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From hero to zero

By Moniqua Lane
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
December 2, 1999
Talk about this story

In Killingly, Conn., a woman resigned from her children's school board after it was reported that she was a top executive in an adult sex club that offered, among other sexual and non-sexual activities, group sex and fetish nights. This woman was a leader in her community, a pillar, an involved parent. Now she's just a pervert.

This I cannot accept. Had she not resigned of her own volition, she would surely have been made to resign, and this is wrong. I do not believe that this woman's involvement in a sex club has any bearing on her ability to do good work on a school board. It's not as if she was promoting group sex in third period social studies. She wasn't handing out fetishes to teachers.

Apparently, this woman was entirely capable of carrying out her duties on the school board before this news got out, and it's unfortunate that the situation had to change. It shouldn't have had to change. The only difference between this woman a week ago and this woman today is that people now know that she is involved with a sex club. When she helped to decide how much money should be spent on band uniforms two months ago, she was then in a sex club, and still capable of making the necessary decisions. That is, the private aspect of her life, which she tried to keep separate from the public aspect, in no way impaired her ability to do her job. They almost have no bearing on each other.

I'll grant that a leader is supposed to lead by example, but did she set a bad example? Did she do something illegal? No. Did she do something immoral? I don't think so. She facilitated the gathering of consenting adults for personal gratification, which happened to be sexual. Had she been involved in a wine club, the question would not even have been raised. I do not believe sex to be immoral, no more so than alcohol consumption or accepted adult indulgences.

Things were going along just fine - teachers were teaching; children were learning - until this woman's private life became public business. This, I think, is the disgusting part. There is absolutely no reason that this woman's private life should have been paraded about in the public arena when it did not affect her abilities in the public sphere.

There is only a problem now because a newspaper article has created one. It's not that the news shouldn't be reported. Rather, her involvement in a sex club shouldn't be considered news. It is not news; it is cheap fluff. The public did not need to know this information; it did not have a right to know. This woman had the decency to keep her private activities out of the public's eye, the least the public could do was return the favor. No, the least the public could do was create such a stigma that she was ultimately forced to resign her job.

What I'm getting at here is a very basic issue: the right to privacy. A person has a public self, and a private self. A person does not have to keep the two separate, but if that person is willing, and is able to do so, than that should be said person's right. This may seem obvious, but I think it's a point often overlooked.

It is overlooked to the point that two Supreme Court Justices argue that, because the right to privacy isn't exclusively mentioned in the Constitution, it doesn't exist. This line of reasoning, as well as the situation in Connecticut, is absurd. It is ridiculous to think that a right to privacy is not meant to be. Surely Thomas Jefferson thought that he had a public and private life that could and should be kept separate. So did John Kennedy (well, if not separate, then at least out of the news) and LBJ.

Then, maybe, in this country, it doesn't exist. If we in this country truly respected the right to privacy, the "The Globe" would be out of print and "Hard Copy" would be off the air. Telemarketers wouldn't call during dinner, and religious missionaries wouldn't knock on your door. Women entering family planning clinics wouldn't be harassed, and a woman in Killingly, Connecticut wouldn't be out of a job.

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