There’s presently a crazy scandal about the Secret Service and some military folks doing a site visit to Columbia and doing Something Evil.
Now, from time to time, there’s been a bit of discussion in the news of the point I’m going to raise; but by and large here in the USA the ‘tone’ is one of “How Could They Commit Such A Crime!!@!!” and not much discussion of my point.
Yes, the ‘boys’ were bringing some prostitutes back to the hotel. Now I’m not going to ask about the morality of prostitution. IMHO it ought to be entirely a question of what a man and a woman choose. Pimping ought to be a felony (again, IMHO) but I see little difference between a “Lady of the night” and a “Trophy Wife” other than the size of the payment and the particulars of the contract.
So what has me bothering to say anything about the “event” in Columbia? Pretty simple, really: The Republicrims (those Republicans least bound by an intellectually examined moral compass) are getting all High And Holy about how terrible it is that the Obama Secret Service has hired Prostitutes!!!!.
What’s missing from this is the simple fact that in Columbia prostitution is legal.
Regardless of how I might feel about it all, and regardless of my opinion that prostitutes ought to be left alone and pimps given a life sentence, the simple fact is that this happened in Columbia where it is a legal act. Rather like Nevada…
So, if the President is visiting Nevada and a Secret Service guy goes to Mustang Ranch (which, BTW, was owned by the government for a while for tax payment issues…) is that agent an evil person for buying a legal product?
Am I in some way broken (sorry Adrian, I’m going to actually talk about ME for a moment. Get over it.) for thinking that a legal service in a given jurisdiction ought to be thought of as, well, legal in that jurisdiction? That the local laws ought to apply in, well, a local place?
Prostitution in Colombia is legal as long as it is done in designated “tolerance zones”.
So let me get this straight: I’m in a country, and buy what is a legal service or product in that country, and I’m to be held to the rules of some ill defined part of … where exactly? Ought I never buy bacon because in Israel it’s forbidden? Can I never have a beer because in Saudi Arabia THAT is “immoral”? How about marijuana in Saudi? It’s legal in some Muslim countries. Who’s rules apply when they are in conflict?
IFF there were some clear rational pattern to laws we’d not have this problem; but since laws are incredibly illogical and largely irrational, if not setting the rule to “Local laws apply” exactly WHO’S laws do apply?
Look I’ve never been with a prostitute (and likely never will be), but one came to the family restaurant when I was a kid. I was about 10 and washing dishes at the “cups and glasses sink” behind the counter. Face to face with the customer. She had a birth defect where one hand was basically a single shortened finger coming out of her right wrist. (The left hand was normal) She had a son, in some ways the joy of her life, who was about 7 or 8. In a town of 3000, everyone knows who the whore is. Especially in a Mormon town (they tend to rather strict morality a bit more so even than the Catholics). To me she was “a customer like any other” (as my Dad reminded me: All customers deserve respect.)
One day her son was swimming out at the river (as we all did) and disappeared into the waters. The bottom line was that he drowned. BUT, prior to that being known the entire town turned out to do anything possible to try and find that kid. Divers in the water and all the rest.
It was a great tragedy, and the entire town felt the loss of that innocent soul.
Was she ‘bad’ for letting her son “run loose” in town? No more than anyone else as we all were the children of the whole town. I “ran loose” as much as anyone else and we all swam in the river. Frankly, if you did something ‘bad’ the phone at home was ringing long before you could walks from one side of town to the other (all of 2 miles wide… so about a 30 minute walk if you were slow…)
What I remember most about the event was two items. First, folks coming into the restaurant calling for volunteers to head out the river for a search and rescue (and hopefully not ‘recovery’…) effort. This child was as cherished as any other in the town. Second, that after the body was recovered, everyone treated “The Whore” with the same care and respect as any other woman who had lost a child. Everyone was careful to be sensitive to her loss.
Now we have this Brave New World where folks are distant from the day to day realities of the individuals involved. The Columbian Whore who may well have a family to support and is participating in a locally legal profession. The young guy in a foreign land being told “it’s legal here” and dealing with being the Rich Guy for what may be the only time in his life. The dynamic of two folks both a bit lost in the world looking for some benefit from each other. How has that become a political football?
Maybe it’s an artifact of having provided the same respectful service to The Whore in our family restaurant as we provided to the Mayor (who I liked far less than The Whore, BTW… she was ‘good folks’ while he as a manipulative SOB…) or maybe it was just realizing that this life is hard enough without heaping piles of steaming shit on each other; but I just find it offensive that the news is all full of “The Horror!!!!” of single young lonely guys in Columbia buying a legal service from women who wanted the money.
And the intellectual dishonesty of the implicit assumption that the “jurisdiction” is not a jurisdiction at all; that there is some other rule that supersedes actual jurisdiction. If I can’t say “The law says this is legal here.” what can I say?
Yes, this is an “Aspe Moment”. The typical kind of thing we run into every day. There is a law. There is a Jurisdiction. Yet it gets thrown out due to … what exactly? Everyone involved was OK with the deal. The law was OK with the deal.
I grew up serving The Whore like anyone else, knowing her son, and her friends, and knowing her as a person who had some very hard places in her life and needed no more hard spots.
I just don’t “get it” how so many folks can have their panties in a bunch about this. Who was harmed? I just don’t see anyone. Not the whores. Not the agents. Not the President. Not the folks in the USA. Not the folks of Columbia. The harm all comes from the (false?) moral outrage.
I can only wonder to what extent it is an artificial outrage manufactured for effect. The alternative (an irrational outrage based on never spending a bit of time talking to The Whore about her life, as you deliver her sandwich and tea…) is very much offensive to me. Far more so than any “moral” issue involving two folks exercising their liberties to indulge in locally legal activity.
Sadly, I don’t remember the name of The Whore. I do remember how nice and careful she was when I asked (as only an 8 year old kid can) about her 1/2 a finger from a stump of a wrist and did it feel like other fingers… and her with a very kind and understanding expression saying “yes, it’s just like my other fingers, only a bit short, and all alone on that that arm” as she wiggled that one little finger… Only in retrospect many years later did I really appreciate that moment. Me being so innocent. Her being so aware of that innocence and accepting it. Some significant time after that I realized it was partly because she could just be herself with me. That my acceptance of her, as her, and being non-judgmental was a small gift from me to her.
So can’t we all just find a way to give “a small gift” to each other and accept who each of us might be? Even a Secret Service guy stuck in Columbia; and even a Columbian Whore, who likely has a kid to feed and maybe even likes the idea that she has manged to land a really big score? Can’t we just accept that we’re all stuck in this life, together, and that being mean to each other does not make it any better?
Or maybe I’m just being way too Aspe about it all…