Another Perspective

A Fable

What would a certain former high-ranking government official have to say about the ruckus in New Jersey?

By 8.18.04

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When you think about it, you can see that what happened in the State of New Jersey was a simple every day kind of thing. People do it all the time, well some people, a lot of people, really.

Just a few years ago, for instance, we saw the very same thing, with of course a slight gender variation, you might say.

You remember that former, eminent federal official who did it, well, who had it done, that is. You can picture him in your mind, perhaps chewing the end of a delicious Cuban cigar perhaps pondering, at this very moment, the unfolding story of the NJ Governor. There flashes before his eyes the act which has brought the governor low.

"How," our former high federal official wonders, "could there be such a furor over that meaningless act?" He shakes his head.

The act which took place between the governor and this man … he pauses in thought … yes, it was a man, wasn't it … a slight difference there … but now look, the NJ governor goes and tells everyone about it.

Why did he do that? And why, for heaven's sake, did he claim, yes, actually claim, that the act violated those most sacred vows, his marriage vows?

Our former top official mystified, shakes his head in disbelief.

Had he not personally declared that the act was not a sexual act? Had he not gone on television to tell the Nation that the act was not sexual. He pauses. Had he told that Federal Grand Jury that the act was not sexual? He could not recall, would have to look it up.

The governor of New Jersey must be mad. How could he have claimed it to be a sexual act and then use it as an excuse to quit his good, high-paying job?

Our former top federal official shakes his head. Could it be that, somehow, the fact that the governor and his partner were both male have given that simple act a sexual twist?

It seemed unlikely. "No, in fact, not possible. If it is not sexual for one person it is not sexual for all. I mean," he mumbles, "equal treatment under the law is in the Constitution. That's plain enough. I'm an officer of the court. Uh, well I was. Still, it should settle the matter."

Our former top federal official muses that, in his case, it was the other party who had actually performed the act. He wonders whether, in the present instance, the governor of New Jersey had crawled under a desk to perform it. Somehow that did not seem likely.

Our former federal official mouths his large, expensive Cuban cigar, withdraws it from his mouth, rolls it lovingly between his fingers. In his mind's eye he sees the use to which he had put one of these cigars in those halcyon days.

Had that been a sexual act?

Surely not.

Fondly he invokes the image of the somewhat chubby figure, the young woman, who worked under him in his official headquarters. He sees her crouched beneath his desk looking up at him. No one could say that she had broken his marriage vows. The whole Nation knew his position on that, absolutely not sexual.

Our former top federal official shakes his head in wonderment, but cannot suppress a chuckle. Those had been the good old days. He sighs and half under his breath mumbles, "It can happen anywhere to anyone, can't it? I just wonder what all the fuss is about."

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About the Author

Jim Van Sickle is a former Special Writer for the Louisville Courier Journal and a television news director and reporter.