The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Outrage

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No matter how bad a week you think you’ve had, it pales in comparison to former Representative Katie Hill of California. Last week the Daily Caller revealed Ms. Hill was intimately involved with both male and female staffers, complete with nude photographs and salacious text messages, all of which Rep. Hill tried to deny. Eventually, though, she resigned her seat and released a statement accusing her ex-husband of “revenge porn,” which is when a former partner releases provocative photos of a subject with whom the partner was intimate out of spite. That’s a part of the story that the Left is running with, but it’s not the whole story.

To me, there are two parts to the Katie Hill situation: the sexual relationships themselves, and the ethical and national security concerns these relationships raise. In both cases, there are people trying to convince you of the importance of one over the other when both are important and have long-reaching impact on this country unless we take a serious approach.

Unfortunately, that blogger is on vacation, so you’re stuck with me on this one.

Let’s talk about the sexual relationships first. As scandalous and fun as it is to talk about Rep. Hill being a switch hitter, so to speak, it’s not that big of a deal in and of itself. Moralists will wag their fingers, but at the end of the day, it was at least 3 adults engaged in an activity that last time I checked was still legal. And that’s why the Left is pushing so hard to underscore the sexual elements of this matter. Well, that, and they’re freaks.

Leftists have an unnatural attachment to sexual matters and tend to take the extreme libertarian/classical liberal stance on them. But being big government types, they can’t completely do away with government’s hand on the scale. As long as the government can take a buck out of an activity, they’re all in for letting your freak flag fly. The minute government doesn’t have control over a transaction, as in prostitution, that freak flag gets lowered faster than Bill Clinton’s pants at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch.

Personally, I could care less with who Rep. Hill slept or sleeps with because it’s none of my business. And to their credit, many on the Right agree. Where the line gets a little murky is when it comes to the ethical and national security implications, and that’s where the Right tends to be hammering the hardest. These are not small concerns, I grant you, but they may be exaggerated a bit for partisan reasons.

The intelligence community has a number of ways to obtain information, including seduction. If a foreign agent wanted to get sensitive information, all he or she would need to do is find a weak spot and exploit it. With Rep. Hill, that weak spot is doubled because she is an open bisexual. Whether it’s something as mundane as the combination to Nancy Pelosi’s liquor cabinet or something as damaging as intelligence briefings, we cannot brush off what Rep. Hill did as “none of our business.”

Having said all of that, I think we need to be very careful about labeling Rep. Hill as a national security threat at this time because we don’t know all the particulars yet. Did she sleep with a foreign agent? We don’t know. Has she given away secrets to a hostile power? We don’t know. It’s red meat for the Right, but it’s based on a lot of unknowns, and that opens up a whole new series of questions and questionable actions that would further pry into a private matter beyond our need to know.

That leaves the ethical part of the equation, and we have the Left to thank for that. For decades, the Left have been pushing the idea of what constitutes sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior between superiors and subordinates. In short, there can never be sexual consent between a superior and a subordinate due to the former having power over the latter. For the most part, Republicans have been the ones getting caught, but this time it’s a Democrat who’s having to live by the rules the Left set. And the Left is completely overlooking this because Rep. Hill is a Democrat.

However, that doesn’t remove the ethical implications. With all of the talk of a quid pro quo with President Donald Trump and the Ukraine, you would think the Left would be able to put 2 and 2 together as it pertains to Rep. Hill, but then again maybe they already have, which is why they’re focusing on the sexual portion of the situation instead of the ethical part. In either case, from what we’ve seen so far, Rep. Hill rewarded her sexual partners with paying jobs, which really seems to your humble reporter as a quid pro quo or at the very least a shady transaction of convenience. And when your party is obsessed with holding the President to a standard, it’s kind of hard to turn a blind eye to one of your own violating the same standard.

Thus, Katie Hill is screwed, literally and figuratively. Since she resigned, she’s been beating the drum of being a victim (surprise surprise) of revenge porn, but that’s not why she’s being targeted. She made some really dumb decisions with implications far beyond the bedroom, and those decisions call into question her fitness for office. The sexual angle isn’t even on my radar, and the national security angle is possible, but not as developed as the ethical concerns her actions have raised. Although it’s a little sad to see how Rep. Hill’s Congressional career ended (at least for now), it ended because of self-inflicted wounds, not because of a bitter ex-husband or a bunch of right wingers or even the Daily Caller.

But I guess claiming revenge porn is sexier than acknowledging a mistake.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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A topic that we keep talking about but rarely see in today’s society is ethics. For example, Leftists (and some NeverTrumpers for that matter) have their panties in a bunch over allegations Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it (mainly because you have more of a life than your humble commentator), the Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities. Originally, it was meant to curtail the likelihood of bribery and corruption, but as we’ve seen in the past few decades, the Hatch Act is like training wheels on a Slip N Slide.

