Semper Fidelis? Why embedding virtue matters.

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. – Winston Churchill

Churchill’s admonition is a challenging call to moral action for all Generals, Presidents, and leaders of institutions.  It’s a sober reminder to embed virtues, rather than paramours, in the military and other institutions.

Virtues of honor, integrity, fidelity are viewed as irrelevant and outmoded by the erudite and sophisticated American ‘Kardashian Kulture.’ The shameless media drumbeat espouses that the personal sins of consenting adults are inconsequential to society. After all, they are consenting adults, freely choosing to make mistakes and no one should hold them accountable. No one gets hurt, right?  Not unless, the safety and lives of soldiers on the battlefield and citizens are in danger with a distracted and bemused commander. Not unless, a marriage dissolves and children suffer.

Where is honor and duty when a married Four Star General engages in a battlefield tryst while soldiers are dying in two wars? David Petraeus’ ignominious fall from grace is epically reckless by publicly disgracing three institutions, the military, the CIA, and marriage in one fell swoop.

How many solemn oaths did he violate when he embedded Mrs. Paula Broadwell?  The repository of the nation’s secrets was, himself, the sentry of his own insidious secret.

This Four Star General is not the sum of his medals, nor the depth of his military experience. As Andre Malraux observed, “man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.” So, too, David Petraeus is defined by his own personal secret, bereft of fidelity to his marriage, his storied military career, and his CIA career.

The brilliant military strategist of the Iraq surge will undoubtedly rebound and enjoy a second chance in the “no consequence” society. Private behavior of “consenting adults” nor matter how risky, dangerous, and scandalous, is of no concern to the public says the media.  Like other famous scandal rebounders, the Petraeus’ collateral damage harms the culture and its institutions, not the miscreant. Who pays the price for his personal transgressions? Private sins reverberate throughout the culture and leave scar tissue on future generations.

Virtue no longer matters and is routinely marginalized, minimized, and scoffed at by the entertainment and cultural elites. Tell that to the millions of parents who were confronted with the constant media narrative of President Bill Clinton’s outrageous and immoral behavior in the Oval Office.  Recall how the press told us to mind our own business, not the President’s.  The elites defined the scandal as a silly distraction and unworthy of investigation since it was the President’s personal life. Despite having perjured himself, damaged the dignity of the office, mocked his marriage, corrupted the children of the world with his salacious lesson in oral sex, it was much ado about nothing. Thanks to Clinton’s personal peccadillos, questions are still reverberating at the nation’s dinner tables, as small children ask, “Mom, what is oral sex?”

No consequences to the culture? Don’t be fooled by the media. When a President  repeatedly protests that oral sex isn’t sex, it has profound consequences to the culture. According to CDC data, the increase in oral cancer is attributed to the popularity of oral sex and the HPV virus.  Not surprisingly, the scandal’s consequence and burden is borne by America’s teens.  Typically, Bill Clinton is now reinvented as the honorable senior statesman and global humanitarian.

In the last year, Americans learn that the vaunted members of the U.S. Secret Service  procured prostitutes in Columbia while in the service of Presidential protection. Another institution falls. Congress, also, did not escape scandal when Congressman Anthony Weiner was caught sexting nude photos of his genitals over the Internet. When leaders of government violate their oath of office and display heinous conduct, the rank and file are given license to mimic the deplorable behavior.  It’s open season for sex scandals.

Welcome to the “no consequences culture.”

Why are fidelity and honor to family, country, and work, so integral to our culture?

When the leaders of the country, despoil their hallowed positions, the culture is diminished and damaged. Children learn that sacrificial and honorable service to country is meaningless. Children learn that oaths and vows are disposable. Children learn that sex is a commodity to be devalued, cheapened, and exploited. Children learn that solemn oaths of office and marriage are a sham.  Children are the silent victims of infidelity and the unintended victims and audience of consenting adults wreaking havoc and pain.

Semper Fidelis, always faithful will never sell a reality show. Fidelity is portrayed in the media as boring and an old fashioned virtue. It only matters when soldiers are in the trenches taking on enemy mortars. It only matters when innocent children need parents to be faithful to each other always and everywhere.

