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The Kings of de Nile

Anita HillThere appears to be a nonexistent learning curve for public figures. No matter how many are eviscerated on the long knives of civic scorn, the first, preferred strategy of an accused, respected personage is denial. This stance is resolutely held to until the overwhelming tsunami of evidence finally swamps the denier. It reminds me of a man on fire running as fast as he can to get away from the flames.

Some notable examples come immediately to mind:

Jack Kennedy— apparent satyriasis sufferer (unreported and untreated).

Martin Luther King, Jr.— consorted with prostitutes.

Bill Clinton— Monica Lewinski affair.

Jonathan Edwards— baby with mistress.

Anthony Weiner— “obscene” Internet posts.

Coach Joe Paterno— failure to file a police report on coach Jerry Sandusky’s pedophilia.

Herman Kane— resolute denial of five (and counting) women’s allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. (innocent until proven of course…) Roman Catholic Church officials—longstanding and continuing protection of pedophile priests.

As bad as these crimes are, the situation is always exacerbated beyond all imagining by subsequent denials and cover-ups.

Are there larger issues here that need to be examined? It is easy to understand the sexual denial. We live in a culture that, in spite of the sexual revolution of the sixties, still tries to deny that we all have genitalia and libidinous drives. 

This very denial prevents many from initially seeking help with problems that can result in illegal, destructive and immoral behavior. I think the child-like American public expects their politicians and revered authority figures to be as sexually pure as Ken and Barbie.

A sad byproduct of this delusion is of course the accompanying persecution of whistle blowers and victims. The assistant coach, who first witnessed the pedophilia event in the Penn State locker room, has received death threats.

Herman Kane’s lawyers are threatening that any woman who wants to report allegations of misbehavior “should think twice” before coming forward. One of the most famous men to successfully dodge the accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior was Supreme Court Judge, Clarence Thomas. He accomplished this in no small part by a smear campaign against his accuser, respected academic, Anita Hill, who was unfairly characterized as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty.”

Sexual and political misbehavior becomes even more toxic when money, power, reputations and tradition are added.  Do we need to be reminded of the tendency of absolute power to corrupt absolutely?


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