New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has become only the latest high-profile hypocrite to get caught engaging in the exact same behavior that they’ve spent years crusading against. Here’s a guy who, as Attorney General for the State of New York, brilliantly prosecuted large prostitution rings and other such criminal organizations in his state, but yet now finds himself the subject of a federal indictment under the Mann Act which bans the interstate transport of females for “immoral purposes” and laundering money to pay for them.
It all has a familiar pattern to it, doesn’t it?
Recall, if you will, Florida US Congressman (now citizen) Foley’s increasingly obvious predatory behavior in private and his “holier-than-thou” behavior in public towards exploited children. Much like the Governor’s situation, Congressman Foley’s was a classic, psychology textbook example of the duality of behaviors exhibited by many of those so afflicted with such disorders.
Call it inner guilt, or shame, or compensation…something in the brains of such people quite often makes them go overboard in public in the other direction…to become champions of noble public causes that are diametrically opposed to their own sordid, private urges and behaviors. This also sets them up for charges of hypocrisy when the rest of us eventually learn of their sordid deeds. And, thanks to today’s “all news all the time” world, such “exposures” are happening with an increasing frequently.
From many years of working in the helping profession, I’ve learned to take the public words of such law and order zealots (and their fundamentalist Christian brethren) with a grain of salt. That’s because, as many of the institutions that seem to attract these people ALSO run on guilt and shame, their followers often turn out to be the biggest “sinners” (and/or crooks) of all.
Often, it’s the hope that all their good works in public will somehow “make up for” the guilt and shame they feel for what they seemingly can’t keep themselves from doing in private. Or, sometimes the public cause becomes the rationalization that their sordid behavior in private is somehow “OK” because, “I’m now protecting others from people like me”.
Sadly, this affliction is FAR more prevalent in society as a whole than we might think. We see it in the hundreds of Catholic Priests and Bishops who have sexually molested young children, city firemen who also turn out to be arsonists, policemen who commit serial murders, and fundamentalist Christian preachers who routinely cheat on their spouses all the while thumping their Bibles and robbing their parishioners blind.
And, yes, we even see it in US Congressmen who chair Congressional committees on missing and exploited children who are also sexually harassing their own young Congressional Pages, not to mention “toe tapping” homophobic US Senators who vote to bar the extension of basic marital rights to same-sex couples, but yet now find themselves convicted of soliciting gay sex in airport bathrooms.
Yet, in light of all these other sordid pursuits, the “harmless” (but yet still federally felonious) sexual behavior being exhibited by New York’s super-crime-fighter-turned-Governor now seems tame by comparison.
Mr. Foley’s mental illness was an open secret among his colleagues for years. Yet, by remaining silent, they collectively “enabled” him to continue his pedophilic behavior. To me, BOTH he AND his Congressional colleagues were guilty of crimes…Mr. Foley for perpetrating them, and his colleagues for knowingly letting him continue to do so once it became crystal clear he was a pedophile.
And, surely, those around the Governor must have observed his equally hypocritical sexual behavior as well. But, yet, they still enabled him to keep doing it. Judging from the Governor’s blatant use of text messaging and e-mails to solicit satisfaction for his sexual urges, it would almost seem that he wanted to be caught.
Sadly, that, too, is a classic symptom of the disease that afflicts such people.