SEX, LIES, POL­I­TICS AND THE LAW

The Star (Jamaica) - - FRONT PAGE -

Sex, lies, pol­i­tics and, at times, the in­ter­ven­tion of the law seem to be a nat­u­ral recipe for those who have to taste or eat from the pot of pub­lic po­lit­i­cal life. In re­cent weeks, the world has been treated to daily re­minders of this in that at least 12 women have come for­ward and pub­licly ac­cused the US Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump of grop­ing them. De­spite the boast­ing of Don­ald Trump in a hot mic video, which was played on pub­lic tele­vi­sion, that he has be­haved in this man­ner to­wards women, his re­sponse is that the al­le­ga­tions made against him are “to­tally and ab­so­lutely false”. He has also threat­ened to seek the in­ter­ven­tion of the law by su­ing his ac­cusers. Trump may be the lat­est po­lit­i­cal fig­ure to face al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual im­pro­pri­ety, but his­tory has shown that he is not alone – and he may well not be the last. The US has had a long and colour­ful his­tory of such al­le­ga­tions against pub­lic po­lit­i­cal fig­ures. It seems like only yes­ter­day that for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton ap­peared on tele­vi­sion and, with­out a blink of an eye told the world that he did not have any sex­ual con­nec­tion with Mon­ica Lewin­sky. This was, how­ever, a lie, be­cause un­der pres­sure, he later changed his story and ad­mit­ted that he did have in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual con­tact with Ms Lewin­sky. The law in­ter­vened when lawyer Ken­neth Starr was ap­pointed to probe the al­le­ga­tions.

Be­fore that, Thomas Jef­fer­son, who was pres­i­dent be­tween 1801 and 1809 was ac­cused of fa­ther­ing many chil­dren with his slave, Sally Hem­ings. Grover Cleve­land, dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial race of 1884, had to pay child sup­port to an un­mar­ried woman, Maria Crofts Halpin. Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy was linked to nu­mer­ous ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fairs, and to top it off, those who are glued to in­ter­na­tional tele­vi­sion news in re­cent years would also be fa­mil­iar with charges of al­leged im­pro­pri­ety against for­mer New York Gov­er­nor El­liot Spitzer, and his fe­male es­cort, ‘Client Nine’, as well as An­thony Weiner, aka ‘Car­los Dan­ger’.

The cock­tail of sex, lies, pol­i­tics and the law is not at all con­fined to US po­lit­i­cal his­tory. In­deed, it might still be fresh in the mem­ory of many when IMF chief Do­minique StraussKahn, a po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tive in France who was ex­pected to be­come a can­di­date for the pres­i­dency in that coun­try, was re­moved from a plane in New York in con­nec­tion with an al­leged sex­ual at­tack on a maid in Man­hat­tan. In 2005, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma of South Africa faced a charge of rape; for­mer Pres­i­dent of Is­rael Moshe Kat­sav was found guilty of rape and sex­ual as­sault; and Yitzhak Mordechai, Is­raeli min­is­ter of de­fence in the 1990s, was con­victed of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing two women.

RAPE CRIMES

Sim­i­larly, in re­cent years, the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court added rape to charges against a for­mer vice-pres­i­dent of Congo, Jean-Pierre Bemba, on the ground that he know­ingly com­mit­ted his troops to com­mit rape crimes. In 2013, Mr Brahma, a politi­cian for the Congress Party in In­dia, was charged for al­legedly rap­ing mar­ried women.

So, what is it that causes pow­er­ful men in pub­lic po­lit­i­cal life to com­mit or to be ac­cused of com­mit­ting sex­ual of­fences or to act with sor­did in­dis­cre­tion for sex­ual pur­poses? It seems as if the an­swer is still blow­ing in the wind, but we may all ad­mit that al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct by men in po­lit­i­cal life is a real and trou­bling global prob­lem. Hap­pily, it is the in­ter­ven­tion of the law which ul­ti­mately brings full dis­clo­sure, truth and jus­tice in many cases.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica

© PressReader. All rights reserved.