Welcome, friends, to our modern world of sleaze and vice. I'm certain that when this column is run and read everyone will have heard of the Spitzer Scandal (I'm stealing the term from the Times) and will have formed myriad opinions regarding it. I'm certain Wall Street will be pleased and breathe a bit easier, I'm certain President Dahl will regret his glowing speech, and I'm certain there are already several million voters who feel duped.
I wasn't a voter when Eliot Spitzer was elected in November 2006, although, at 17, most people banter about whom they would vote for if given the chance. I actually researched the candidates and the issues (call me a geek) and decided: I'd vote for Spitzer, if I had the chance.
Why? Why did I choose Spitzer over Republican John Faso or the little-known Malachy McCourt or John Clifton? Well, to be fair, I think maybe three people voted for McCourt and Clifton, because, being of the Green and Libertarian parties, respectively, they stood a snowball's chance in hell of winning. So why, when it came to Spitzer and Faso, did I choose the former?
Because he seemed to be a statesman. Here was this man, this mortal man, who'd taken on big business, who'd fought corruption at every level in his career as attorney general. He seemed, to me, something like Charles Parnell seemed to the Irish, or Tony Blair seemed to the English (on a smaller scale of course). He was, in every sense of the word, a statesman, a departure from the petty politicians who seemed to rule. There was hope, right?
I, like you, grew up in the '90s, a time beset with scandal. We had Bill Clinton's shenanigans in the Oval Office; the House Banking scandal in which, to put it simply, many representatives spent money they didn't have on things they didn't need; "Pardongate," another of Clinton's masterpieces (he pardoned people who paid him during the second half of his last term in office); and the collapse of Enron, just to name a few. It should come as no surprise when I confess that at the tender age of 17 (and now at the tender age of 19) I was incredibly jaded. Then here was Spitzer, who showed promise, who showed hope, who followed Pataki in with a bang and got the ball rolling. Wasn't he just great?
Of course, that's all over now; the governor who was going to bring ethics back to New York State is also "Client 9" at a high-end brothel. The shining example of the unbought politician, the man who could change things, is as big a sleaze as the rest of them. Thank you, Mr. Spitzer, for your deep and abiding contribution to the confidence of the young voters in this country.
Aaron Davis is a freshman English and French major who will never put his heart on the line again. It'll just end up broken.