Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Republicans, sex, and impeachment

What is it with Republicans and sex? Back in the 90's, they attempted to impeach Bill Clinton because he had sex (or did not have sex; it depends on what the definition of "is" is) with an intern. Now they're threatening to impeach New York Governor Eliot Spitzer over allegations he hired prostitutes. The allegations are certainly embarrassing, and demonstrate the corrupting nature of politics - Spitzer used to prosecute prostitution rings (though his real crusade was against white collar crime). And yes, they could even result in minor criminal charges (the US being one of those backwards places which regards sex between consenting adults as a crime). But to consider them as grounds for impeachment is utterly ridiculous, and shows a severe lack of perspective.

Or maybe it doesn't. After all, if Spitzer is impeached, the state senate majority leader - a Republican - becomes Lieutenant-Governor. Elections? Screw them - if the wrong people win, we'll just impeach them!

At the heart of this problem though is Americans' - and particularly Republicans' - attitudes about democracy and sex. They think the sex lives of elected officials are everyone's business, and that private sexual behaviour affects whether people do their jobs properly. It doesn't. All this puritanical attitude brings is endless scandal and ruined lives. I can't help but feel that if they were more grown up about sex, and recognised proper boundaries between the public and private spheres, their politics would be a lot healthier.