Recent news has been filled with the same old same old, again and again. Months ago we learned that Bill Cosby was suspected of raping women, or at very least, mistreating them. For even longer the news of the email server that Hillary Clinton used has been repeated. Most recently, there are the regurgitated allegations with tape support that Planned Parenthood has been selling fetal body parts from the abortions it performs.
Even if this is repetition of news that by now is at least stale if not petrified, there is a common cord. In each of these cases we are hearing about someone with a well earned reputation for the good s/he did who goofed up. This is not to minimize the wrongdoings that each of them perpetrated, but to also remind ourselves that even saints err.
Cosby did much good in his illustrious career. He broke racial barriers when he was Robert Culp’s partner on the I Spy television series. He established a very positive picture of the African American Middle Class as Dr. Huxtable on his eponymous Cosby Show. He has reached thousands more with his books, and his stand up comedy, not to mention his teaching millions of children how to interact by the values he espoused on Fat Albert. None of this mitigates his wrongdoing. To drug women into submission so that he could have sex with them, as has been alleged, is evil. There is no excuse for such sinful behavior, and Cosby should be called to account for his actions. Still, his thoughtless and reckless misogyny does not remove the successes he achieved that have been recognized before.
More recently in the news are some nefarious deeds of Planned Parenthood. There is no doubt that the organization deserves accolades for its achievements enabling women to manage their reproductive health, including the choice of whether to continue or end a pregnancy. Avoiding for the moment the clash between those who advocate a right to life and those who argue for a right to choice, the issue now being confronted by the news is whether the company should be held accountable for its illegal practice of selling the body parts of fetuses it aborted, including some partial birth abortions. Perhaps had this fetal tissue been used for science, and been donated by the organization to qualified researchers, the action would not be reprehensible. However, selling these unfortunate victims for profit is immoral and unacceptable. Is it a wonder that many Republican candidates for the presidency have called for defunding the organization or that four states already have? Past wonderful deeds must be recalled, but do not excuse current practice.
Many believe that Hillary Clinton is the likely Democratic candidate for president. In her rise to this status she has served her country as first lady and a leading advisor to her husband, when he served as President. Since then she has been a senator, secretary of state and the head of an internationally known, charitable foundation. While no one can be sure of her accomplishment despite a resume of marvelous jobs and titles, there is no doubt of the frequency with which she has been associated with contemptible deeds. During the Clinton presidency there was Travelgate. As Secretary of State she had to deal with the killing of the American envoy at Benghazi. Most recently she may have undermined national security by maintaining her own email server. As several have noted, the American authorities may not yet have her email, but it is likely that there are other governments that do. Moreover, since first writing this column it has been learned that Mrs. Clinton sent her server to Denver for cleansing before finally allowing the FBI access. Bob Woodward, the famous journalist who uncovered the Watergate scandal compared Clinton’s missing emails to Nixon’s missing 18 minutes, and felt the overreach by the presumed, Democratic presidential candidate is worse . A president was forced to resign because of his involvements in a communication fiasco. Another was impeached because he lied under oath about an escapade that ought never have been brought to public attention. Mrs. Clinto may be lauded for her achievements, but must be held accountable for misdeeds.
Our country is premised on the rule of law. Everyone in this country is subject to that law, from the youngest child to the president. To ignore the law is as great acrime for those duty bound to enforce it, as it is wrong for those who have broken the rules by which our American society survives.
We cannot forget achievements, but they can never be cited as an excuse for wrongdoing.