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Ms. Kern's right and paid sex Ms. Kern's right and paid sex
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-03-17 09:25:10
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Two US officials came to the centre of the news last week each for very different reasons. One is resigning, perhaps facing legal implications, and the other enjoys full protection from the party she represents and local authorities; what were the charges? One had sex with a prostitute and the other was openly racist, guess which is which!

Eliot Spitzer, who will step down as New York's governor, was found …associating - I have to admit that I love words like that, especially in cases like this - with a prostitute using the services of a certain office often. The very same governor was elected by flagging his fight against …prostitution. I totally agree with his resignation and I totally agree with the man having to deal with a court room and charges. My agreement has nothing to do with using a prostitute and paid sex, I think that is something he and his wife have to deal with, but - I’m sorry for my cynicism - he’s obviously missing something in his life by looking for it somewhere else, preferring to pay instead of having a mistress… something that might have endangered his marriage even more.

My problem is not there, my problem is that a man of his authority, who has obviously spent a long time researching prostitution, may have used this to find the office and may have used his influence to get what he wanted. The man was the Governor of New York and former star prosecutor having prostitution as his main target, so he knew. He knew not only what he needed to know, but also knew everything, which means that he was keeping secrets and, in extent, that he was covering up and that only leads one to corruption! It sounds hard and heavy but it is true and I’m happy justice has found its way to him and obviously he is going to be punished in many ways, including the end of a promising career and most likely the end of his family.

However, let’s move to the next incident. State Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, Republican member of the Oklahoma Legislature, has said that "the homosexual agenda is just destroying this nation" and poses a bigger threat to the U.S. than terrorism, "According to God's word, that is not the right kind of lifestyle." Any comment?

What this woman, who apparently has served as a teacher in the past, said is beyond any comment and the words 'racist' and 'prejudice' sound too small to cover what she announced to the public. It was not enough; the case has gone far further. The local Republicans covered the lady by declaring openly their full support and finding any suggestion for her resignation inappropriate. Inappropriate it is that they haven’t resigned all of them from any official position, inappropriate that they haven’t publicly apologized for even thinking to agree with comments like that, inappropriate that they dare to even argue. Please this has nothing to do with freedom of speech. I’m tired of all these years listening to Nazis and racists preaching about freedom of speech, calling for their right to say and believe what they want. I’m sick and tired of them!

Ms. Sally Kern should resign her public office immediately; she should publicly apologize for every single word she said and the state based on a constitution that guarantees equality to every citizen and protection of racists and prejudice like her should take her to the court and punish her by example stripping her of every right to ask for office again. In Iran they are executing gays, is this future we want, is this the democracy we are all standing for?

Comparing the two cases I have to admit that my first reaction to Mr. Eliot Spitzer’s case was a smile and later thinking seriously about it I started getting a bit upset, but reading Ms. Sally Kern’s comments I felt really angry from the very first moment and the anger is building up more and more. Hitler actually sent homosexuals to Dachau and the gas chambers and, just like Ms. Sally Kern, he thought they were …not right. I suppose for Ms. Sally Kern having long hair is not right, smoking or piercing your ear and I’m sure she would never vote for Mr. Obama, not because he is a Democrat, but for the obviously not right reasons.

   
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Emanuel Paparella2008-03-17 11:09:13
Indeed, what is striking about Ms. Kern's outrageous statement is the air of absolute certainty it exudes. This is a characteristic of many right-wing evangelicals who, having never read and pondered Kierkegaard, confuse knowledge for faith and fail to understand that faith always goes hand in hand with doubt. They usually come across as angry and intellectually manipulative, as John D. Caputo points out in his latest book titled What would Jesus Deconstruct? It is their lack of doubt which fuels their fanaticism. There is however the other side of the coin which also needs to be reflected upon and it is this: left-wing intellectuals often make the fanatics on the right their nemesis and prophetically inveigh against them. They too come across as absolutists and lacking in an appreciation for ambiguity and doubt. A Hitler, or a Stalin, or a Mao would fit the category. I suppose anger is integral part of being a prophet but the question asked in Bernano’s Diary of a Country Priest remains relevant: is your angry protest motivated by the love of the poor and oppressed or by hatred of the rich, or in this case, hatred of an opposite ideology? Not to be too concerned about that subtle distinction means that one runs the risk of becoming like one’s nemesis. Dostoyevsky masterfully portrays this existential situation via the episode of the Grand Inquisitor in his The Brothers Karamozov.


Sand2008-03-17 19:47:20
I am much cheered by Paparella's conviction that doubt is of prime importance to perceiving the world and judging the way it works. Too many people speak bombastically and with total conviction of their inner beliefs and how the universe was created and how it functions. It is only by holding ideas tentatively and continuously testing them against new ideas and perceptions that humanity can properly struggle to understand the nature of the world.


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