When, in 2001, the media made much of Jenna Bush’s underage drinking, did you tell them to tone it done and respect the privacy of the then-president’s daughter?
When, in 2004, the presidential and vice-presidential nominees of your party in respective debates made an issue of the sexuality of the then-Vice President’s daughter, did you fault them for doing so?
When, in the 2008 presidential campaign, the media made much of the indiscretions of the daughter of your rival for the second highest office in the land, did you tell them to cool it?
Did, in that same campaign, you ever fault New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor for contacting, through Facebook, the friends of the youngest daughter of then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain to get dirt on his wife?
If you answered, “Yes,” to any of these questions, then you have grounds to criticize anyone who would publicize your daughter’s private life.
As I’ve said before, her life should remain private.Â She is not the public figure.Â You are.Â And you have been for nearly four decades now.Â And during that time, the media has made much of the private lives of family members of politicians of both parties, but mostly of those on the Republican side of the aisle.
Did you ever stand up for your partisan rivals when the media made much of their families’ private lives to the anticipated advantage of your party?
Now that some in the media are looking into your daughter’s indiscretions, maybe you can use that snooping to the greater benefit of the nation you serve.Â You could help us learn the lesson Achilles did when he recognized the sadness of his greatest rival’s father.
In the Iliad, After the death of his closest friend, Patrocles, Achilles killed indiscriminately, finally taking the life of the man who took his friend’s life, Hector son on King Priam of Troy.Â He dragged the prince’s corpse three times around his city and kept him from his father, preventing them from performing the proper funerary rites.
At the behest of Apollo, Zeus allowed Priam, guided by Hermes, to sneak into the Greek camp to request the corpse of his son.Â When that aged king urges the bloodthirsty hero to consider his feelings for his own father does Achilles begin to see the anguish his rage has caused.Â A changed man, he relents, releasing the body, his rage having defined the epic has dissipated.Â A new man has emerged.
May you, Mr. Vice President, now be as Priam to us all.Â Surely, it must be painful to you to see your beloved daughter dragged through the media because of her indiscretions.Â So, perhaps now you see the pain that President Bush and Governor Palin experienced when the media made much of their daughters’ imperfections.
Use this experience to put an end for once and for all to the mad partisan rush of the media to publicize the details of the private lives of family members of Republican officials and candidates.Â As Priam did to Achilles, help make our society more sensitive to the humanity of our rivals.