The fall and fall of Governor Eliot Spitzer

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The fall and fall of Governor Eliot Spitzer


How indeed are the mightiest falling? A year, three months and eleven days into his powerful position of the governorship of New York State, fire-breathing Governor Elliot Spitzer was forced to resign for the most incomprehensible of reasons: cavorting with call girls. bismi-llāhi ar-ramāni ar-raīmiIn the name of God, Most Gracious.

Wonders of wonders; the governor an important state like New York disgraced out of office by a prostitute! New York State is no ordinary American state. In many respects, it’s quite unique. With a population of some 19,297,729, New York State’s whopping $957.9 billion GDP translates into some US$43,962 Per Capital Personal Income. That, in simple English, means that the about twenty million people residing in NYS, generate just slightly less money than the entire Africa countries combined (Africa’s GDP=US$1.806 trillion. Source: The World Factbook, 2003 via Bartelby.). Other things make NYS stands out. It is, for one, a potpourri of nationalities. Counting some 100+ nationalities among its population group, NYS is the ultimate American Melting Pot.

Get this straight: forty-two year old Governor Elliot is married and he’s stinking rich. The scion of a real estate developer (slumlord to some), Governor Elliot oozes money like no man’s business. He came to office bristling with holy righteousness and primordial virtuous anger. Like an old Testament Prophet whose children have disobeyed Jehovah, Governor Elliot stormed NYS political scene vowing to wage a holy war against wall-street racketeers, pimps, mafia and all whom he deemed to not measure up to his high moral standards. With so much money fighting in his pocket, Governor Elliot could certainly almost any damsel he fancies. I bet many a Hollywood wannabee actress would have die of the privilege to be his mistress.

To the adulating media, Governor Elliot was “Mr Integrity” when he served as Attorney General. His crusades made him a symbol of decency in the very murky waters of American politics. He waged a relentless war against the corporate corruption and greed of the American financial nerve center, the Wall Street. He firmly believed that the over-compensated, glib talking Wall Street professionals were fleecing the American investor. Time magazine nicknamed him the “Sheriff of Wall Street”. Voters overwhelmingly voted for him when, in 2006, he decided to cash in on his popularity to run for the gubernatorial election.

There is a saying to the effect that you do not throw stone if you live in a glass house. Governor Elliot publicly declared a war against prostitution while privately seeking their services. Alas, Elliot Spitzer got caught in the web of his own deceit and that was his tragedy. His fall was truly epic and, alas and sadly, not many mourned the fast political meltdown of the sanctimonious hypocrite. Elliot’s powerful friends couldn’t help him when it matters most. With the stink of scandal hanging over his neck, he was forced to take the only available path; that’s to fall on his sword.

A Yoruba proverb says that if they say that a man would be killed by a horned animal, they weren’t talking of a snail. Who would have imagine that the most-feared Governor Elliot, the nemesis of Wall street, the man who put the fear of the Almighty into his foes, would have been fell by a 22 year lady, and a mere prostitute for that matter! My apologies to our dear ladies of the night. Sorry.

Some men, paa!! Governor Elliot is married. Ok, the wife’s beauty cannot set the house on fire, but she’s still packs some punch. And the guy left the comfy of his home plus a wife and three young children, dodged his security details (think of the security implications in this paranoid era of ‘alqaeeda is lurking behind every door,’ travelled from his abode in Albany, New York to Washington DC where The Emperors Club VIP keeps him supplied with fresh female flesh. So, the man who once called prostitution a modern form of slavery was a secret patron of the club which boasted on its website that it makes life “more peaceful, balanced, beautiful, and meaningful!” Most stupidly, Governor Elliot was caught by agents who were using the same methods he perfected in snaring his enemies – how stupid could you get? Governor Elliot became Client No 9 on the FBI list!

Some men, paa (no 2)! So in this era when the dollar is dying and finance ministers are groaning (apologies to Peter Tosh), Governor Elliot was blowing US$3,000 an hour for sharing a prostitute’s bed! Even though the dollar is at his lowest ebb for years, that still translate to around New Ghana Cedi 3,000 for a one hour tryst. Talk about some people being born lucky. I bet some of our fine, fine ladies who are being abused nightly at lorry parks and train stations do not get paid that amount for a year’s hard work. And the total amount spent by Governor Elliot on prostitutes is believed to be in the region of US$80,000 – some men, paa (no 3).

