often stands for virtue in the eyes of bigots
I think I'm sophisticated
'Cos I'm living my life like a good Homo sapien
But all around me everybody's multiplying
Till they're walking round like flies man
--Apeman, The Kinks
The true hypocrite is the one
who ceases to perceive his deception,
the one who lies with sincerity
The reportage on the recent Secret Service prostitute scandal betrays the schism between self perception and actuality: Secret Service Close Ranks in Sordid Scandal. They are closing ranks because this should have stayed "in-house"; we all know big boys will be boys.
A news report on the "Tawdry prostitution scandal"quoted an open email to members from Pete Cavicchia, president of the Association of Former Agents of the U.S. Secret Service, beseeching: "What ever happened to one's pride in being discreet and keeping a confidence?" Rich, no?
Discretion has always been the better part of valor, so what exactly is discrete and what, "tawdry"? Is the indiscretion in letting the story break? Is it being too cheap to pay for services? Perhaps it is tawdry to secure the legal services of a prostitute and then act like this is a shocking thing; after all, this was not the action of one man, but that of twelve Secret Service agents and 12 enlisted military personnel -- that's 24 people, not an outlier.
Another article entitled, In Cartagena, wild night life is easy to find, was chock full of non-sequiturs. If prostitution is "legal", "real" and "widely accepted" in Columbia, then why do we say it is also, "slightly embarrassing". Slightly, mind you. What's fully embarrassing is our disingenuous stance on the behavior of these 24 men.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano assured senators earlier this week that the incident in Colombia appeared to be an isolated case, saying she would be surprised if it represented a broader cultural problem. The next day, the Secret Service acknowledged it was investigating whether its employees hired strippers and prostitutes in advance of Obama’s visit last year to El Salvador. Prostitution is legal in Colombia and El Salvador.
In a confidential message to senators on Thursday, the Secret Service said its Office of Professional Responsibility had not received complaints about officer behavior in El Salvador but would investigate.
Presumably, the staunch Ms. Napolitano is truly blind to any "broader cultural problems," but what does that mean? We have a culture, not unlike so many others, that objectifies women (people) and is awash in sex and pornography -- is THAT the problem she would be denying?
Prostitution is legal in Colombia, so what control does the Secret Service have over its agents? It will apparently now prohibit agents from "drinking excessively, visiting disreputable establishments while traveling, or taking foreigners to their hotel rooms." None of this has any teeth: What is excessive, and what, disreputable?
One can go to the stranger's room or rent another; one need not "hire" a prostitute, but merely find a drunken babe who will submit to hunky agent's whims. Loving and leaving 'em does not seem to upset our sense of moral equilibrium, and none of it prevents the real threat, which is the possible compromising of secret information.
Unless the agency will begin a new plan of hiring Roman Catholic priests, how can they prevent such happenings (and even then ...)? Oh, it might be nice if the agents showed some discretion, but that would require that they all subscribe to the same moral doctrine and never had any lapses. Even hiring only married agents will not co-opt these sort of events, sad to say.
People -- common, run-of-the-mill-people -- every day violate pledges or expectations of loyalty, so why would we expect Secret Service men to rein in their monkey selves any better?
Why must we act so shocked?