem with Spitzer calling a high priced call girl from an interstate prostitution ring---on a political level, and as a feminist. But that's not the part that's really bugging me. It's the way that this incident figures in the dream of Eliot Spitzer---defender of the people, the icon of ushering in a new period of ethics in state politics, this totally smart, conscientious guy who's got a good enough sense of humor to show up on Colbert. If Spitzer had been just some run of the mill politician, then this would be a blip on the radar. Chalk one more up to the dudes who can't keep it in their pants; what else is new? Instead, Spitzer was an avatar, and this NY Times story tarnishes him in a way that it wouldn't have some other random elected official. I feel sad, and disappointed, and a bit heartbroken because it's an example of the ways in which these people in whom I've invested a good deal of hope and belief and trust aren't the people I wanted and expected them to be.

Truth be told, the Spitzer incident is just a national allegory for my own small circle right now, in a number of ways. A distant family member, who's been of such help to me in the past, has just sneakily bilked my step-father out of an inheritance; a colleague that I knew and admired from afar seems evermore affected by the swirling politics around her; etc., etc.

In many ways, I don't think that I'm particularly realistic or pragmatic when it comes to my relationships with other people. If I'm honest, I tend to create a narrative about people I know and view their behaviors and motivations through that narrative forever. And on top of that, I think I' m a bit of an inflater; if I like you and respect you, than I generally think you can do no wrong. In essence, I'm confessing to owning a psyche that is the equivalent of shooting myself in the foot. Or setting myself up to be hurt? Which crapped-out cliche is it that I'm reaching for, here? I'm looking for the one that succinctly describes the way in which it's a mistake to think that anyone is perfect, or lives in harmony and accordance with his/her stated principles. [It could be that I've been watching too much In Treatment, but I'm sure that this has something to do with my childhood... Perhaps Gabriel Byrne would like to talk to me about it?]

In situations like these, I find that it's becoming easier and easier, over time, to withhold judgment. Because, after all, I couldn't be more fallible if I worked for it. I'm a ball of contradictions and insufficiencies and as much as I like to think that I'm working hard to be a person of integrity, I'm also small minded and vengeful and easily swayed. Big glass house, that's me.

But even without judgment, bearing witness to others' shortcomings is painful and sad and disappointing on a global level. Not to sound like a 5 year old, but if no one is capable of consistency with their principles, then what's the point? Who is there to model my sad little attempts after?

So, thanks for nothing, Eliot Spitzer, except the reminder that good people are fallible, and that they can still do good work. Maybe that's the model I need to start taking more seriously.

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Blogger Ashley said...

Seriously. GOD. You know, I'm pretty sure that to be a high-level politician, you need to be an egomanialcal asshole, like, almost to a pathological degree. So I guess part of that means thinking you won't get caught, or if you do you'll be able to hush it up. But (especially when the Republican smear machine is after you) you will, and you won't. So, hey, politicians who claim to be anti-corruption crusaders for reform? Keep it in your hypocritical pants, ok? Especially if you're Democrats, because that shit's not just disappointing, it's damaging in a crucial election year.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:36:00 AM  
Blogger kfluff said...

Word, sister. And isn't it just the saddest thing that in order to have the desire to run for public office you have to be an egomaniacal asshole? It just makes no sense. We have to be immediately suspicious of people who are interested in having power? Well, yes. But...Sigh.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:41:00 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Great post. You expressed almost exactly how I feel.

p.s. Don't you wish you had an hour a week with Gabriel Byrne?

Friday, March 14, 2008 1:35:00 PM  
Blogger kfluff said...

Thanks Beth, and yes, I'd take an hour a week with Gabriel Byrne any day. And not just for therapy... Doesn't that guy ever age?

Friday, March 14, 2008 2:53:00 PM  

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