Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Better's Up

So the author of "The Book of Virtues," Bill Bennett, likes to gamble. And...and nothing. I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop, but, apparently, there IS no other shoe. Indeed, "Right wing activist racks up millions in gambling losses" was followed by "Reagan's Education Secretary Gets Comped at Caesar's Palace," which was followed by "Former Drug Czar says the Slots 'Relax Him,' which was followed by, well, more of the same.

Am I missing something? I mean, must one renounce ones gambling jones if one is a Republican? And, if so, must I - I mean, must one - do so before the next election?

While I've never been a constitutional scholar/registered Democrat, I never had any trouble understanding my PoliSci 101 textbook (and no, it wasn't a remedial class). As a matter of fact, I did rather well in PoliSci 101, even managing an "A" on the final exam.

Which is why all this tsk-tsking over one man's hobby, a hobby that, to my mind, there's never enough time to indulge, has me so stumped.

Again, am I missing something? Did I sleep through the ratification of a twenty-eighth amendment, an amendment that seems to give everyone who's been sniveling about the Patriot Act a gander at my financial records, a peek into my private life, and basically repeals the fourth amendment? Was I holed up in a noisy casino when God issued that eleventh, "thou shalt not place wagers" commandment?

Golly, I hope not. That would be embarrassing.

But not as embarrassing as letting myself get so caught up in a Marxist-like frenzy that I'd dash off some "How Dare the Man who Wrote 'The Moral Compass' Show his Face in this Town Again" manifesto for all the world (or at least that part of the world still grumbling about, yawn, hanging chads) to see.

Honestly, what does a penchant for felt tables, black chips, free drinks, all-you-can-eat buffets, rows and rows of colorful - and, if you're lucky, musical - machines have to do with a belief in, oh, say, "traditional family values?"

I happen to have a penchant for such stuff myself, as do key members of my "traditional," i.e., parents are married and of the opposite sex, family. And not once has our collective fondness for the expression, "double down" led us into evil. None of us has ever taken a life, beaten a child, held up a convenience store, chanted "Death to America," burned a cross, cheated on our income taxes, cuckolded our mates, poisoned an animal, drove drunk, or even made rude noises in church.

So where do people - and you know who you are - get off clucking over Bennett's "significant" gambling losses? One recent, late-breaking "news" story on the subject devoted a whole sidebar to "what Bill's losses could have bought." (I couldn't read past the subheading, but I'm guessing "8,000,000 Communist Manifestos" was on the list.)

The way I see it, Bennett's gambling losses are only "significant" to Bennett. Unless he robbed me to pay for one of his Las Vegas junkets, they're none of my concern. Heck, I've got my own losses to worry about.

But nothing so worrisome that two days' worth of comped room service and a courtesy limo won't cure. Yee-hah, Nevada, here I come!



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