In the News: From Gays to Greeks
The morning news has been dominated by a few stories, from the resignation of New Jersey's Governor Jim McGreevey (who came out as a"gay American" under possible charges of sexual misconduct and cronyism) to the victory of Iraqi athletes over Portugal in the soccer competition at the Summer Olympics (which gets under way, officially, in Greece, the home of its birth, this evening). The skies of Baghdad were lit up with celebratory gunfire. Considering that former Olympic athletes were tortured by the sons of Hussein any time they lost a competition, I am sure that this gunfire was the kind that any freedom-loving person could appreciate, whatever one's stance on the Iraq war. And whatever one's views of the Olympics, it is my hope that from this Friday the 13th opening until the closing ceremonies on August 29th, the focus is on athletic excellence and not on terrorist slaughter amidst security lapses.
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Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006
I guess I wouldn't have had a problem with the press conference if he had been more candid and had made the resignation immediately effective.
But you're right; the way he did it was sort of like saying: "This is a private matter. I'm making it public--except the part that concerns the public, which has to stay private."
The Trenton Times went beyond the NYT in calling for his immediate resignation:
Friday, August 13, 2004
Gov. James E. McGreevey announced yesterday that he will resign his office effective Nov. 15 "to facilitate a responsible transition."
Baloney. This governor is conning us yet again. What he means is that he intends to stall his departure for two months to ensure that the Democratic Party keeps control of the governorship until the end of 2005.
That's unacceptable. Gov. McGreevey should resign at once. If there is any truth to his assurances that he cares about the well-being of the state of New Jersey, he will pack up and go.
Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006
Take it from a Jerseyan: The real McGreevey story isn't his sexual orientation, but the nepotism, which is not just possible but has dogged his entire tenure as governor.
The sexual orientation disclosure actually conceals a quite outrageous set of facts that McG's speech didn't disclose: namely, that that governor appointed as New Jersey's Homeland Security chief a man who a) was not a US citizen, b) was a consular officer for the Israeli government, c) had no security qualifications whatsoever, d) was ineligible for a security clearance AND e) was in a romantic relationship with the governor and appointed only for that reason, AND f) on the most charitable interpretation to the governor, was unstable enough to accuse the governor of sexual harrassment even though the affair was mutually consenting. (On the other hand, if the governor turns out to be guilty of sexual harrassment, what does it say about the condition of NJ's security apparatus that the chief of homeland security wasn't even safe from the governor?) This guy was going to be in charge of New Jersey's security!
It's hard not to view McGreevey's speech with admiration for his personal courage, but precisely for that reason, it's also hard not to view it with cynicism. On the strictly personal issues, it was a candid, moving speech. But on the issues of PUBLIC concern, it was a complete dodge. And obviously, it's the issues of public concern that matter to the public, not what happens between McGreevey, his wife, his lover, etc.
If McGreevey had merely disclosed that he was gay, or even that he had had an affair (gay or straight), it would have been absurd for him to resign. He resigned because had had just been named in a sexual harrassment suit by a former employee who should never have been one.
I rarely say this, but the editorial in today's NY Times is dead on about this.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 8/14/2004
Yes, gents, I agree, and I am certainly quite aware of all this, and I fear that the worst is yet to come in terms of the unfolding drama before us. What a tragic and awful situation all-around.
M.D. Fulwiler - 8/13/2004
You are absolutely correct about this situation. People in liberal New Jersey would have had no problem with either McGreevey's adultery or homosexuality, if that's all there was to this story.
Also worth noting is that the governor's resignation is not effective until after the November election, ensuring that a special election cannot be held and that a Democrat will hold the office until 2006.
Funny that Mc Greevey can still effectively govern the state for 3 1/2 more months! If this guy was not a total dishonest fraud, his resignation would have been effectively immediately.
And why exactly was the tearful press conference with the "loyal wife" trotted out necessary? This sort of spectacle is undignified for a supposed private family matter.