I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a big fan of Tennessee Congressman Scott DesJarais and, in my way of thinking, the man has no place representing the people of the state’s Third District in anything. But when the Chattanooga Times Free Press presents a tawdry “exclusive” of a sexual tryst he once had with a second female patient in its Sunday editions, that was a little over the top for me.
After I glanced over the Page One story, I was disappointed that the newspaper printed the details between two consenting adults that happened a long time ago, saddened that one former lover rather opportunistically turned on another, hurt that his children had to read it, and angered that just 10 days before the election the political jockeying could get so lowdown and slimy.
Clearly Scott DesJarlais is no friend of mine. The guy is a partisan bully – earlier this month he abruptly slammed down his gavel while presiding over a pro forma session of Congress, ending a meeting that left two other Congressmen, Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas, enraged. DeJarlais said it was because of “political theater” but that’s why Congress is so awful right now.
My biggest beef is that he is friend of the very seedy side of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry – those who actively fight against sweeping reform to stop the soring and cruelty that pervades the so-callled “Big Lick” faction and has all but ruined the glorious reputations of beautiful animals. The Big Lickers actually had a fundraiser for DesJarlais during this year’s Celebration and it blatantly showed his stripe.
Several weeks later, the retired Joseph Tidings, the Maryland Senator who wrote the Horse Protection Bill 40 years ago, demanded DesJarlais cease his harassment of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and pleaded with Tennessee voters to oust the terribly misguided Jasper physician. There are other cases where he has used his elected position to bully and coerce – he’s definitely not a guy we need in Washington and has become a shameful reflection on Tennessee’s Republican Party.
That said, I don’t think the details of a bitter divorce that he endured and his poor choice of partners has anything to do with politics. The fact he has had improper relations with female patients is not against the law but flies in the very face of The Hippocratic Oath, which reads in part, “ …I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.”
That’s an ethics violation and, after a complaint was filed not long ago, his case will be heard by his medical peers – not a court of law. And while it is troubling DesJarlais had numerous patients with whom he allegedly violated his medical ethics, who among us is to know – or care -- what other doctors, members of Congress and just about anybody else has done behind closed doors.
For many centuries it was inexcusable for a gentlemen or a lady to tell of intimate encounters with former lovers. Lord, even best friends wouldn’t tell who kissed and who didn’t, despite the fact it was pretty obvious when you didn’t date somebody for very long. We were taught if you had amorous feelings, they better be laced with a strong vein of respect for the other person. I’ve never dated a girl who I don’t respect with due fondness today. Man, you never broke the code of silence unless a Federal judge had you under oath and forced you to describe a certain tattoo.
So puzzle me this: Why would a woman, now in her 40s, go to a daily newspaper and tell a reporter she once smoked dope, played Romper Room, and got prescription drugs from a fat doctor? I mean, where’s the gain for anyone? An ethics complaint has already been lodged, DesJarlais has already been skewered by the nation’s media, held up as a laughingstock, and is clearly a threat to be scorned by the voters. What’s the point?
What matters to me is that I am sad, hurt and angry we live in times like these. We are better than all of this.