Grasshopper Soup: The press will check your bags
TAHOE/TRUCKEE andamp;#8212; False accusations are back for the 2012 political season. They also happen in the workplace, in churches, halls, associations, schools, even in families. Making a false accusation against a fellow human being is not good. Anyone can make a false accusation. False accusations are frequently taken as the truth. People listen to them, spread more rumors, and, before you know it, half the country is believing everything they hear, and thinks they know everything about the story, even though they only witnessed a short blurb or two on TV, a load of gossip, or the initial personal statement from the vengeful person making the accusation. The people the story is about dispute what happened, or what was said, but the press and most of the public think they know.Newt Gingrich made it clear how he felt about it all when he reprimanded John King at the debate in South Carolina. You all know the story, or at least saw the feisty exchange on TV. John King asked Newt about a private conversation he had with a previous wife, in which she alleged that Newt said he wanted an andamp;#8220;openandamp;#8221; marriage.Newt Gingrichandamp;#8217;s stern admonishment in response to John King, and the entire media, was received with popular acclaim, at least in South Carolina. Some people think it is fair to drag a candidateandamp;#8217;s marital relationships into presidential politics because we need to know if a potential president has high moral character. Good character is fine, but if we expect our leaders to be superhuman, or perfect, precious few of them will have the personal history to qualify for moral leadership. We should be careful what we wish for. A human being with moral authority over 300 million people could be a disaster.If you compare and contrast the truth and fiction about the marital indiscretions of Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, and the treatment given to them by the media, the double standard sticks out like a bankrupt newspaper. If the media held themselves to a higher standard, maybe then they could hold others to the same high standard. But, if they donandamp;#8217;t like you, the media will say your sexual preference is a public matter. If they like you, they say your sexual preference or marital affairs should remain strictly private, or be excused. Some people prefer to not discuss politics at all, which is probably wise. Iandamp;#8217;m seriously thinking about ignoring politics altogether from now on. But then Iandamp;#8217;d have to ignore myself. Everything is political. Taking out the garbage is political. My car is political. The geese pooping all over Commons Beach are political. Lake Tahoe is political. Growth and prosperity are political because they mean more people, which means more consumption and more damage to the environment. Growth and prosperity are political because, for obvious reasons, we canandamp;#8217;t live without them. Birth and death are political. But our personal privacy, even if it is political, should be guaranteed, protected and preserved. Everyone should see it the way Newt saw it. He said it was despicable.Only time will tell how the primaries, and the accusations and fireworks that have continued into Florida, and will until the election, will affect independents, the undecided and former Obama supporters, especially if Newt gets the nomination. People say Gingrich has too much baggage to be the Republican nominee. Whatandamp;#8217;s wrong with baggage? Most of us have baggage, even skeletons in our closet. A candidate with baggage will represent everyone! Maybe thatandamp;#8217;s exactly what we need.One thing is for sure andamp;#8212; no matter who wins the nomination, or the presidency, theyandamp;#8217;ll have baggage. Itandamp;#8217;s the candidate traveling with a one-way ticket and no baggage we should worry about.Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived-at Lake Tahoe for-almost 30 years.