Yet again, we are treated to the distracting and delicious hypocrisy of the Right’s attack dogs. Yes, it again turns out that those self-appointed to watch over our morality have been doing the naughty stuff behind closed doors. Ted Haggard was an especially tortured case, and I felt conflicted about pouncing on his hypocrisy. But no such hesitation with David Vitter, conservative kook and prostitute lover from Louisiana. What more is there to say, really, than that Vitter is a big fake and pervert (defined with his terms alone)?
First, an obvious point. Given the hostility of the new Right to women’s issues, there is something quietly consistent about the sexual exploitation of women on the part of conservatives. (We can debate whether or not prostitution is sexual exploitation, I guess, but let’s just assume it is for the sake of argument.) It is important to underscore the simultaneous hypocrisy and consistency. If your policy motifs so often hate women and their bodies, then why not purchase and use them? Seriously. There is a real consistency there, folks.
Second, and endlessly interesting to me, is the magical power we seem to have accorded to forgiveness. Apparently, being forgiven means there are no more questions to be answered, no more public obligations to be met. Here’s what Vitter said in response to the report – initiated by a Hustler magazine “investigation” – when contacted:
This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and from my wife in confession and marriage counseling.
Now, I have a simple observation: Vitter has missed the point of this query. The forgiveness question is not generalizable. That is, you cannot be forgiven by one on behalf of all. In fact, forgiveness is completely contextual. He was forgiven (allegedly) by his wife when addressed as a husband. He was forgiven (allegedly) by G-d when addressed as a theological object.
But now he’s being addressed as a politician. A representative of not only Louisiana, but also (as a Senator in the federal legislative branch) of the country as a whole. So those forgivenesses aren’t, strictly speaking, relevant at all. Have we the people addressed this? Nope. And of what would he be forgiven? Hypocrisy? Sexual exploitation of women? Something else? Well, that’s not his call. Since we are the ones who forgive, we set the terms of forgiving. So cool out the forgiveness talk on our behalf, David. OK? Everything is not put to rest. Not even close.
What does it take to get someone to resign these days, anyway? And now we have forgiveness without confession? Seriously. We’re left to our own imagination on this one, something that, despite Vitter’s no doubt relief, actually works against him. Something tells me most of us imagine something much crazier than actual behind-the-scene truth…