The New Puritanism
Posted on November 13, 2012
Had David Petraeus decided to divorce his wife, he would still be CIA Director, and the FBI would be investigating somebody else’s sex life.
If David Petraeus were gay, he would still be CIA Director, and the FBI would be investigating somebody else’s sex life.
50 years ago, it was common to stay married, yet fool around on your spouse.
Today, that amounts to a scandal that can get you fired.
50 years ago, it was forbidden to be gay and divorce was strongly discouraged.
Today, you are part of the protected class if you are gay and divorce carries no stigma to it.
An old joke: Why is divorce so expensive? Because it is worth it.
Nobody could blame David Petraeus if he left his wife.
No offense to Holly, but she is no Grete Garbo.
Petreaus is an ultra-marathoner who keeps himself in extraordinary shape. You really can’t say the same about Holly.
People grow apart. It happens. It is not pleasant.
And more and more in society, it is the women who are leaving the men after the kids have left. Women can take care of themselves, and they get sick of taking care of their husbands too, especially if the guys become fat slobs who can’t keep a job or pick up after themselves.
It is admirable that Petreaus wanted to stay in his marriage with his wife, but if he fell in love with another woman, he should have come clean with her.
But as we all know, life is more complicated than that.
I worked for Tom DeLay when he worked to impeach a President for sleeping around on his wife. DeLay would maintain that the impeachment effort was made because Clinton lied under oath, but if you were confronted with evidence that you had sex with an overweight intern while you were President, you would have lied too.
Clinton was and is a notorious philanderer, but he still made a pretty good President. In fact, he is so popular, he helped get this current President over the finish line in the last election.
But Clinton might be the last of the Presidents to get away with that kind of hanky panky.
We now live an age of the new Puritanism.
It is far safer to be divorced or to be gay than it is to be an unfaithful spouse.
There are two fascinating things about this latest scandal.
The lovers were done in by gmail and G-Men.
Apparently, one of the emails sent by Petraeus and his paramour described a sexual act done under a desk. Why would anybody put that on gmail?
Any hacker half worth his title could break into a gmail account. You would think that the CIA director would understand that fact.
The bigger question is why does the FBI think that this is at any way relevant.
You would think that an organization, whose founder had his own strange sexual proclivities, would be a tad more deferential to the CIA. But they have seemingly gone all in on this investigation, in a way that may cause some real problems or the FBI once the dust settles.
If you think that David Petraeus was a good soldier and an effective CIA director, and that he had the talent, wherewithal, vision and ability to keep this country safe from the bad guys, then you think this whole “scandal” is ridiculous and that he should never have resigned. That is my view.
If you think that Petraeus showed terrible judgment and that by being unfaithful to his wife he was unfaithful to his country, well, then you are a new puritan, and you currently rule this country.