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Jewish World Review Oct. 1, 2001/ 14 Tishrei 5762

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Save us from the saviors! --
AS G-d and country become one again, at least two Americans must feel born (yet) again. I'm thinking, of course, about the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose church is the Whole Wide World, and the Rep. Gary Condit, whose body is anyone's temple.

Jackson was on television recently, discussing his invitation from the Taliban. And to think, we didn't get the nod. Jackson said he's reluctant to go, but, well, he'd make the sacrifice if he thought he could save innocent Afghan lives from a meanie U.S. military assault.

The Bush administration, though issuing no official comment, reportedly has let word leak that, though it knows (muffled coughing) that Jackson's heart is in the right place, his going to Afghanistan would be a really really bad idea. As Jackson discussed his usefulness to all the world's concerns with CNN's Paula Zahn, specifically mentioning "moral authority," I couldn't help wondering what ever happened to that baby out in Los Angeles.

You remember, the offspring of Jackson's love affair with a Rainbow Coalition worker. But that's the silver lining of war. No one cares anymore about Jackson's extracurricular activities or his out-of-wedlock child. And no one cares about Gary Condit's "relationship" with Chandra Levy. You remember her, too.

Condit's "relationship," which, gosh, talk about your bad timing, coincided with Levy's disappearance, is a distant memory amid so much tragedy. Levy's disappearance, meanwhile, is almost irrelevant contrasted with the 6,000-plus missing people whose lives disintegrated in the horrific blast of a fanatic's favorite nightmare.

In a blink of hell's eye, both men have reclaimed legitimacy. Jackson, who views himself as an international savior (documentation to follow) and Condit, whose career was virtually finished a mere month ago, are back on the radar screen. Jackson once again can avail himself of our enemy's contempt by pre-empting our elected government's authority; Condit has been appointed, imagine, to the House subcommittee for Homeland Security.

These glad-less tidings should help explain that uneasiness you feel upon waking each morning. Not only did something truly terrible, indeed, happen, but characters like Jackson and Condit have regained legitimacy in the process.

And no, it wasn't ever about sex. The relative insignificance of someone's sex life has never been clearer than now. What's morally offensive about the rev and the rep is that their individual corruption far exceeds their carnal concerns.

Jackson doth not protest enough his invitation from the diabolical Taliban. Megalomaniac that he is (documentation forthcoming), he can't wait to go to Afghanistan and negotiate. He's so blinded by his own myth that he can't see how our foes use him over and over to mock our nation's leaders and minimize their power.

OK, here it is: In Paris a couple of years ago, I happened to have been in the audience when Jackson spoke to a group at the American University. He compared himself to his "predecessors," Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus Christ, even as he witlessly -- and without irony -- pointed out that the mighty fail because they fall upon their own swords.

As for Condit, one need only recall that he was willing to lie about his "relationship" with Levy at a time when any information might have helped find her. By the time he admitted to knowing her better than anyone, it was too late. To save his own political skin, in other words, Condit was willing to risk another's life. And now he's bidden to protect ours?

The recent terrorist attacks have put sins of the flesh in their proper perspective, as well they should. But the real enemy of G-d and man -- the sin of which both Jackson and Condit are most guilty and from which all others arise -- is pride. Both men inevitably will meet their just deserts, but meanwhile, L-rd, save us from the saviors.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

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