The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 2, 2012

Reality should trump scandal


Associated Press

The Cullman Times on wasted time in Washington:

While the United States teeters on the financial cliff, more attention is being given to the lurid extramarital affairs of military and government leaders than the more pressing problems facing the nation.

Sure, there is concern that David Petraeus, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, may have dropped a few secrets during his affair with the woman who penned his biography. And Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair’s wife, Rebecca, has appeared on a television show to bemoan the Army life that leads husbands and wives to have affairs.

There’s also the case of Gen. John Allen, who some officials accuse of sending suggestive emails to a Florida woman.

OK, we get it. The scum rises regularly in society. Men and women cheat, but other than those who are involved in these tangled affairs does anyone really care to know the details or care to listen to the shameless characters blabber about their shortcomings?

The American obsession with pitiful personal details is becoming absurd. Let’s move a little closer to the fiscal cliff and focus on what economists warn could be an economic catastrophe at the turn of the year.

The end of the Bush tax cuts and scheduled reductions in federal spending threaten to puncture an economy struggling to rebound. Focus on these issues as the year draws to a close is critical to solving a long-standing problem and restoring some degree of confidence for the public.

Vast amounts of time are wasted in Washington and by the media on learning the details of personal failures of high-profile characters. Once the garbage is spilled, not much of it has any real consequence concerning national security, and certainly no bearing on the state of the economy.

Congressional leaders have enjoyed plenty of recreation with the presidential election and all the trimmings that go with a year of campaigning. It’s time now to turn away from the trappings of sensational stories and focus on the future of the country.