Like millions of other Americans--not to mention New Yorkers enveloped in it--I'm morbidly interested in the downfall of former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
I clicked on the TV news reports, and his press conferences on You Tube. I watched three times Spitzer's campaign ad that says, "You begin your journey on Trustworthy Turnpike, make a left on Honesty Road, turn down Integrity Lane, and eventually, if you've walked the right way, end up on Responsibility Road..." I admit, a bit embarrassed, that I saw the photos of Kristen, and chuckled at the Rush Limbaugh promo to the strains of the parody, "Client Number Nine."
During his apology press conference the day before he resigned, Spitzer said he needed "time to rebuild the trust of my family," and I thought, "No way, buddy, is your family EVER going to trust you again!" Certainly no electorate will ever entrust their governance to the pathetic, hypocritical former New York "law and order" attorney general.
What kind of arrogance allows someone in so visible a position, so elevated and honored, to think he can escape undetected YEARS of spending $5,000 per pop on call girls? Who uses eighty thousand dollars of inherited wealth (or, who- knows-whose funds), in a hurtful web of illegal duplicity? One word comes to mind: CHUTZPAH, brazenness born of self-aggrandizement to the selfish disregard of anyone else.
OK, it's bad enough that he publicly humiliated his wife and three daughters and scarred forever their feelings about him. His family tragedy is sad, but localized. What's worse is that, despite vocally eschewing any religious association, (refusing a bar mitzvah, marrying a Baptist), Spitzer is seen as a Jew. Even if news reporters don't focus on his background, they slip in that now, his aspiration to become the first JEWISH president is dashed.
Eliot Spitzer has committed a sin Jews are commanded to sacrifice their lives rather than commit: defaming God (chillul Hashem). By being identified as a Jew, Eliot Spitzer's carnal indulgences make all Jews, and God, look bad. It takes a lot of positive role models like Joe Lieberman living honorably on a daily basis to offset a single splashy transgressor like Eliot Spitzer. And chances are, as the news unfolds, the activities of Mr. Spitzer will continue to smear our people's reputation.
And, I must add, his misdeeds continue to taint me. My interest in his conduct, aroused out of shock, has continued out of prurience. It does not elevate me to know about his creepy connivances, the 22-year-old brunette misfit he engaged, and the heartbreaking experience of his family. It does not improve my character to know that a fellow Jew, whom I'm commanded to love whether or not he identifies with our faith, is behaving disgracefully. Each person with ears or eyes is lowered by knowing of this sordid and skanky affair. I'm glad he resigned immediately, because that likely will shorten the number of days I must absorb new smarmy details.
But I'm going to try to resist further exposure to this story. I see this as an opportunity for self-discipline in skipping the enticing newspaper headlines and switching radio channels during the top-of-the-hour newscast. It's a chance to reaffirm my own values, and appreciate even more the normality and closeness with those in my life. It's a time to reconnect with others in a positive spirit, especially on the eve of Purim, which celebrates Jews' embracing of Torah even when hidden in a secular and anti-Semitic climate.
Yes, I've heard enough, and it's time to move on to happier things in this month of simcha.