Prostitution and Politics – Who’s Paying the Price?
It shouldn’t be a major surprise to anyone, unfortunately, when politicians get caught in sex scandals. I lived in DC for 5 years and in that short time I saw tons of ads for high-priced escort services. Their clientele aren’t the local school janitors. I remember a strip bar that was right around the corner from The White House. A few blocks away from the Congressional office buildings were strip clubs and all other kinds of prostitution type establishments – from high-end to low-end. So was I surprised when New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer got caught in a high-end prostitution ring? No.
I made a comment about this when someone commented on my New The Weekly Rant page. I was going to leave it alone, but as I was reading another article on the New York Times Online site some things struck me. This comment, at the end of the second page of the article, set me off,
Among those who know Mr. Spitzer…Alan M. Dershowitz, a law professor at Harvard for whom Mr. Spitzer was once a research assistant, said he felt bad “even knowing about it.”
“Men go to prostitutes — big deal, that’s not a story in most parts of the world,” Mr. Dershowitz said.
“I always thought he was somebody who would come down on crimes with real victims,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “Prostitutes aren’t victims — they’re getting paid a thousand dollars an hour, and the johns aren’t victims. What upset me the most was that they wiretapped thousands of e-mails and phone calls. In an age when terrorism needs to be stopped, they’re devoting these kinds of resources to a prostitution ring?”
What struck me you might ask? Three main things really. One, this LAW professor from Harvard seems to be dismissing that prostitution is ILLEGAL under the RULE OF LAW in most of the United States of America. If Spitzer was in Nevada not a major issue I guess, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Regardless of news worthiness or not, Spitzer broke the LAW. Bad comment by the LAW teacher. And didn’t Spitzer bust up a high-end prostitution ring? A hypocrite on any basis. Is that who you want to be Governor of New York State?
Second thing that stood out in this comment, was the comment about prostitutes and victims. These high-end prostitutes are getting paid thousands of U.S. dollars to basically have some sex. The ring leaders are getting tons of cash for organizing it all. All of this money untaxed currency flowing through our economy, hopefully (food for thought). I would go out on a limb and say that most regular working people have to work longer and harder to get a helluva lot less. I can see his point about prostitutes not being victims. That said, what about prostitutes not getting paid thousands of dollars per hour to have sex with the Governor of New York State? I don’t know the numbers, but the amount of low-end prostitutes, the kind you see on the street corners, probably outnumber those that frequented Mr. Spitzer’s hotel rooms. What we are reading about are high-end, high-priced escort women. What about your basement-level hookers? Not every prostitute makes a grand an hour Mr. Dershowitz. What about them?
Third jump-out, far be it from me to defend the Bush Administration’s policies on wiretapping but I actually like outting public officials, thus another disagreement with the distinguished professor. They are working on the taxpayers’ dime. If they are screwing around, and possibly using taxpayer money to do so, I want to know about. The Clinton deal was much different, so let’s not even go there. Monica Lewinsky was not a high-priced prostitute. Her benefit was a free cigar and some interesting stories for the grandkids, if she has any. This involves a public official and prostitutes that charge minimum US$1,000 per hour. I hazard to guess, but I would say this guy was paying like US$3,000 per hour. And apparently he was regular customer. Where does a public official get that kind of cash money for frivolity and luxury? I don’t think he wrote a check, or put the night on his credit card. He has a wife and family to support, not to mention a state to manage. Where is that money coming from? I want to know these things because now I know what my tax dollars could be buying. Say bye bye to my vote.
The real end note to this story is, the argument for or against prostitution. I personally do not support prostitution. Don’t believe in it. That said, prostitution has been around for centuries. Men and women, boys and girls, same sex, opposite sex – it has all been on the table, so to speak. People of power, people of common stature – prostitution has been everywhere for a very long time. Many countries seem to allow it, but regulate it to maintain some kind of safe environment against sexually transmitted diseases, exploitation, etc. I don’t think it is really working because a by-product of prostitution is human trafficking for sex – slavery. Thousands of dollars per hour, or nothing, slavery is wrong. I think Professor Dershowitz and I can agree on that. This is very sensitive territory because arguments of morality and humanity play into the discussion. So when we talk about prostitution and victims we have to not only look at some historical context, but also look at what modern day society is doing in relation to it.
I’ll finish with this closing question to Mr. Dershowitz, “If someone in your family were a high-end prostitute and in the mix with a high-level official, would your position of how important this issue is change?”