WASHINGTON, April 2, 2015 — Dante reserved a special place in Hell for the neutrals, those who feared commitment to either side, good or evil.
And in modern America, being a double-dealing, immoral gasbag means never having to say you’re sorry. So says America’s latest guru of social mores.
“I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale,” said President Bill Clinton’s mistress Monica Lewinsky in a recent TED Talk. She admitted that her sexual affair with the married Clinton was a “mistake” made by a 22-year-old girl “swept up into an improbable romance.”
Lewinsky’s idea of “romance” required keeping the blue dress on which President Clinton deposited semen, as a trophy to hold and cherish.
It’s clear that Lewinsky was no Cinderella and Bill Clinton no Prince Charming. But Lewinsky does not blame herself for capitulating to the sexual advances of a low serial womanizer, or condemn a man for dishonoring a vow to remain faithful to his wife “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part.”
What does bother Lewinsky is that Clinton’s wife and the broader society were told of the affair and Clinton’s dishonorable breach of trust.
“Remember, just a few years earlier, news was consumed from just three places: reading a newspaper, magazine, listening to the radio or watching television. That was it,” said Lewinsky. “But that wasn’t my fate. Instead, this scandal was brought to you by the digital revolution. That meant we could access all the information we wanted, when we wanted it, anytime, anywhere. And when the story broke in January 1998, it broke online. It was the first time traditional news was usurped by the Internet for a major news story … Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide … This rush to judgement, enabled by technology, led to mobs of virtual stone-throwers.”
Lewinsky’s shame is not in what she did to a married man, or allowed a married man to do to her, but that they were found out.
Worse, Internet news aggregator Matt Drudge broke a story the mainstream media had kept under wraps for at least a year. In doing so, Drudge also broke the unspoken understanding between the press and powerful Democratic Party elites that their moral shortcomings are to be kept hidden from public scrutiny, as was the case for FDR, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy and—for a short 12 months—Bubba.
It’s laughable to hear Lewinsky cast herself the victim of puritanical, moral outrage. Last July, a Quinnipiac University Poll found that Americans place Bill Clinton second—after Ronald Reagan—in the pantheon of modern America’s “Best Presidents.”
Clinton’s moral lapses and his lie to the American people—“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”—became a problem only after he lied under oath to a federal grand jury.
Who or what made Lewinsky feel that her actions, which clearly did not affect the attitudes of a majority of Americans outside a D.C. grand jury room, engendered a “rush to judgment” that “publicly humiliated” her, leading to outrage and “scandal”?
The answer is in that small remnant of America that clings to Judeo-Christian moral sensibilities. “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless,” says Jesus in the New Testament book of Matthew.
Humanity doesn’t much care what the Bill Clintons or Monica Lewinskys of this world do to and for each other. But the Bill Clintons and Monica Lewinskys of this world most certainly care what the morally centered, “the salt of the earth,” think of them.
That’s the reason Monica’s head continues to reel nearly 20 years after her public humiliation. That is also why, without a hint of self-consciousness, she sought and received a sympathetic hearing before a TED audience, an organization whose motto is to transmit “Ideas Worth Spreading.”
Imagine a 22-year-old Monica Lewinsky handing her freshly soiled blue dress to the disgusted dry-cleaning attendant forced to witness her and Bill’s debauchery.
Lewinsky’s tortured cry is that of a twisted world obsessed with forcing a religious minority to throw out and trample “underfoot as worthless” a tested moral code two millennia old.
But its undimmed rays are so brilliant, “Not a day goes by that I’m not reminded of my mistake,” said the disgraced Monica Lewinsky.