This has been brewing for a long time... You'll be able to tell because some of the references are dated, but I think it's still timely, not to mention important.
A while ago, there was a bright, shining Apollo in Democratic circles who got busted for being very, very bad at the things that he most criticized others for - trying to get away with it. I was (and still am, at least kind of) a big fan of Elliot Spitzer. I knew that he wasn't going to run for President this year (it had always belonged to Hillary and Barack) but I had held out a lot of hope for him in 2012 (barring the worst this year) or at least 2016, if not a potential Veep slot.
All that talk now seems so so so ridiculous. So...long ago. Fortunes can be made and lost in the political world in less time than it takes the seasons to change. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Fortunes should change, people should be held accountable for their actions. But just like my always-in-progress, never-to-be-delivered polemic on the futility of the Drug War, I'm not sure if this event actually did anything; other than change the fate of one man.
It's always my hope when terrible things happen that it will lead to a national dialogue on the subject, because it's when people are truly engaged, when they're not just talking about things, but when they're thinking about them, that results are more likely to become tangible or measurable.
For a while, in the aftermath of the Spitzer scandal, it looked like that might actually happen - why is prostitution illegal anyway? I don't support the legalization of prostitution but I know many feminists who do. I also don't (at this point) support the legalization of drugs, but I know many rational people who do. These things are worth talking about! And even more than that, they're worth seriously considering. We don't have to throw the baby out with the bath water, but it's also worth a little time to perhaps produce some insight when it seems we're constantly treating symptoms as opposed to the disease.
Once upon a time, it seemed like everyone was talking about Elliot Spitzer and what his scandal meant to the Democrats and how we were going to recover from it. Then it died down for a while and then everybody got obsessed afresh with John Edwards and his mistakes. While I think there's room here for a sidenote that, to be fair, for the most part, these are deeply personal issues that, perhaps, are no one else's business, I do also acknowledge that as the 21st century has progressed, these things matter more than ever. The people who put themselves in these situations should know better.
And yet...they don't. People who should know better continue to put themselves in precarious positions. And for a while, there's some outrage, but very quickly it seems to die down and nothing actually comes about of the issue. And isn't that the real tragedy? To be continued...