Thursday, November 29, 2012

Victim: the most coveted status anyone can attain in our society

Is General Petraeus a victim? Stephanie D. Edelman writes in The Daily Caller that he may have attained that status.

"This lukewarm, boys-will-be-boys excuse mongering not only condones such behavior, it flies in the face of conservative sensibilities. This is not to suggest that Petraeus should be branded with a figurative scarlet letter or barred from ever holding public office again, or that conservatives should not mourn the loss of such a tremendous leader. Yet Petraeus’ extramarital affair is essentially a betrayal of classic, cherished conservative American values: the institution of the family, and the importance of fidelity and commitment."

"As Doyle McManus noted in the Los Angeles Times, “Petraeus appears likely to go down in history as a beneficiary of what you might call the Bill Clinton rule: Adultery is no longer a disqualifier in American politics.” This normalizing of infidelity should be anathema to conservatives. It is corrosive of the family unit and of the institution of marriage — values which, given their decline in recent years, conservatives should be championing, not undermining."

"Many have opined that the loss of Petraeus’ extraordinary contributions to the nation trumps his personal conduct. Others seek to re-allocate the blame: we can fault the CIA, whose standards regarding extramarital affairs are “artifacts of the Cold War era and the social and political mores of that time” (John Prados, The Washington Post). We can claim that “when a lonely late-middle-aged married man with a stressful job falls into bed (or under the desk) with an attractive and adoring younger woman, it’s not excusable, perhaps, but it’s certainly understandable — and really none of the country’s business”

"Better yet, we can let the general off the hook by deriding the physical appearance of his devoted wife of 38 years, described in a USA Today article as “dowdy Holly Petraeus,” who is “shorter, grayer, broader and way less va-va-voom than the busty other women in this confounding and confusing tale,” and by blogger Christelyn Karazin as “like a 50-something Peppermint Patty. … Holly, if she so chose, could easily improve herself in the looks department. A little hair dye, a date with a gal at the MAC makeup counter, a gym membership and a girdle can do wonders.”

"Such rationalizations vindicate General Petraeus, recasting him in the role of a victim — the most coveted status anyone can attain in our society — who cannot really be held accountable for a moral lapse because he is merely a hapless pawn who has fallen prey to circumstances beyond his control. One expects this sort of spin from the left, but what is truly shocking is the relative lack of outrage from conservatives, many of whom have joined liberals in trivializing the sex scandal.

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