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March 18th, 2008
photo credit: traskblueribbon
The media has been up in arms in the past two weeks over ex-Governor Spitzer’s prostitution scandal. While the outrage might be justified under normal circumstances, the emphasis in the news has little to do with the morality of the issue, focusing instead on its political implications.
The news shows little of the widespread prostitution of this nation, because nobody really cares about the average Joe that, for whatever reason, seeks the company of an “escort”, nor about the woman who has reduced herself to listing her body for sale.
Instead, we hear over and over again about prominent individuals that dabble in such promiscuous activities, like so many of their lesser-known counterparts. It seems that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
While the media focuses from time to time upon the prostitution of the body—(predominantly) women offering their bodies for financial benefit—what of the political prostitution that surely occurs in all levels of government? What of the elected leader whose vote is influenced by the donations he receives from certain PACs and large corporations? The offering of one’s services for a corrupt use, for the sake of personal financial gain, is the very definition of prostitution. Some women sell their bodies; some politicians sell their influence and power.
Wealthy interests (corporations, mostly) donate large amounts of money to politicians. In return, those politicians enact and support legislation that financially benefits those interests (at the expense of the public), thereby enhancing their wealth and power and enabling them to continue to continue the cycle. Such donations might better be referred to as an investment on the part of the contributor.
An early attempt to prevent such political prostitution (or legalized bribery) was the Tillman Act of 1907. Corporations quickly found a way around this with a bevy of loopholes and alternative approaches. Later, the Federal Election Campaign Act was born, which gave way to the recent Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (otherwise known as McCain-Feingold).
These legislative attempts to control political prostitution will never yield the desired results. Special interests and influential lobbyists will always, always find a way to maintain power and steer the course of events in their favor.
Similarly, sexual prostitution will continue so long as there is a market for it. This means that as long as there are men willing to pay, there will be women willing to sell their body.
It’s the same with politics: so long as there are special interests, wealthy corporations, and corrupt lobbyists who desire to pad the pockets of those that help them, there will be office-seeking, power-lusting vermin who will list for sale the influence they receive and the power of the law they control.
6 Responses to “Political Prostitution”
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While Spitzer’s immorality is destestable, he has not yet been charged with any crime. Usually it is the prostitute or the pimp that gets charged, not the “customer.” Spitzer was caught by blackmail, resulting in the Powers That Be trying to excercise their control and power over those in public office.
This is the method of how the secret combinations within our own government operate. The PTB see to it that the candidates who are elected to office are also the same candidates the PTB has ammo to blackmail them with. In this fashion, the PTB can excercise control over the candidates by threatening them.
So, what did Spitzer do that enraged the PTB to the point of blackmailing him out of office?
Spitzer wanted to investigate the dealings of Wall Street and the Bear Stearns bank, and he also wanted to investigate Larry Silverstein and the insurance fraud of the WTC and the also the dealings of the pensions of those killed in the 9/11 attacks.
Spitzer got what he deserved, but the American people did not get the truth nor the reason for the explosive coverage in the news media.
As an aside, when Spitzer’s immorality came to light, there were calls for his impeachment if he didn’t resign. But when Mark Foley’s immorality came to light concerning his homosexuality with an intern, no such calls were allowed to happen. In fact, the number of Republicans actually supporting him was astonishing!
(Does this mean the Republican Party is the less-moral of the two? Laughable, but it makes one wonder!)
“what of the political prostitution that surely occurs in all levels of government? What of the elected leader whose vote is influenced by the donations he receives from certain PACs and large corporations? The offering of one’s services for a corrupt use, for the sake of personal financial gain, is the very definition of prostitution. Some women sell their bodies; some politicians sell their influence and power.”
For this reason, we should prefer laws that require the full and timely disclosure (of any favor of any kind received by a politician or due to a politician’s influence) over laws that try to prevent inflow. Let the public know exactly who is paying what and in what form (including sexual favors). Then let the public decide for themselves what to do about it.
Uh, Connor, we might not hear about the morality of the issue because that isn’t news – it’s opinion. It’s something about which we already have the knowledge and perspective to reason and judge for ourselves. A “prostitution is wrong” story wouldn’t be news, though I think most of us would agree with the statement.
The political implications, though, are news because many of us don’t know what is going to happen. Insomuch as the moral issue can be addressed (such as the many mainstream media articles mentioning Spitzer’s loss of “moral authority”), I feel that they have. I agree with your perspective that we are tolerating certain immoralities in society, but you may be applying your beliefs a little overzealously on this issue.
The second half of your post is spot-on, though.
And let’s not forget male prostitutes, which work just as hard for the money, but who have been given short shrift in this post.
Clumpy, don’t you know that what the world needs right now is a steady diet of moral hectoring to keep ’em on the straight and narrow? It’s an imperfect solution, but until the state has the power to legislate morality, it’s the best we can do.