Draining the” sewer” as opposed to the “swamp”

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Richard Eber, California Political News and Views,

With all the revelations coming to light about possible sexual indiscretions that transpired in the lives of celebrities and politicians, it is difficult not to feel guilty about something.  Whether we are Al Franken, Bill O’Reilly, Judge Moore, Bill Cosby, or Jesse Jackson, women are coming out of the woodwork to recount alleged incidents from yesteryear…

Given the celebrity status of being a columnist for the California Political News and Review, it is long overdue for me to disclose all the terrible things I’ve done in my life before some scandal sheet comes that exposes my adherent behavior It would likely be wise for me to find a Priest to make a confession prior to any embarrassing tattle tale revelations being revealed that would cause unnecessary trauma for my family.

As appealing as it might be for to say multiple “Hail Mary’s” to absolve myself from sin, in reality I am not even of the Catholic faith.   The only “Hail Mary’s” known to me are desperation passes thrown into the end zone in the flickering seconds of football games.

With this said it is best for me to go back in the time machine of life to confess all of my misdeeds in order to beg for forgiveness.

Where do we start? As a 6 year old, I cut in line when they were distributing prizes during my appearance on the Bozo the Clown Show. The only problem is that the kid in back of me got the Schwinn 3 Speed Racer while I scored an unwanted stuffed animal.  In Mrs. Lawrence’s third grade class I got busted for forging detention notes sent home by the teacher. The only lesson learned was to in the future to sign with my Dad’s signature that was just as pathetic as mine.

And let’s not forget when I was apprehended stealing candy at the grocery store around the age of 11.  It was horrible when the store manager called up my parents.  I was grounded, forced to miss viewing television shows for a month and had to write the Boy Scout oath 100 times.  However, it should not be necessary for me to apologize for this theft as I did my time and never repeated this deplorable offense again.

It’s now difficult for me to remember incidents of groping women as a kid because in those days, I didn’t get to first base in my encounters with the fair sex.  Receiving unwanted embraces from my Mom’s maiden Aunt Janet, every time we saw her doesn’t count because I was the victim.

While placing a tentative hand on my partners chest during a slow dance in the 9th grade, might be considered to be adolescent sexual harassment, it is likely not a serious enough offense to call up the authorities on at this late date.

Breaking curfew, drinking my Dad’s beer in the basement, or even smoking weed doesn’t seem to be at this juncture to be any big deal. Teenagers are supposed to do these kinds of things and eventually straighten up or go jail when they get older.  I just happened not to get caught although there were a few honorable mentions avoiding problems law enforcement in the good old days.

We can go forth a chronicle my misdeeds and dumb stuff I’ve done including an ex girlfriend calling me with good reason to be “emotionally bankrupt”; but to what end? It is ridiculous to evaluate people today for actions that took place over 30 years ago when no major crimes occurred. Whatever happened to the notion to “bury the dead”?

These same principles should apply to Washington D.C.  Most of the allegations especially the one off variety from long ago, need to be put in proper perspective.  Judge Roy Moore, who is running for Senator in the Special Alabama election, falls into this category.  However, the number of women coming forth to accuse him of sexual abuse makes me want to hope Moore somehow disappears.

The cases against legislators Al Franken and John Conyers are sketchy and gray. The same criterion applies to Jeff Sessions alleged connections to the Klu Klux Klan 40 years ago. If the truth be known, he has had an exemplary record on civil rights both as a US Attorney and in elected office.  Trying to make Sessions past relevant today is at best partisan demagoguery.

The purpose of this column is not to condone elicit behavior on anyone’s part but rather to point out our country seems to be obsessed with dredging up dirt on so called celebrities and political leaders.  While these crusades play well with both internet and traditional media outlets, they do little to make society better

If one does not like what movie stars do in their private lives, it is easy refuse to view their films and appearances on TV shows.  With politicians, it’s a little more difficult. They are in office. Ignoring them is impossible. Where do we draw the line on their personal lives?

Past President’s John Kennedy and Bill Clinton come to mind.  Few knew of Kennedy’s transgressions with other women while he was President.  After his tragic death, the public lacked the appetite to emphasize his adultery when evaluating this beloved figure. Forty years later, similar behavior on the part of Bill Clinton almost got him impeached.

However, as a hangover from Bill Clinton  playing the “Anyone but Hillary” card, the public seems to have higher expectations from their political leaders than a half century ago.  This puritanical “got ya” attitude, has ended up being a major distraction to tackling important issues that impact our lives.

I would much prefer Congress deal with improving health care, immigration policy, reforming tax codes, and reducing the rising national debt than wasting energy investigating alleged groping and office affairs.

This is not to say society should condone sexual predators such as Harvey WeinsteinKevin Spacey, or possibly even Judge Moore.  But somewhere along the line there needs to be some form of common sense statute of limitations or our country will run out of qualified individuals who will be willing to serve in public office.

Perhaps as former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee quipped, we  should “drain the sewer” as opposed to the “swamp”.  Such is the state of politics today. Regardless of how things turn out, I prefer to take the William Tecumseh Sherman approach, “If nominated I will not run. If elected I will not serve.”

Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.


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