Friday, October 27, 2006

George Allen, Jim Webb, and "Smutgate"

It seems that the Democratic candidate for the open Senate seat in Virginia, Jim Webb, has been writing some pretty lurid fiction, and his opponent, George Allen is using it against him. Michelle Malkin, a conservative with no desire to see Webb elected, calls this a low blow and says that we should all grow up, remember that fiction is fiction, and discuss the real issues.

I don't agree. What goes into our culture is a real issue. When you write one novel after another laced generously with deviant sex, you pollute the literary environment. That, in turn, does your neighbors real harm. Some people are inevitably going to read that stuff, think it's just great, and maybe act on it; at the very least, everyone who encounters it has it stuck to their consciousnesses like so much carelessly discarded chewing gum.

It seems to me that if you're seeking public office, you're answerable to the electorate for all your public actions (and some of your private ones). They're a set of signs, assembled over a lifetime, of how thoughtfully you treat the society you live in, and how much you deserve to be trusted to do the right thing. If you dumped all your used motor oil into the river, you'd be taken severely to task by your opponent, and rightly so. Same goes for moral pollution. To make a buck, Jim Webb did the moral equivalent of dumping his motor oil in the river, and he should answer for it.

You can be part of the solution to the colossal moral problems our society faces, or you can be part of the problem. Only people in the first category should get to go to Congress.