Do We Want To Be France?

I just found out that adultery is a felony in Massachusetts. Of course this state, along with Idaho, Michigan, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, doesn’t bring these lovers to justice for their carnal extra-marital activities, but the law is the law. If Massachusetts did prosecute the adulterers, the Commonwealth would have to build at least two new prisons ( one male, one female) just to house these felons.

When it comes to matters of the flesh, this state and indeed this country are certainly not like the French, who just shake their heads in amazement when they see a sex scandal like the current one involving former CIA Director David “Peaches” Petraeus and his biographer and pillow talk pal Paula Broadwell.The French just don’t see what all the fuss is about and why Americans can’t move past the idea of adultery as just part of life. I remember when former French President Francois Mitterand died, his wife and his mistress sat together at the graveside ceremony.  Talk about liberal.

Now this blog posting is not an endorsement of adultery, but rather a commentary on why such actions should be a private matter and are fueled by a gender bias. We Americans can’t seem to get enough of a sex scandal and usually blame the woman for breaking up the marriage, while the guy is too often portrayed as “losing his way” or “making a temporary error in judgment.”

The dalliance of “Peaches” Petraeus took the attention away from the real story about four Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya and what looks like either incompetence on the part of the State Department or carefully crafted lies.  I don’t believe that an honest presentation of the facts early on would have changed the outcome of the election, but one thing is certain, the American people are more interested in the affair than the killing of four Americans.

If we were the French the American public would likely concentrate not on a sex scandal but rather on how we protect our foreign service personnel, how we inform the public about a tragic event and how we deal with a crisis that has political implications. It could be said that the French have their priorities straight as they leave marital infidelity as a private matter and pay close attention to matters of politics and governance. Here we have it backwards. And worse yet, all this outrage over adultery and holier than thou commentary hasn’t stopped people from cheating on their spouses, not even making these carnal shenanigans a felony.

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