As the entire world knows, Chandra Levy, a 24-year old Federal Bureau of Prisons intern and intimate of Condit, has been missing without a trace since April 30. After rumors surfaced that she had been having an affair with the congressman, Condit vociferously denied the stories.
Finally, it emerged – primarily as a result of revelations by Levy’s aunt – that the pair had been shacking up, or, as the moderns say, ‘involved.” After hiring a blowhard attorney skilled in obfuscation and exculpatory finger-pointing, Condit – on his third interview with police – finally admitted the affair. Other paramours of the congressman surfaced, including a stewardess who says she was pressured by Condit or a henchman to sign an affidavit denying the couple had been fornicating – oops, I meant to say, “involved.”
Condit’s prevarications undoubtedly hindered the investigation. According to Washington, D.C., Police Chief Charles Ramsey, “It would have been helpful to know what type of situation we were dealing with earlier in the case. The sooner we know crucial details, the better chance we have of solving a case, while the trail is still warm. We didn’t have all the details for several weeks.”
So now the newspapers surrounding Condit’s congressional district are waxing indignant. On August 12, the Fresno Bee recommended that he resign, citing “his serious and several abuses of the trust of the public.” Likewise, the Modesto Bee labeled his behavior “abhorrent,” and said “Condit has irrevocably violated the public trust.” Finally, Condit’s hometown paper, the Ceres Courier called for him to step down, similarly bemoaning their hometown rascal.
Naturally, these newspapers are right about hounding a scoundrel like Gary Condit from office. But they’re dead wrong about the reason. What the newspapers apparently are too bashful to say is that Condit should leave because he violated a duty much greater than what was owed the public.
Yes – it’s the adultery, stupid.
All civilization rests on the keeping of a promise. For society, the most sacred and important is the one husbands make to wives, and parents to children: I’ll be true to you. Break that trust once and a family crumbles; break it repeatedly and a nation trembles. The two-timer thus poses a far greater threat to us than the criminal.
Put another way, we can survive the thief but not the cheat. A robber only takes the bread from our lips; the adulterer rocks the social order to its very foundation – the family. If something as hallowed as wedding vows can be broken with impunity, cultural chaos cannot be far behind.
This is why the entire moral force of society should be standing firmly on the side of Condit’s wounded wife and family and demanding his removal from office. Shame on the press for being too timid to say so. For bad as it was, Condit’s greatest sin lies not in the breach of his “public trust,” but in the betrayal of his private one.
(Copyright 2001 Catholic Exchange)