Friday, July 10, 2009

Love Conquers All

Salut, Salud, Gesund — As Long As You’re Healthy
by Mort Malkin

Love Conquers All

The medical profession studies how the heart, lungs, kidneys,and bone marrow move in reaction to the different endocrine glands. Sports medicine people learn how exercise increases bone strength, decreases blood pressure, sensitizes the insulin receptors of cells throughout the body, and lowers the likelihood of colon cancer and breast cancer. Several different disciplines are interested variously in consciousness, emotions, and the ways of the brain. These specialties include neurology, psychiatry, philosophy, theology, and People Magazine.

Despite the intense interest in what goes on inside the brain, no one has gotten a handle on love or even sex. Yet, the need to understand these mysteries is evident from the epidemic of infidelities among our public servants (elected officials).

The latest man of the hour is erstwhile Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Rather, we should call him the man of the extended weekend … in Argentina. Until his return, no one knew where he was. One rumor was that he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, traveling light without a cell phone. Another was that he was at a retreat, doing some serious writing. It turned out he was gathering material in Buenos Aires for future memoirs, except he was using body language, not words. A couple of weeks earlier, Senator John Ensign of Nevada held a press conference to apologize for his sexual adventures with a campaign worker, for which favors her salary was doubled. The blogosphere is following the money trail further into the dark recesses of the Party faithful. That’s Nevada, the home state of Reno and Las Vegas cultures of sex and money. But what happened in Nevada didn’t stay there. Both men were rising stars in the Republican Party, but sex and or
love conquered political ambition.

Republicans are not the only guys infected by the love bug. John Edwards, after much denial, then avoidance of reporters, also announced. Maybe he figured he had little more to lose once he lost the presidential nomination. For Governor Elliot Spitzer of NY, it was pure sex — he frequented a high class “escort service.” Did he figure that keeping it professional guaranteed confidentiality?

The parade of public figures, thus far all men, is enough to require a scorecard. A few from recent history include: Senator David Vitter of LA, Congressman Mark Foley of FL, Senator Larry Craig of ID, Congressman Don Dherwood of PA, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (an ex post facto case), Governor Jim McGreevey of NJ, and President Bill Clinton right in the White House in a small study off the Oval Office.

I suppose we in the Colonies can blame it all on the English tradition. Everyone knows about Prince Charles and Princess (by marriage) Diana. But, they were just following in that tradition as per great uncle Edward VIII who gave up the throne for Wallis Simpson, the twice divorced American commoner. Edward took up with Mrs. Simpson when she was still married and he was the Prince of Wales. He, too, had a tradition to uphold. His great grancestor, Henry VIII, had six wives, among them Anne Boleyn, mother of Elizabeth I. As he worked his way through the six, Henry grew fat and uncongenial, but as Henry Kissinger I says, “Political power is the greatest aphrodesiac.”

If America needs a new attitude toward sex to free itself of burdens of guilt and the need for public apology, Continental Europe has just the model. In France, President Nicholas Sarkosy became too difficult for his second wife, Cecilia, and they separated right in the midst of an election campaign. Supermodel Carla Bruni was waiting in the wings (waiting?). Over in Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is famous for his attentions to young, pretty maidens. Recently, at age 72 he came upon 18 year old Noemi, and the pheromones flowed. Berlusconi’s activities of the realm were so outrageous he was formally reproached by the Archbishop of Genoa. The common people, however, merely shrugged their shoulders and took Silvio’s dalliances as a fact of national life. Sex work is considered an accepted genre of employment.

Here in the US, holding public officials to account seems a worthy pursuit. They deserve to be turned out of office or, at least, not reelected. If a wanderer’s wife deems a divorce in order for a dysordered marriage, it should be granted ipso facto. As well, when the TV news networks spend precious time on scandals instead of health care reform, we should tune them out. Our public air waves are too precious for such tarrytales.

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