The rabbis teach that our values ought to be the same “b’seiter uvagalu’i”, in private and in public. Gov. Bentley can be excused for not knowing this because as a Baptist and deacon at his Tuscaloosa church he can’t be expected to know many of the rabbis’ teachings. But as a Christian he ought be familiar with the many times the Christian scriptures inveigh against hypocrisy. But isn’t this so often the case with the right wingers, who do play the role of the moral castigators of the rest of us. Their slogan ought to be “Do as I say, not as I do”?
This Alabama scandal reminds me of the convoluted plots on that old TV show “Peyton Place,” precursor of today’s shows like “Scandal” and “House of Cards.” Its sloppy mixture of politics, sex and venality are commonplace today. But when “Peyton Place” debuted back in the 60s, it was viewed as controversial, salacious and even obscene. By today’s standards “Peyton Place” is vanilla pudding. But the universe it depicted was seen as exceptional, in no way realistic. Today it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between “The Blacklist” and stories on the 6 o’clock news. Robert Bentley, David Vitter and their pals are the poster boys for life imitating art. —Rabbi Kerry Baker