the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

December 29, 2005

Morality Is About More Than Sex


As I mentioned two weeks ago, a source of entertainment on visits to my parents is reading the editorials and letters to the editor in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which provide a view into a world different from that revealed on the equivalent pages of the Washington Post or even the Washington Times. During this Christmas visit, my attention was captured not by the latest right-wing ranting, but by something I noticed in a letter from someone who was not a Bush supporter:

U.S. Didn’t Suffer Under Clinton

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Don’t ask me to stop bashing President Bush if you’re still bashing President Clinton! I take exception to my friend, Eula Randall Lucy, in her recent letter, “People Risk Lives for American Dream,” in which she states, “After the degrading years our country suffered through while the Clintons were in the White House, we are happy to have a President and First Lady with moral and religious values.”

This country was not suffering while Bill Clinton was President, unless of course you can’t get over Bill’s lack of morals. While it’s true that today with Bush we don’t have moral issues with the President, we just have issues about a war, an incredible deficit that grows daily, questionable folks in his administration, Bush’s selection of leaders, the government’s response to crises, gas prices, our reputation with the rest of the globe, etc., etc., etc. And how does one decide that the vitriol that we hear against this President and this country is unpatriotic?

I happen to think this President is a total embarrassment. I have a right to think so and that is the great thing about this country, and it’s the one thing Ms. Lucy and I can agree on. I, too, offer special thanks at this time of year for the privilege of living in the most wonderful country in the world where folks can disagree. I just don’t apply labels to those who don’t happen to agree with me.

Richard Bragg,

I don’t want to single Mr. Bragg out, but he’s provided a useful example of a mistake I run across often in political discussions: buying into the Republican notion that morality is only about sex. Bragg says “we don’t have moral issues with the President” but then in the same sentence brings up war, passing on debt to the next generation, official corruption, treatment of the poor, and other issues, all of which are moral issues. But somehow too many people — even liberals — go along with the idea that morality is only about keeping your pants on at the appropriate times.

President Clinton, like all of us, had moral failings, and the ones Lucy is talking about greatly affected him and his family. But nonsexual moral failings can do just as much damage — or far more, especially if you are the president of the United States. Moral failings by a president in deciding matters of war, or economics, or the environment can do literally millions of times more damage than any sexual trangression a person could possibly commit. Keep that in mind the next time someone talks about “moral values” and elections.

And if you absolutely must have a Bush moral failing with a sexual angle, read Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings on how the administration can’t quite bring itself to stand up to defense contractors on the issue of human trafficking — including selling women as sex slaves.

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DCDL is a blog by Washington, DC-area members of Drinking Liberally. Opinions expressed are the writers’, not those of Drinking Liberally, which provides no funding or other support for this blog.

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