By S. Edwards
This country can’t get enough of a good sex scandal when it involves high level politicians and who can blame us really they make for great stories. The latest man to have been caught in the delicious media web being spun around his personal life is Gen. David Petraeus former director of the CIA. Last week the story broke about his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell and the rest was history. The FBI, suspecting a possible security breach, investigated the affair after a woman complained of receiving harassing emails from Broadwell and shortly after the story broke Gen. Petraeus resigned from his position as CIA director.
A man lauded for his dedication and patriotism stepped down after over 37 years of public service after admitting to having an extramarital affair. The story never just ends there. It goes on with countless articles written about Broadwell, her background, betrayal and the details of the time they spent together because we all must know the exact moment the affair began. The story has consistently dominated top headlines spots on news sites at the same time tensions seem to be coming to a head in Gaza.
Stories like these seem to catch on quickly and stay on our radars for a while. Why? Because everyone wants to know every detail of how these great men seemingly risked their careers and lives for the thrill or passion of an affair. I think it is human nature to believe that each of us will be the exception and not the rule. It is likely that at the start of the affair a though of what one could lose enters the mind and leaves quickly. People want to feel in control especially when they aren’t doing something they probably should be doing.
Stories about people in high places trusted by many to know when to do the right thing caught in this sexual scandals seems so perplexing on its face because these are people who are paid to make judgment calls on a regular basis. Someone with such a mind must surely be aware of all they have to lose. However, we all know that most of us compartmentalize very well and certain rules only apply to specific areas of our lives. I also believe these stories are so fascinating because they make us confront some of our own behaviors and beliefs. We want to know the moment when things shifted from flirtation to something more because it matters. It is important maybe in part because people want to know what that moment looks for someone else in hopes that they might be able to identify it in their own lives and avoid it. If the people we believe in the most exhibit behavior that is questionable then what does it say about the way we mere mortals might act. The thought probably scares a lot of us because no matter who you are there is always something to lose.