By the way, the woman who brought the mighty “Sherrif of wall street’ crashing down has been unmasked as 22-year old Ashley Youmans, a.k.a Kristen or Ashley Alexandra Dupre.

All this brings us to an intriguing question. Would a Ghanaian or an African wife whose husband has been caught eating another woman’s forbidden fruit (do not mention a prostitute yet) follow her husband to a press conference where he’s going to confess to his sins? I don’t about you, but I doubt very much if we, in this part of the world, can stretch marital fidelity that far.

I am always amazed by the way and manner Western politician’s spouses always stand by their men in times of crises. It reminds me of the old Western by Tammy Wynette: “Stand by your man,” whose lyrics go like this:

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman
Giving all your love to just one man
You’ll have bad times
And he’ll have good times
Doing things that you don’t understand
But if you love him you’ll forgive him
Even though he’s hard to understand
And if you love him
Oh be proud of him
‘Cause after all he’s just a man
Stand by your man
Give him two arms to cling to
And something warm to come to
When nights are cold and lonely
Stand by your man
And tell the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man
Stand by your man
And show the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man

Solid, solid. You might say that is what the marriage vows of “Loving one another in good times as well as bad times” really meant, and you might be right. We all remember how Hilary stood by her hubby, Bill Clinton, as he lie his head off when confronted with allegations of sexual peccadilloes with White House Intern, Monica Lewinsky, in a sexual relationship that spanned almost two years.

Actually, Ms Lewinsky’s was not the first lady Mr. Clinton shared with Mrs. Clinton. A certain Paula Jones had filed an allegation of sexual harassment and eschewal against Clinton on May 6, 1994. That was way back when the man with the integrity of a hyena was Governor of Arkansas. Paula’s friend, Susan Carpenter-McMillan, lambasted Clinton as an “un-American,” a “liar,” and a “philanderer”. “I do not respect a man who dodges the draft cheats on his wife, and exposes his penis to a stranger,” Susan Carpenter-McMillan proclaimed to the world.

Bill Clinton settled the case out of court by paying the entire US$ 850,000 claim demanded by Paula Jones. In addition, in April 1999, Judge Wright found President Clinton in civil contempt of court for misleading testimony in the Jones case. She ordered Clinton to pay Jones $91,000 for expenses incurred as the result of Clinton’s dishonest and misleading answers.

“Wright then referred Clinton’s conduct to the Arkansas Bar for disciplinary action, and on January 19, 2001, the day before President Clinton left the White House, Clinton entered into an agreement with the Arkansas Bar and Independent Counsel Robert Ray under which Clinton was stripped of his license to practice law for a period of five years. His fine was paid from a fund raised for his legal expenses. (Wikipedia)

Throughout his ordeal, Hilary Clinton stood by her man. She gazes up at him with those patented look of Washington wives. We can contrast this with the alacrity with which former South African President Nelson Mandela dumped the woman who kept his name alive during his twenty-seven years of incarceration thus ensuring that he remain relevant and ultimately immortal. The great Mandela the Saint who could forgive his white persecutors, could not find it in his heart to forgive his own wife. Mandela _a serial womanizer by his own admission) treated the ‘Mother of the Nation,’ like one would treat a dog with fleas and dumped her like disused tissue!

And the morals for those of us in this part of the world? Would an elected official in Ghana or, indeed, in Africa resign from his plum office over a MERE affair with prostitute? I doubt it very much. Jacob Zuma ‘knew’ (to employ the Biblical expression) a young relative and he is still very alive and kicking politically and, barring any act of God, he is set to become the next president of South Africa. And was it not a former ruler of this country who, famously, queried whether or not a man cannot have a garden simply because he has a farm. General Acheampong was been metaphorical, but his meaning as loud and clear: Because a man is married is simply no reason why he shouldn’t have girl-friend(s?). Amen.

It is taken for granted in our society that a man of power must have girl-friends. And the more powerful he’s, the more numerous are the girls swarming over him like flies over a honey pot (which is what he, actually, is to them). We cannot claim to be blind to the almost scandalous ways and manners our rich and powerful are messing up with our young girls. Who but a child born yesterday does not know the meaning of ‘Sugar Daddy?’


About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are now available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

  1. Freedom Bookshop, near Apollo Theatre, Accra.
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  5. African Kitchen in Amsterdam Bijlmer

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Femi Akomolafe




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