Parochial Hypocrisy

by Daniel McNeet on December 5, 2012

Good day, good people.

Parochial hypocrisy in America has caused the downfall of many good people for no good reason.

For devotees of the English language: I have sought guidance for the definition of these words from my long-time companion and friend Merriam-Webster. Scandal means the loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety. Morality means a doctrine or system of ideas concerned with conduct. Propriety means the standard of what is socially acceptable in conduct, behavior and speech.

The word scandal with prurience included sells well with the media and may or may not increase their readership and advertising rates. When the media and the readership or viewership matures, their having or intending to arouse an unwholesome interest in sexual matters will become irrelevant — the sooner the better.

What about getting aroused, excited and outraged about something important? As examples: lack of affordable health care for all, fixing our infrastructure, educating our citizens so they can graduate with the ability to read and learning geography not by wars so they can find the countries on the map. Finally, what about all taxpayers paying their fair share and not having the Middle Class and the poor pay the unfair share for the benefit of the others who can easily afford it?

The French citizens are upset with their president, Francois Hollande. Not because he has a girlfriend, Valérie Trierweiler a stunning magazine writer, and a former partner, Ségolène Royal and mother of his four children, but because he cannot control the two women in his life. Is this the same mistake General David H. Petraeus made? For I see no other. Royal wants to be and thought she should have been president instead of Francois — ambitious and disgruntled. Maybe, Valérie is just your normal-jealous human being.

President William Jefferson Clinton was confronted with having an extra-marital affair. He denied having sexual relations with “that woman” and then was accused of committing perjury. The House impeached him for obstruction of justice and perjury. The Senate found him not guilty. He declined to resign — fortunately for the Unites States of America. He was not indispensable, but necessary. When he was asked why he got involved with Monica Lewinsky, he answered, “Because I could.” He also could and did have extra-marital affairs before he was president and while he was married to Hillary.

President Warren Harding had two extra-marital affairs, and he was elected president in 1920. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a lengthy extra-marital affair while he was president. John Fitzgerald Kennedy had extra-marital affairs before and during his presidency. They all had more responsibilities and secrets than Petraeus. So, what was the real reason behind his resignation?

No one is indispensable. True or false?

Like all rules there are exceptions. David Petraeus is one of them. There are so few we need to keep all of them. Should the president have accepted his resignation? There were no breaches of national-security issues, crimes or broken laws involved according to the FBI which investigated the relationship with his mistress. The only law which might have been broken depending on the jurisdiction or jurisdictions of the relationship was adultery. There are places where parochial hypocrisy exists and adultery is a crime. If the legislators in these states were to repeal adultery as a crime, it would save them from being blackmailed and/or prosecuted when caught. Or, do they believe they are above the law? Probably.

David Petraeus decided that his definition, the only one that was important to him, of morality and propriety had been violated when he admitted to having had an extra-marital affair. He said his actions were “morally reprehensible.” Like Clinton, did he because he could?

It is not fair, honest or realistic to blame either party, Paula Broadwell or David Petraeus, for their conduct. It takes two to engage in an extra-marital affair. Only the misogynists among us whom talk and write about them are blaming Paula. Is this the same as being a male-chauvinist pig? Sounds like it to me.

All I see is a parochial, Victorian, unrealistic and out-of-date social issue. The military considers adultery a violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This atmosphere is propagated by an archaic-moral attitude of Intolerants and Disrespecters among evangelicals, religions, religious right, the Tea Party Patriots and the Conservative right. They are all still living in the past in another time and place. Members of these entities are trying to impose their arrogant and holier than thou attitudes on others. Their days are numbered. They should have entered the twentieth century, but now they have the opportunity to enter the twenty-first. Only in the wonderful United States of America, a liberal democracy, do the Disrespecters and Intolerants have the same rights as the Respecters and Tolerants.

So how many of the Disrespecters and Intolerants have had and/or are having extra-marital affairs presently? Some are also Lesbians, Bisexuals, Gays and Transgenders, LBGTs, but still not disclosing the fact? They have the right to be silent. But do they have the right to criticize others? Yes, but only in the wonderful United States of America, a liberal democracy, do the Disrespecters and Intolerants have the same rights as the Respecters and Tolerants. Members of Congress and politicians who are gay and hiding in a heterosexual marriage and/or having extra-marital affairs have every right to be silent, too. Do they have the right to be hypocritical and criticize Petraeus? Yes, they do. But if they look into a mirror before they criticize, they might decide against it for fear they may be next.

Gay marriage and equal rights for all will be the law of the land. The Disrespecters and Intolerants should accept it and get on with their lives. The civil war in America will not be over until every citizen in our society is given an equal opportunity.

An FBI employee, Frederick Humphries II, without authorization took the Petraeus revelations to the Republicans in Congress at the end of October. Why? Was the Petraeus Affair to be exposed to cause the Obama administration an embarrassment? It would have had no affect on the outcome of the election except in the minds of the small minded. Considering the fact the president won the vote of the electorate by more than three million, three hundred thousand votes as of this writing, I doubt that it would have made the slightest difference. And he won in the Electoral College by a margin of 206 to 332.

Did the FBI’s illegal conduct expose the Petraeus affair? What was the need to expose Petraeus, who did it and why? Will the Department of Justice investigate the conduct of the FBI and hold the violators, if there were any, responsible? Frederick Humphries, the FBI agent, was acting on behalf of Jill Kelley and the FBI at the same time. He had a conflict of interest and was unauthorized by the FBI to do so when he went to Republicans in Congress. What is to happen to Mr. Humphries?

The divorce rate in the United States is about fifty percent. How many were caused by extra-marital affairs? Who cares other than those involved?