Carved on the entrance wall at the CIA building in Langley, Virginia are 103 stars representing each one of the CIA heroes who died in the service of their country. The identities of the unnamed stars remain secret, even in death.  These anonymous warriors served valiantly and bravely without fame or fortune. Churchill would admonish us to honor their singular star, rather than the sexploits of a four star.

Noteworthy is the mission of the CIA engraved and embedded on the lobby floor at Langley:

”Ye shall know the truth and it shall set you free.” John 8:32

Now that’s a virtue to be embedded in our nation’s heart and soul.

© Elizabeth Yore-2012 All Rights Reserved. Elizabeth Yore is the former Special Counsel at Harpo, Inc.where she served as Oprah Winfrey’s Child Advocate. She was also the former General Counsel at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.



  • visit the next page

    Awesome article.

  • kgbla

    “Tell that to the millions of parents who were confronted with the constant media narrative of President Bill Clinton’s outrageous and immoral behavior in the Oval Office.”……….what about parents that are confronted with the constant media narrative with respect to child abuse by priests?

    • Duke

      Kgbla, Sexual relations are for husband and wife in Holy Marriage. Anything else is an abomination.

    • Phillip Hughes

      What any homosexual or heterosexual does with children or consenting adults outside of the marriage covenant is grave sin. GOD meant sex for marriage. (NOTE: the rate of pedophilia is MUCH MUCH MUCH higher amongst parents than any other group, MUCH MUCH MUCH higher amongst teachers than any group except parents and the list goes on and on and on. The rate is even higher in non-catholic clergy than in priest. Could the media be biased against the catholic church????)

      • Mara

        Phillip, we’ll never know how many children were raped by Priests because of the Catholic hierarchy’s cover-up of the abuse. Making comparisons to other groups doesn’t minimize what occurred under the veil of the Catholic cover-up, perhaps one of the worst acts ever enacted against children worldwide, all occurring as the Catholic Church let everyone know that they are the only church recognized by God. Talk about blasphemy.

  • sparch

    I must disagree. No matter the sin, there is always consequenses. General Petraeus is now finding that out. An act of sin expresses it’s own repercussions as an act of kindness expresses it’s own response. To say he any less than what he claimed to be is just not truthful.
    Some disgraced people go on and claim the esteem of positions they once held. Others walk away. I suspect that the good general will walk away. It is what people of integrity do to show the extent of their character, after their own character flaws become public.
    The end game is why character in our public officials is of the utmost importance. We want people to do the right thing, even after they have fallen.

  • Making Whoopee

    Exactly. You hit the nail on the head. Now let’s all work together and get Newt Gingrich elected President in 2016! BTW, are you suggesting that oral sex is sinful? In terms of it causing cancer, does what you stated apply to oral-genital sex, or does it apply to french kissing, too?

    • Briana

      You’re being sarcastic about the Newt Gingrich thing, right? By the way, with regards to your remark about oral sex, Catholic chastity promoter Jason Evert once said this about it: “If a boy has to stick in his genitals in a girl’s mouth to show her how he feels about her, then that says a lot about what he thinks of her.”

      • No No No

        And let’s not forget what Robert DeNiro’s character said about it in the movie _Analyze This_ : “Hey, that’s the mouth she kisses my kids goodnight with! What are you, crazy?” But his character figured it was ok if it was done by a prostitute.

        • Ed Schultz

          Be respectful, No No No.

      • kgbla

        So what does he think of her?

        • Briana

          Not much, if he has to do such a disgusting thing.

          • kgbla

            Catholics put the imaginary body of a man in their mouth at Church and do not think of it as disgusting.

          • Briana

            because in that case, Jesus is making a gift of himself to us through the Eucharist. when it comes to oral sex, a man is putting his you-know-what in a woman’s mouth, often for his own pleasure. Most women don’t think of having a man’s **** in their mouth as the man making a gift of himself to her.

    • Nick B.

      It is if, on purpose, it is made to be the end of the act.

      • No Whoopie

        So if you french kiss and do not consumate the lovemaking with coital sex whereby the male ejaculates sperm (and the male has a sufficient sperm count to impregnate the woman), you’re saying it’s sinful, right?

        • Nick B.

          The “climax” apart from the full marital act, if brought about deliberately, is always gravely sinful.

          • Mara

            Nick B. what about teenagers who masturbate? Is that a sin? Study after study has shown that masturbation is part of normal and positive sexual awareness in humans.



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