Of course, the Trump Administration is pushing back by defending Conway’s right to free speech, which made Leftists lose their shit and start talking about ethics.

Yes, folks, my irony meter broke just typing that sentence.

While I wait for a repairman to fix my irony meter, let’s talk about ethics, shall we?

ethics

What the Left thinks it means – a set of guiding principles that everyone else should follow

What it really means – a set of guiding principles that people today make up as they go along

Cynicism, thy name is Thomas. In my defense, though, I have seen a lot of ethical lapses in my nearly 50 years of schlepping around on this water-covered rock, from Watergate to Washington State and more stops in between than I can shake a stick at. That is, if I even have a stick to shake. Politicians, athletes, celebrities, and even Joe Average have all been getting looser with their ethical standards.

Remember the 1990s, where sex scandals would pop up like the men in said sex scandals? Granted, it was the 90s, the decade that gave us Crystal Pepsi, but at least we had some standards. Nowadays, sex scandals are more resume enhancers than career enders.

And it’s not just in the sexual arena, either. In general, we are allowing more and more stuff we used to decry not even 10 years ago. Recent surveys just within the past 2-3 years have shown college students are okay with plagiarism, cheating, and lying. Even adults are starting to throw their hands up in the air and give in to unethical behavior. (See Congress for proof of this.)

Neither major political party has clean hands when it comes to ethics, unfortunately. For every Democrat calling out Republican corruption, there is a Democrat doing the same thing, and vice versa. The problem is few people are willing to call out members of their own “team” when they are in the wrong. A big part of the problem is the entire “team” concept. In every political case where ethics are looser than Bernie Sanders’ grasp of Econ 101, you will find people lining up behind someone as scummy as they come in order to defend these scumbags against “partisan attacks.” There is a bevy of great reasons the Founding Fathers didn’t like political parties, and this is as good of a reason as any.

Outside of the political arena, I think people have decided to give up trying to do the right thing because it requires them to think of other people as fellow human beings instead of inconveniences interrupting your self-worship. We’ve gotten so used to taking shortcuts that we’re not even trying to find the road anymore. Besides, doing the right thing means you actually have to do something other than  sending #somebodydosomething to your Twitter peeps. On top of that, we’re always looking for self-gratification, which defeats the purpose of ethical behavior by taking the emphasis off the ethics and puts it onto ourselves.

Yes, I realize not everyone shares the same ethical background, so calling out a lack of ethics in any situation is bound to make people mad, upset, or just downright offended. Maybe your ethical framework makes it okay to cut corners or take a few pennies here and there from the till at work. Maybe you’re trans-ethical and self-identify as an ethical person. Regardless of where you stand on the topic, there is always going to be points of conflict. What might be right for you may not be right for some, so we may try to soften our stances to allow others to feel good about their behavior.

That’s why we’re in this ethical quagmire in the first place. By trying to be understanding of other people’s differences in ethics, we soften up our own ethics to the point even the most reasonable expectation of your fellow men and women becomes milquetoast so we don’t get in trouble. In social situations, that may not be a bad move, but it’s a terrible way to live a life. Everybody has standards, but we shouldn’t surrender ours because a transgendered woman with rainbow hair and more piercings than Julius Caesar outside the Forum wants you to accept his/her demand to breast feed. If you’re not okay with that, you shouldn’t force yourself to be okay with it. Holding your tongue in a situation where your ethics are challenged is surrendering without a shot being fired.

Look. I get we’re supposed to be tolerant of other viewpoints, but that tolerance needs to be two-way. I’ve made it a point in recent years to live by a simple code: do what’s right for everyone involved including yourself. And, yes, that means calling out ethical problems regardless of who might be hurt by it. One cannot be ethical without being honest, and brutally so at times.

So, let me be one voice in a chorus of people who think Kellyanne Conway should submit to whatever legal punishment awaits her should she be charged with violating the Hatch Act. Ethical standards shouldn’t be upheld in some cases and ignored in others just because of who violated them. We should hold all of our elected officials to the same ethical standard: don’t break, bend, or skirt the law, period. If a politician can’t hack that, he or she isn’t fit for the job and should be given a pink slip at your earliest convenience.

As for the Democrats and NeverTrumpers complaining about Conway, clean up your own houses first. Ditto for the Trump supporters backing Conway. A bad person with questionable ethics isn’t going to change as long as there’s no incentive to change. That means we’re going to have to stick firm to what we believe to be right, dig in our heels a bit, and be ready to defend said beliefs. It won’t be easy or always rewarding, but ethics are worth it every time.