There was not an national-security issue, the members of Congress had no need to know about the affair, nor did the public. Once the affair was made public and if Petraeus had not resigned, the threat of extortion would have evaporated and the best man for the director of the CIA would still be in place. How often are we going to shoot ourselves in our common sense and lose one of the best of the best? The international community is laughing at America and its sacrifice of Petraeus on the altar of parochial hypocrisy. An extra-marital affair is an issue the international community considers to be normal. Our enemies are thankful he resigned too.

The more law enforcement illegally or legally invades the privacy of our citizens, the more risk there is of exposure. There were widespread crimes and illegal invasion of privacy during the Cheney administration and no one was punished. Why?

Do not be naïve. Do not say, write or send anything to anyone which will cause you embarrassment or worse when it appears on the front page of a major newspaper or on the Internet. You need to give consideration to the fact that David Petraeus’s email account was hacked, an illegal act, and invaded his privacy without permission or a warrant by the FBI. How many times has the FBI done this to private citizens without their illegality being exposed? While millions of American engage in extra-marital sexual activity the best of the best must leave office. Why?

Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt left a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing and said to Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC when she asked him if Petraeus should have resigned. “Based on what I know, I wouldn’t think so. Clearly this is not someone who is going to be subject to blackmail.”

Is the FBI to be punished for its illegal conduct? If so, when is who going to be held responsible and what will be the punishment, if any? Should we count the days until it happens? Only someone who believes he or she is above the law would do such a thing. It reminds me of the attitudes of the people who have not been prosecuted for their crimes and illegal conduct which caused the recession of 2008.

So far the transcript of the conversation between President Obama and Petraeus has not been made available, if it ever will be. We do not know whether the president was resistant. Was David insistent? If either, did the president have a choice? Yes, he could have supported him the same way he is supporting Susan Rice, the current United States Ambassador to the United Nations, when she was maligned by Arizona Senator John McCain and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, because she may be nominated by the president for secretary of state. She is highly qualified for the position. The president could have supported David Petraeus, been a better man for it and kept the best man at the CIA. He had the political capital to do it.

America has lost an intellectual and rare treasure from its public service rolls. He was the right man in the right place in Iraq and Afghanistan. He knew the complexities which melded the military and the civilian populations. He was the right man in the right place at the right time at the CIA. The lack of his continuing contribution to the betterment of the CIA will be immeasurable.

Why would Jill Kelley, the other woman, entertain and pursue high-ranking members of the military and engage them in unbridled-obsequious flattery — sycophancy? Maybe, she is the crux of the problem — an agent provocateur? If she is, she has been successful. But like all provocateurs, her turn will surely come. Or, is she just your normal-social climber and user of the targets of her sycophancy?

David Petraeus does not offer an excuse for his conduct. But I would like to mention human frailties. We all make mistakes.

Kofi Anan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, and other knowledgeable people agree that the United States invaded Iraq illegally. Since 2001, the stress of the wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, has exacted a considerable toll mentally and physically on members of the military and their families. As a result, misconduct among the officers and enlisted men abound. Military personnel are not the same people during and after combat tours. Remember, four-star generals are human beings too. You cannot hold them to a higher standard of human conduct. No one knows the breaking point of another and how much stress it will take to cause a breakdown in good judgment in a particular person.

What is your thought on the resignation of David Petraeus as director of the CIA? Some public outrage on his behalf might produce some belated justice. Justice is an interesting word. Can one pass judgment-justice on oneself honestly and effectively? Who knows one better than oneself? It appears David Petraeus passed judgment-justice on himself. But did he appraise the consequences of his judgment correctly? Was his service to the United States as the director of the CIA the higher obligation and responsibility than the moral-religious obligation to himself? What benefit to the nation did his resignation serve? None as I see it. I believe the president and Petraeus missed the opportunity to rise above parochial hypocrisy. Not accepting his resignation would have acknowledged and demonstrated much needed progress regarding social reality.

Remember, David is a human being too. The more we remember this the better off we will be and make some progress in our society instead of remaining backward.

I hope this article will give you something to consider and discuss. To be successful you must understand other people’s opinions and care about them.

Many have asked me if it is alright to publish my weekly column with attribution on their blog, Facebook, website and/or forward it to another. Yes, you may do either or all. If you do, I thank you for the compliment. All Rights Reserved

I care about your opinion. Contacting me with comments and constructive criticisms at Daniel McNeet with honesty and pleasantness their constant companions will always be welcomed.

Tree in the Meadow

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dr. Iur. Marco Carli December 23, 2013 at 9:26 am

A very dear and close friend, Dr, Riccardo Privitera, wrote a very similar article to this one on Newsvine, Pity that you two never had the chance to meet, Riccardo is dead, he died of cancer, because I believe you would have become great friends. Newsvine has kept all his articles as an honor to his memory, so if you have the time read some as they are as controversial as they are profound.
I find it almost ironic that the downfall of General Petraus, was actually initiated by a member of the FBI, an organization molded on the tragic figure of J. Edgar Hoover, a raging closet homosexual with some very serious mental and personal issue that would have made the day of any self-respecting psychiatrist.
This American obsession with the private sexual conduct of public figures is an intellectual labyrinth of incomprehension for a European like myself. As an Italian, the sexual conduct of our politicians is the least of my worries, as it is that of the greater majority of the Italian electorate. Berlusconi is a case in point. We are more worried about their performance as politicians, about their endemic moral and financial corruption, and the tragic reality they have created for our beautiful country, and not whether or not they have mistresses, girlfriends or whatever. So to actually see good men fall for extra-marital affairs in the USA, is more a source of amusement, than anything else. But also a source of worry, because these good men that fall because of what you call “Parochial Hypocrisy” are replaced by morons of caliber of a Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, G.W. Bush etc.
Great article, Mr. McNeet


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