Throughout life, we are given many choices and it is up to us to decide based on our own moral compasses. Sometimes though we are faced with situations that are essentially dual-edged swords and have no favorable outcome. These scenarios are called ethical dilemmas and we as humans encounter them every day from taking credit for others’ work insider knowledge to manipulate trades. We assume that people will make the right ethical choice because societal factors such as whether you will be liked after making your decision play a huge factor in deciding what you will do. Rabbi Harold S. Kushner once said, “When facing a dilemma choose the more morally demanding alternative”. In a nutshell, what this means is that when you are faced with two morally challenging situations go with the one that would be more societally pleasing. At the end of the day, you are going to catch grief no matter what decision you make when it involves an ethical dilemma. The real win is determining which choice will equate to be the lesser of the two evils.
None of us are perfect in any way but given the fact that society exists in different tiers of life, the spotlight shines brighter on others. One of the most famous examples of an ethical dilemma that shocked the country was the scandal of former President Bill Clinton and his intern Monica Lewinsky. The two began a sexual relationship in 1995 that continued sporadically until about 1997. Monica Lewinsky was born in San Francisco in 1973 to an affluent family where she was raised in the Los Angeles area. After she graduated from Lewis and Clark College, she landed an unpaid internship at the White House working out of the Old Executive Office Building. President Clinton and Lewinsky had their first sexual encounter on the night of November 15, 1995. It was little surprise that later that month she was taking a paying position in the Office of Legislative Affairs. According to Lewinsky, in the months that followed she and Bill Clinton had seven more sexual liaisons in the White House. Lewinsky’s visits to the Oval Office drew notice from people in the administration. At the Pentagon, loose lips began to sink ships when Lewinsky befriended a female coworker named Linda Tripp who she confided in about her sexual escapades with the president. In typical scandalous behavior, Tripp then shared the story with a literary agent by the name of Lucianne Golberg who happened to be an anti- Clinton conservative.
After the Report stirred up media frenzy by publishing a piece accusing the president of having a sexual affair with a former White House intern it became a public relations nightmare for Bill Clinton. Clinton even came out to dispute allegations against him in a famous press conference where he uttered a phrase that has been parodied countless times, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Former President Clinton’s words might have held truth had it not been for one piece of evidence that sealed the deal, a single blue dress that contained his DNA. Lewinsky’s cooperation in testifying granted her immunity and it was actually the snitch, Linda Tripp who suggested to Lewinsky that she not wash the dress. In August of 1998, Clinton had to testify before a grand jury and confessed that he had engaged in, “inappropriate intimate physical contact” with Lewinsky. However, because he contended that his actions did not fit the scope of the definition of sexual relations as defined by Jones’ attorney, so he hadn’t perjured himself. In September 1998, Starr gave Congress a 445-page report describing Clinton and Lewinsky’s encounters in explicit detail and putting forth 11 possible grounds for impeachment. The Starr Report, as it became known, was soon made public by Congress and published in book form, becoming a best-seller.
That October, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to proceed with impeachment hearings against Clinton. In December, the House approved two articles of impeachment against him: perjury and obstruction of justice. Now be it an extreme example this serves as a reminder that no one is above the ensnaring entrapment of an ethical dilemma. Even someone as prolific as a president who has a slew of connections in order to make problems disappear. President Clinton was stuck between a rock and a hard place, on hand, you have the wellbeing of your political career hanging in the balance. and on the other, you have your personal marital connections potentially about to crash around you. What Bill Clinton got convicted of was lying in court or what is known as perjury. We as humans can’t escape choices, we can only analyze them as they make themselves present and engage in the choices that yield the highest chance for positive natural selection. A lot of times we see natural selection as being overly simplified such as the battle of the fittest or only the strongest survive but, that is a very narrow-minded way to look at it. Sometimes the natural selection is having enough charisma to be able to win over an audience or sway them to your way of thinking.