L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 130, July 16, 2001
Locked, Loaded, & Lost To Us
When the Levee Breaks
by Jeff Elkins
Special to TLE
I can just imagine the outright glee that must be overflowing in the editorial offices of our cable "news" outlets regarding the Chandra Levy scandal. Given a slow news summer, the case is a godsend; the only thing lacking is a President and a blue dress. Otherwise it has all the elements of a taut beachside thriller by John Grisham; a beautiful young female in distress; distraught family members; high-powered Washington lawyers and most deliciously, the victim's lover; an embattled Democratic Congressman with blow-dried hair and a false reputation as a straight arrow.
We all must feel pity for the Levy family; it's increasingly doubtful that this mystery will resolve itself in anything other than a tragedy. However, even if Ms. Levy were to miraculously appear from hiding, one element of the story is indisputable: Congressman Condit is a sleazebag who preys on women and he's by no means a rare species in Washington D.C.
According to Pepper Schwartz, author and sociology professor at the University of Washington, politicians "are a group of people uniquely likely to have sex outside of relationships. Being in Congress breeds a sense of entitlement. And powerful people are used to being catered to, used to groupies. They expect people to come on to them. They have strong egos, a sense of risk, of adventure, a need for gratification, for adulation."
The ranks of sexually immoral and/or adulterous politicos in our nation's capitol are legion and know no party boundaries. Just to name a paltry few from modern times: JFK, LBJ, Wilbur Mills, Gary Hart, Newt Gingrich, Wayne Hays, Henry Hyde, Bob Livingston, Joe Waggoner, Allan Howe, Barney Frank, Gary Condit, and of course the master of peccadilloes, William Jefferson Clinton.
Do we have any ethical national politicians? Perhaps, but offhand I'm having trouble coming up with names. Even those who may not be sexual predators are serial rapists of our constitutional freedoms. The power of national office has always attracted its fair share of scalawags and scoundrels, but the breed inhabiting the swamps of Washington today would make Burr blush and Hamilton hurl.
The majority of Washington politicians live in a world totally disconnected from their local roots. And once they move to D.C., they never seem to make it back home to live again. Rapid trips home to pander for votes and money, sure. That's about it. At the end of the political career, whether they are defeated for re-election or they retire, they usually segue into a cushy job for a lobbying firm in Washington. Can you imagine Bob (Viagra) Dole retiring gracefully to a Kansas farm?
The system is already starting to crack. Most of the votes in the last presidential election were based on fear; fear of a socialist Gore or fear of a right-wing Bush. Effectively, the two fears canceled each other out and we ended up with a president selected by a few votes on the Supreme Court. And with the exception of zealots on both sides, a majority of the public now knows that it matters not one whit who inhabits the White House or either house of Congress.
It's long past time for us as citizens to stop supporting these vampires by feeding their egos with our votes. What we need is a reverse of a "get out the vote" campaign - we need a "voting is immoral" campaign. Fully fifty percent of those eligible to cast a ballot don't, but that's not enough. We need to press for a minimum of a 60% dropout rate in 2002 and see if we can make it 75% by the presidential elections of 2004.
Soon, the levee will break. It can't happen soon enough for me.