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ERIC BERGESON: No better joy than someone else's misery

Scandal! We all love it. We love when senators, preachers and congressmen get caught with their pants down, especially those arrogant, hypocritical, moralizing types.

Scandal! We all love it. We love when senators, preachers and congressmen get caught with their pants down, especially those arrogant, hypocritical, moralizing types.

"It just makes me sick!" we say with disgust, while what we're really thinking is, "this is so much fun!"

For a week, the airwaves and newspapers are filled with little else.

"Why is she standing up there with that jerk?" people say in wonderment about the poor, loyal wife who agrees to stand by her man at the "I did no wrong" news conference.

Others imply that it's her fault in the first place. I mean, why would he stray other than if he wasn't satisfied at home?


Yes, it is always the wife's fault when men stray. Men are just big, dumb animals wandering around with flared nostrils like bulls in the pasture. Who can blame them for their actions?

When male leaders stray, it is up to everybody else to forgive, forget and put them back up on the pedestal real quick so we can all be more secure as a group.

You see it time and again, in churches, in government, in families, in tribes, in clans and in cults. Forgive the man, but stone the harlot! The impulse runs deep.

In Iran, they still prosecute and punish rape victims. It was her fault, the courts say, even if she was alone and overpowered by a group of males.

We shouldn't be too righteous: In this area, only 100 years ago, female victims of rape were sent to reform school while the men went free because they "couldn't be identified for certain."

Senator Vitter of Louisiana was caught employing an escort service in Washington D. C. this summer. His wife had said during the Clinton scandal that if her husband ever strayed, she'd pull a Lorena Bobbitt.

He strayed, and where was she? At his side at the news conference, hands conspicuously empty.

U.S. Sen. Craig's toe-tapping in the Minneapolis airport is a different deal. Here was behavior so creepy that even his notoriously forgiving Senate colleagues tossed him out like an empty beer can, especially the guys who want to be president.


While our soldiers are abroad fighting in a war which is Congress's responsibility -- at least if you believe the Constitution -- what are our members of Congress busy with? Trying to distance themselves from a low-grade toilet stall creep.

Bottom line: There is no better television on the planet than when some arrogant jerk like Ted Haggard or Larry Craig or Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker or Bill Clinton tries to lie their way out of a corner.

So, we sit glued to the tube. We discuss it at the dentist's waiting room. We talk about it at the cafe. We moralize. We feel good about ourselves. We are glad we aren't that stupid, that arrogant, that evil. And we demand that our politicians respond.

The sensational, lurid garbage pushes the world's true issues aside. Boring but burning issues like war, national debt, roads, poverty, energy dependence, the environment and health care get ignored as we make ourselves feel self-righteous by hanging another hypocrite out to dry.

The so-called witches of Salem, women who, unlike our wandering Senators, were all innocent, were burned alive to distract the people of Salem from their real problems, problems for which they were responsible.

We've got problems, yet we elect governors only if they promise to never raise taxes -- and then we wonder how it is possible that a big bridge might fall down.

No wonder we so enjoy spending a week watching some idiot Senator's career go down the toilet. It's much more fun than being responsible.

Visit Eric's weblog at www.countryscribe.com

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