Priorities, America. When will we learn priorities?
It’s frightening for me how often other aspects of government officials’ personal lives affect their public lives – often to a greater extent than their actual government actions do.
Just today CIA director David Petraeus resigned. I assumed that the sudden resignation of such a high figure in our intelligence agency must have been caused by a serious breach of security or a mission’s catastrophic failure. Nope. Petraeus resigned because of an extramarital affair. That makes sense, because his personal marriage is a matter of national security, right?
It’s nothing short of disgusting that recently re-elected President Barack Obama can indefinitely detain and assassinate U.S. citizens without any serious political repercussions, yet a CIA director’s affair – completely unrelated to his actual work – forces him to resign. President George W. Bush brought us serious debt and multiple wars and still served his full two terms. Bill Clinton’s presidency, which was much more successful than Bush’s, is overshadowed by his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
Are personal affairs okay? Of course not. But they should be none of our business. I want a government official that does their job well, regardless of their personal life. After all, Petraeus had more than enough reasons, completely unrelated to his affair, to resign.
Moral character is important, yes. But the president’s job is not to be a nice, good guy; his job is to be a good president. It does me no injury for the CIA director to have ten affairs, or no affairs; it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. I’d rather have a good government official with more mistresses than Tiger Woods, than a bad government official who’s the world’s best husband.
As The Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald pointed out, “Based on what is known, what is most disturbing about the whole Petraeus scandal is not the sexual activities that it revealed, but the wildly out-of-control government surveillance powers which enabled these revelations. What requires investigation here is not Petraeus and Allen and their various sexual partners but the FBI and the whole sprawling, unaccountable surveillance system that has been built.”
I’ll worry about who our government officials are screwing when our government stops screwing us.