Thursday, March 18, 2010

Raze We Great Men

It wasn't just Julius, Orange or the salad guy, who needed to beware of the Ides of March. As it happens, and all of it wasn't strictly speaking WITHIN the Ides themselves, politicians from New York State have had a rough time and the month is barely over and it's not even all Empire State Fun and Games.

To place the more recent contretemps in context, I'm not sure if we need to revisit Eliot 'In Cash We Trust' Spitzer, or if we have to go back to the bygone era of an always controversial and more than occasionally absent from Congressional roll-call Representatives before marveling at the ham-handedness of Eliot's pinch-hitter, David Patterson. Speaking of hands, a round of applause for Eric Massa as well (don't offer to shake hands, otherwise this gets silly in a hurry).

Hailing from a state where a previous governor reduced a four year term of office to about half while currently residing in a state whose (suddenly previous) governor (literally) piloted an unscripted version of the Hot Tub Time Machine right into a federal correctional institution, I'm not sure why so many of us are surprised, even angered, by egregious behavior that makes headlines.

Since I live in the Northeast, I tend to use that as my frame of reference in terms of human weakness and malfeasance, so I have former New York City Police Commissioners who've covered themselves in something less than glory but that doesn't mean I, or you, should (or even can) ignore the Congressional Floridian or the people's representative in the Utah statehouse (there's that hot tub again)who've both been weighed and found wanting.

The list seems to go on forever, and if this were happening someplace else, it would be funny. How quickly did 'hiking the Appalachian Trail' become a euphemism for an inappropriate relationship and whom should we thank for that? I don't pretend to be able to count the human cost in terms of lives ruined, and opportunities that went begging because flawed men (and women, though we don't seem to focus too much on them, do we?) once they embarked on a path of self-immolation we all just held our breath.

We like our leaders to be larger than life, monuments wherever possible and, when we can, we build their statues with feet of clay, because we feel better about ourselves as we feel worse about them. We forget each of us are all of them and that I am he as you are he, as you are me and we are all together. Even when we are terribly and terminally alone.

The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars but in ourselves.
-bill kenny

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