Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

May 16, 2014

Notes on a scandal

An exhausted Hillary Clinton crying on the New Hampshire primary trail; Bill Clinton’s heart attack; Jimmy Carter equating religious persecution with certain church propositions. They’re all reminders that politicians are people, too.

With the reappearance of Monica Lewinsky — the White House intern at the center of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment scandal — on the national stage, one storyline is a review of who did not come to her aid back in the ‘90s. The “one free grope” pass that leading feminists gave President Clinton when faced with questions of abuse of power and sexual harassment was far from the feminist movement’s best moment. But those weren’t pretty days, and living through them once was enough. Recycling talking points and rhetoric from two decades ago does little good now — unless you’re a campaign strategist thinking it can help your candidate or hurt another. It also might miss the most important lessons of that shameful moment of contemporary history.

In her recent piece in Vanity Fair, Lewinsky writes about the impact that Tyler Clementi had on her life. Clementi was an 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman who killed himself after video of him kissing another man was made public. The death deeply affected Lewinsky’s mother. Lewinsky realized her mother “was reliving 1998, when she wouldn’t let me out of her sight. She was replaying those weeks when she stayed by my bed, night after night, because I, too, was suicidal. The shame, the scorn, and the fear that had been thrown at her daughter left her afraid that I would take my own life — a fear that I would be literally humiliated to death.”

Life does go on, though. Humiliation can strengthen us, stripping us of all pretension. Lewinsky writes that in the wake of Clementi’s death, her “own suffering took on a different meaning. Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation.”

Text Only
Opinion
  • Remember the pledge Editor:The county board chairman is not being factual with his recent comments concerning the Public Safety Tax Pledge made by the 2004-2010 County Board.First of all, the debt we were facing was caused by the foolish actions of nine board members of

    July 31, 2014

  • Back to the future for death penalty? The surreal national debate over the death penalty reached a climax of sorts July 23 in a prison execution chamber in Florence, Arizona. Double murderer Joseph Wood was put to death by lethal injection shortly after his lawyers went to the Supreme Co

    July 31, 2014

  • No Headline Provided House and Senate conferees have agreed on a $17 billion bill to address the scandal over poor health-care service at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The legislation is now on a fast track to pass Congress before its August recess, showing that Re

    July 31, 2014

  • Close the tax loophole that sends US corporations overseas Since we last overhauled our federal tax code, in 1986, countries around the world have lowered their tax rates, leaving the United States with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed word. At the same time, the system has become full of inef

    July 29, 2014

  • Israel and the U.S.: Whose survival instinct is stronger? There’s something darkly coincidental in the fact that the latest weapon to be deployed against the survival instinct of both Israel and the United States is an alleged “heartlessness” when it comes to children. The people of Israel are castigated in

    July 29, 2014

  • College cost isn't big problem for poor students To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting mo

    July 29, 2014

  • Ducks, geese a blessing I would like to respond to the “Geese and ducks causing problems in Veterans Park” article that was published in the Mt. Vernon Register-News on July 16, 2014. I must share that I do understand that at times there have been a great number of the Cana

    July 29, 2014

  • Money not always the answer I really have to stop and think sometimes. I challenge my thought processes when I write these columns. I am having a hard time with this one. It appears to me that every time a governmental agency or any of the entities that spend other people’s mon

    July 29, 2014

  • Teachers unions' destructive behavior You can always count on the national teachers unions to behave badly at their annual conventions, and they certainly didn’t let us down this month. In doing so, however, they let down many of their members, along with students who are working hard to

    July 26, 2014

  • Workers of the world, curb your ambitions A group of Democrats introduced legislation this week to protect low-paid shift workers from last-minute changes in their schedules. The idea fits into an intriguing category of economic activism: Not trying to lift low-paid workers out of poverty, n

    July 26, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks