Shame on Christopher Lee. The New York Congressmen took his libidinal dog out for a walk, got caught, and promptly resigned from the House of Representatives, thus raising the inevitable question: what is wrong with this country?
I say shame on Mr. Lee not because he is a cad. Sure, he looks like a fool, posing shirtless on Craigslist and pretending to be single in the great search for a cheap seat in some floozy’s lap. Folks have been scratching the dark side of one another’s desire forever. Alexander Pope perhaps put it best: "When Adam delved, and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?"
Mr. Lee is a liar, posing as a divorced man while looking to hook up with a creature as deserving of his attention as her description suggests: a "leggy glamazon" with a thing for "posh spots" on the weekend. The would-be coupling of the ditz and her dupe is the sort of PG-13 fare that makes prime-time television the vast wasteland it has always been, and will remain forever more.
No, I say shame on Mr. Lee for resigning from high office as a result of this unremarkable tabloid gossip. Deserting his post as a congressman because of this garden variety melodrama is foolish. It reflects the very sort of sexophrenic hysteria that creates sex offender registries that can’t distinguish a violent rapist and child abductor from a young man who looked at some pictures, or talked dirty online to a police officer posing as a child.
Sex is everywhere in our culture. We market cars, soap and cereal with it. We celebrate it. We show legs, breasts and bootie every chance we get on television, online and in print. We are a culture that celebrates and revels in desire, yet we retain a parallel Puritanical streak. Lust is good for business, but the moment some poor schmuck desires outside the lines, we swoop in like avenging angels, and condemn the sinner to the torments of Hell in the form of imprisonment, humiliation and ostracism.
The Congressman and his ilk, those with the means and inclination to spend their prime years seeking and holding public office, are as guilty as anyone of stirring the libidinal pot. Should a child be abducted, lawmakers scream for tough new laws. Let’s keep require sex offenders of all sorts to register. Let’s prevent them from living near schools. Let’s track them, perhaps castrate them; certainly let us revile them. Few lawmakers have the courage to say no to the hysteria associated with each new round of clamoring for ever tougher laws.
Shame on Mr. Lee for missing the opportunity to look this hysteria about sex in the eye and say, simply, "So what?" He is hardly unfit for public service because he engaged in what the entertainment industry seems to regard as the national pastime. What impoverished impulse in this man led him to lie, get caught, and then run and hide, all within 12 hours, from an office we say is one of the most important in the land? Do we care so little for our representative institutions, our Democracy, that we are prepared to run a man out of office for being as hypocritical as Madison Avenue wants us to be? Did Mr. Lee do more than the characters do on television celebrating lechery and infidelity on prime time?
Mr. Lee is a fool. All right, for a moment I could identify with him. Are those throwing stones at him sinless?
He missed an missed opportunity I say, to tell us all in a loud and clear voice that there are things more important that lust, libidinal sport and an hysteric over-reaction to the world we celebrate by day but cower from in the dark of night. Mr. Lee could have taught us a lesson. Instead, he reinforced unrealistic and destructive behaviors and attitudes. We’re not Puritans any longer. Let’s stop pretending that we are.