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Mommy, can I ask you a question?

Posted By Elizabeth Farah On 01/29/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Mommy, is this the President’s girlfriend or his wife? Thus began my
conversation with my 5-year-old, Kathleen. What a heartwarming
memorable moment — a poignant episode, no doubt a cherished memory in my
old age — explaining the “alleged” infidelity and moral turpitude of
our President, the leader of the free world.

Some may believe this is not appropriate conversation for a 5-year-old. I
agree. But I must say, while inappropriate, necessary. You see, when
parents are faced with immorality, their children learn nothing if Mom and
Dad ignore it. I take that back, they do learn something: that Mommy and
Daddy do not object to the act or that they tacitly condone it. Parents
are daily faced with numerous opportunities in which they must make a
choice, confront the issue or ignore it. My husband and I have four
daughters, all under the age of 12. Like all parents we have the
privilege (ugh!) of instructing them on issues of morality and character
every day. What do I mean by morality and character? Old-fashioned ideas
like truth, responsibility and duty. As their parents, we are required by
God to teach them right from wrong.

Why? We are protecting our children — and society as a result. Moral
children grow up to be moral adults. A society which is populated in
greater proportion by moral adults, thrives. The society in reverse,
dies.

Shielding our children from this “alleged” outrage is next to
impossible — elementary school playgrounds are abuzz. What are the
parents of my kids friends teaching their children? I shudder to think.
Therefore, the need to provide our own moral “spin.”

When your kid lies, should you ignore it, ever? No, never. When the
President of the United States lies, should we ignore it? No, never.
Mr. Clinton is well practiced in the art of deception. If you ignore
the lie of your child they too will become well practiced in this art. We can be lulled into inaction because we
love and
sympathize with our kids. When they lie about a triviality (usually to
avoid punishment or responsibility) we look into those big doe eyes and
think, “You’re so cute, it wasn’t a big lie.” But admit it, most often we
hesitate to punish for two insidious reasons. First, because we do not
want to disrupt family life. Your weekend is going great, Sally (name
changed to protect the guilty) tells you she practiced her piano when in
fact she was out playing. You have a choice, tell her to “really”
practice her piano now or punish the sin. (We hate to use that word
don’t we?) If we choose punishment, we must incur the ramifications of
that decision. What ramifications? The inevitable protestations,
crying, promises never to do it again, pouting, disruption and family
unhappiness, and most important — – guilt. The tough decision is the right decision.

Is this line of thought far removed from the reality of the current
“crisis” in America? No. The family is a microcosm of society and the
primary function of the family is to prepare children for their lives
within our greater community — America. Now, what are the practical
applications of the previous family scene? Lets look at one scenario and determine if it will serve to prepare
our children to become
moral adults and therefore a credit rather than a scourge on our
American society.

Act I, Scene II

Scene: A typical American family at the dinner table. Family enjoying a
spectacular dinner prepared by mom.
Characters: Father, wise and understanding. The beautiful and revered mother. Four darling,
polite, well-groomed daughters: Ashley, Alana, Alyssa and Kathleen.

Kathleen (5): “Mommy, does President Clinton have a girlfriend?”

Mother (older, but looks 23): “Honey, that’s ‘alleged’ girlfriend, where
are your manners?”

Kathleen: “Sorrrrry Mommy. Please pass the roast duck a l’orange.”

Ashley (11): “Well does he Mommy? I thought President Clinton was
married.”

Father: “Of course he is married, Ashley. But I don’t see how that
affects his personal autonomy, do you? His private life is his own.
He, like any American, has the right to make his own decisions, it is
none of our business. He can have sex with anyone, anywhere he wants. I thought we raised you to be more
tolerant.”

Alyssa (8): “But don’t Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea care?”

Father: “Is that relevant dear?”

Alana (11): “But Mother, if President Clinton has a girlfriend and he
keeps it secret, isn’t it a lie?”

Mother: “Yes, of course it is. But how does that affect us?”

Alana: “Does that mean I can lie and it won’t be wrong?”

Mother: “Sweetie, to begin with, we don’t know the President is lying.
If it can’t be proved, that means he didn’t. If he did lie but doesn’t
get caught, what does it matter? Let me give you an example: If you
cheat on a test at school but don’t get caught, you don’t get in trouble
and you get an A. Does that make it clear?”
Ashley: “But if President Clinton cheats and lies, should he be the
President? Isn’t that an important job?”

Father: “Oh for heaven’s sake Ashley, the President’s job is no
different than any other. Sure, he holds the fate of the free world in
his hands and some idiots think he should be honest; but what is
honesty anyway, and what does it get you? Everything is relative.
Kathleen, you’re five, can you define truth? Of course you can’t.
There is no such thing as truth.”

Alyssa: “Do you have a girlfriend Daddy?”

Father: “That is none of your business, darling. Besides, it wouldn’t
affect you if I did.”

Mother: ” Darling, I’d like to talk to you privately.”

Father: “Just a minute, dear. This is an important learning experience for
the girls. Children, do you have any other questions?”

Alyssa: “Daddy, what does tolerant mean?”

Father: “What a good question, Poopsie! Let me explain the term tolerance in the context of our current
discussion. Girls, we know the President has the right to have sex with whomever he chooses as long as he
doesn’t get caught. Say for instance, a man who is a high level government official was caught having sex with a
21 year old male intern. To be tolerant we must aprove. The same would hold true for group sex, prostitution, sex
with foreign agents of hostile governments … well you get the drift. Tolerence means we hold no one to any
standard because we wish the same for ourselves. Intolerance is the greatest sin known to man. Have I
answered your question, Punkin?”

Alyssa: “Oh yes Daddy, but you wouldn’t do any of those things, right?”

Father: “That is none of your business, darling. Besides, it wouldn’t
affect you if I did.”

Mother: “Darling, I’d like to talk to you privately.”

Father: “Later honey.”

Alana: “Mommy, if President Clinton hasn’t done anything wrong, why are people talking about all this stuff?’

Mother: “Honey, this is such a terrifying subject, I’m not sure you should be exposed to the awful realities at
your age, you know how we try to protect you kids. Mmm. You see girls, in America there are people which we
call “right-wing fanatics and hate mongers. They are part of a conspiracy. Can you say c o n s p i r a c y? They
wish to impose their morality — which is very intolerant and hateful — on all members of our society. They want
Americans to be honest, faithful, and respectful; they expect our leaders to emulate these pretensions! They
believe in outmoded, old-fashioned principles of liberty, limited constitutional government, free enterprise, and
respect for the family. These evil people forced a democratic intern, the mainstream press and former whitehouse
advisors to turn against our President. What do you think about that?”

All girls: “That’s terrible! Why are they so mean?”

Mother: “Honey, I’m so glad we can spend time together with the girls, aren’t you?”

Father: “Kind of makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Group hug!!”

(Stage direction: Typical American family hugs, finishes meal and retires before the fire for their weekly bible
study. Background music (soft): Lee Greenwood, “I’m Proud to be an American”)


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