Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York, resigned from office in 2008 after it was discovered that he had been visiting prostitutes—a good many actually, and expensive ones—on the taxpayer’s dime.
Now that same man is running for New York City comptroller. Yes, that means that he would be in charge of the city’s finances. This is a man who apparently spent as much as $80,000 on a prostitute using campaign funds and/or state money, and now he expects the citizens of NYC to elect him to hold their purse strings.
Whether the city of New York can forgive Spitzer’s former shenanagins, at least one organization is coming out squarely against him: the National Organization for Women. Sonia Ossorio, president of the New York City chapter, said: “Eliot Spitzer is not above the law. Prostitution is not a victimless crime. Why vote for a guy who used women as objects?”
Hmmm. I appreciate the sentiment, but perhaps Spitzer feels our culture is double-minded about the issue. If one of your criteria for electing a politician was “has not used women as objects,” there would be hardly a politician left standing (and maybe that would be a good thing).
Our culture sells things with sex all the time. Feminism has actually encouraged women to use sex for power. And prostitution is actually legal in Las Vegas. Are those women exploited too? And forget prostitution, ubiquitous pornography obviously teaches the objectification of women as sex objects. Aside from the fact that many female porn “actors” are actually being exploited. And I highly doubt that NOW is condemning all of these things.
Once you reject a traditional view of morality, it becomes rather difficult to condemn moral aberrancy. The moral boundaries start looking very arbitrary: “In legal prostitution, a woman has the power so that is okay, but in illegal prostitution, she is being exploited.” “Prostitution encourages the objectification of women, but pornography is okay.” I don’t understand these distinctions. Mostly because they are invalid. Which is why I stick to traditional morality. Spitzer doesn’t understand these distinctions either. I imagine he is as surprised as Gosnell that people are condemning him for something that, on the face of it, seems totally permissible in only superficially different circumstances.
Spitzer admitted in an interview on “Charlie Rose” that the prostitution industry is “exploitative.” Of course, he was not forthcoming when asked whether he had actually exploited women. All he was willing to say was, “The industry is exploitative.” Which is another way of saying, “Someone is exploiting these women, I’m not denying that, but I don’t want you to associate me with them.”
Too late. But let’s not all pick on Eliot Spitzer too much. He’s in a long “illustrious” line of politicians who have taken time off from their daily work of exploiting their constituency to exploit prostitutes with dirty money. And until we as a country return wholesale to a firm moral ground, we are hypocrites to condemn any of it.