No this post isn’t just about John Edwards cheating on his cancer-stricken wife. But here’s a question: Why aren’t we allowed to talk about the “private lives” of politicians? I ask because questioners are raising questions about Australia’s first female PM, Julia Gillard and her former lovers. Meanwhile, anti-questioners in the elite media are questioning questioners for questioning. They say that the Gillard deserves “privacy” (unlike her victims).
If you think voters in France don’t care about the private lives of their politicians, then you’re naïve, or being lied to too. This issue crosses borders. The so-called privacy debate is also raised in the United States and (believe it or not) Europe after an affair is exposed. But back to PM Julia Gillard. From The Australian’s Women Weekly – “Our First Female Prime Minister souvenir issue” (July, 2010, p. 24):
Before [boyfriend] Tim, Julia’s relationships have included an affair with Australian Workers Union secretary, Bruce Wilson, in the mid-1990s, which ended when it was discovered he was defrauding the union. She had a long-term relationship with union leader Michael O’Connor and another with her frontbench colleague, MP Craig Emerson, that saw them referred to privately as “Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.”
In the August issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly, the magazine expands on Gillard’s relationship with MP Craig Emerson (a married father with three children) but tries to paint her as modern-day women. Indeed, the same glossy, schizophrenically tries to downplay the PM Gillard’s private life when it reflects badly upon her, while selling her private life, with private photos in private settings when it benefits her.
The hard truth? For the record, I do believe that the lives of “private” politicians matter for reasons too long to expand on here. Suffice it to say, the Bible teaches Christians and Jews that the private lives of leaders are relevant, and they’re based on sound concerns, as the story of King David testifies.
What’s more, so-called “private” affairs are often far from private. Remember Bill Clinton: How “private” is it to have an affair in a public building? Remember JFK: How “private” is it for a politician to steal taxpayer dollars, or to travel and shack up with mistresses while homeless blacks suffer? Moreover, these characters were masters of deception in other areas, from security to the economy, because deception often follows deception. But that’s another story. Right now, I’m uncomfortable with a family-wrecking prime minister leading my country. If I’m “invading her privacy” because of the way I feel, well, so be it.
Ben-Peter Terpstra is an Australian satirist and cartoon lover. His works have been posted on numerous sites from American Thinker (California) to Quadrant Online (Sydney, Australia). For more information see, Pizza Trays and Beer Bottles.