Monday, April 5, 2010

Doing the right thing and other unthinkable options.


There is a saying that became popular after Watergate, "The cover-up is worse than the crime." Like any conventional wisdom, it has its moments and other times, it doesn't even come close to conveying the truth.

We should start with the difference between a scandal and a crime. Michael Steele is the head of the Republican National Committee, and while there have been plenty of scandals during his tenure, none have risen to the level of criminality. The latest, a $2,000 expenditure for a trip to a high end strip club in West Hollywood that ended up as a receipt paid for by the RNC, is getting plenty of play in the press but is of no interest to any law enforcement agency.

It's just embarrassing. Or if you watch The Daily Show, it's just HIGH-larious.

Technically, no crime and no cover-up, just another of many embarrassing gaffes that have been the hallmark of the Steele tenure as RNC chairman, a tenure all liberals and progressives hope will last for many years to come.

Oh, heck, let's go for it. We want Steele as RNC chair for life.

The right thing to do for Steele if he wants to help his party is to resign, but obviously, the right thing is not an option.


Having sex with a woman who isn't your wife isn't a crime, unless some idiot actually succeeds in turning the Ten Commandments into statute law. So in this case the cover-up is worse than the act it covers up, because the cover-up might actually involve crimes. According to reports at The Huffington Post quoting a Nevada political reporter named Jon Ralston, the Justice Department is doing due diligence on an indictment of Senator John Ensign of Nevada for payments he made to the family of his mistress Cindy Hampton. Ms. Hampton and her husband both worked on Ensign's staff, and the odd ways that money got into the Hampton bank accounts may have broken several laws.

John Ensign is one of those upstanding Christians that belong to an odd little group called The Family (no relation to the Charles Manson cult of the same name). The Family maintains a nice little sleepover mansion on C Street in Washington, a Christian fellowship that believe that God's work is done by special people with lots of power who commune with Special Jesus, not that scruffy commie Jew boy who got himself killed about 2,000 years ago.

Ensign came forward and asked for the resignations of both Bill Clinton and Larry Craig for their sexual misdeeds. He could do the right thing, but obviously that isn't an option.


And then there is the cover-up that is nowhere near as bad as the crime, because the crime is multiple instances of the rape of children. Joseph Ratzinger, now going under the alias of Pope Benedict XVI, was deeply involved in the hiding and re-assignment of pedophile priests. I chose this picture of him that makes him look like an old and decrepit underworld boss who cannot be touched by the law because that is what he currently is.

In some ways, this should be a legal matter and not one for the church. The parents of the molested children could have gone to the secular authorities instead of the to church bureaucracy to get justice done, but in a place like Ireland, if the church refuses to co-operate, can anyone be sure the police or the prosecutors or the judges would do the right thing? Would a cop be willing to arrest a priest and would that cop's superiors back him up? If the cops are clean, are the district attorneys? And if the system works all the way up to that point, who's to say some judge won't defend the rights of the corrupt church instead of the rights of the completely innocent victims?

There are times when the power of the church has been severely limited, sometimes in a power struggle with some other powerful institution, sometimes because the faithful rose up in protest. It's time for some of the old grumpy people pretending to be John Hancock and Sam Adams in this country change their goofy outfits and walk around in public pretending to be Martin Luther. The church is unclean and deserves to wither and die if it does not purge itself and reform.

Pope Benedict XVI could do the right thing and resign, but I think you've caught on to the pattern if you've read this far.


1 comment:

Who you callin' housewife? said...

The photo of Steele makes me laugh (as do all photos of Steel).
The photo of Ensign makes me want to shower. Twice. The photo of the Pope gives me chills.

In my worst dreams there are no hairy monsters or men with masks and chainsaws. I see the Pope with a cold smile.