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The `cruel trilemma' of telling Mama all about it (by MONICA S. LEWINSKY)
Houston Chronicle ^ | May 13, 2003, 11:05AM | MONICA S. LEWINSKY

Posted on 05/13/2003 10:49:50 AM PDT by Buffalo Bob

On Feb. 12, 1998, my mother appeared before a grand jury at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. She was not subpoenaed to testify about a robbery she witnessed, or to describe some aspect of a securities fraud, but to be questioned about me -- her only daughter.

I was horrified and sickened. Not unlike many young women, I had confided in my mom -- to a certain extent -- and expected our conversations to remain between us. In a million years I could never have fathomed a situation where we would find our bond -- a deep, important and inviolate one -- tested to the extent and in the manner that it was.

Few people are aware that, in our country, parents can be forced to testify against their children and vice versa; there is no parent-child privilege under the aegis of the federal government. We have a husband-wife privilege, a doctor-patient privilege, an attorney-client privilege and even a privilege between priest and penitent. But no comparable confidential boundary is recognized for parent and child.

All of these existing privileges place value on certain relationships in order to foster and then protect them. Their inviolability is deemed more important than the truth-finding function of the courts.

Isn't the parent-child relationship every bit as important, if not more so?

It is paradoxical that in a country where we often say that our children are our future, and every parent has said, at least once, "you can always come to me," that our system actually undermines the very values it extols.

Just because a parent wants to protect her child's confidence doesn't mean that objectionable behavior is being condoned. But such protection does help ensure a haven as children negotiate the labyrinth of life.

It is completely unreasonable that discussions between parents and children are not protected -- be it a teenager who has been caught at school with drugs or a parent who has been wrongly accused and needs to explain herself to her son. The Department of Justice Manual's guidelines discourage a prosecutor from compelling testimony from a defendant's parents or children. But without a formal parent-child privilege, a dodgy prosecutor is free to disregard the department's guidance -- which is exactly what happened in my case. Trust me, the mere hint of a parent being subpoenaed -- and it's often done just as a tactic to increase pressure on the defendant -- is terrifying for a child. (It is a lesser-known fact that there was a threat to subpoena my father too.)

While researching a paper for a Columbia University law and psychology class, I learned the term for the nightmare in which my mother found herself. It's called the "cruel trilemma," in which a person has a three-pronged choice: to commit perjury; testify truthfully and risk harming the relationship; or refuse to testify and go to jail for contempt of court without benefit of trial. No one in a society that calls itself civilized should have such a devastating Hobson's choice.

Although a form of parent-child privilege has been recognized since the inception of Jewish and Roman laws, and exists in the civil law countries of Western Europe, this topic was not even introduced in the United States until the late 1970s. At that time, New York adopted a limited version of parent-child privilege. Massachusetts, Idaho and Minnesota followed suit. Despite these states' advocacy, there remains no federal protection for filial communications. A few members of Congress have attempted to push legislation through on this subject. Unfortunately, their bills are still mired in the detritus of politics.

What does it say about us that we have yet to recognize the sanctity of the relationship between a parent and a child? Society rallies for some causes, yet this is an issue about which it has been passive.

Parent-child privilege was certainly a concern to which I had never given a moment's thought before the investigation in 1998. The image of my mother -- wan and emotionally distraught -- as she left the federal courthouse just over five years ago will be forever fixed in my memory. She was not the first or last parent to be placed in the untenable position of having to violate a most basic parental instinct. Perhaps by next Mother's Day this will no longer be a worry.

Lewinsky is host of Fox's Mr. Personality. Her mother was subpoenaed by independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who led the investigation of President Clinton.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: atalebigmediakilled; bigcreep; bimbo; bimboerruption; bluedress; buriednewstory; childofpriviledge; clintonscandals; denydenydeny; dna; drudge; gotcaught; impeachedpresident; isntthatasexact; kneepadbrigade; leftherforasink; liarliarpantsonfire; mistress; monica; moniclewinsky; paidliar; perjury; privacy; slurpslurp; slut; sodomy; usedupbimbo; waawaaaa; x42
You just can't make this stuff up...
1 posted on 05/13/2003 10:49:51 AM PDT by Buffalo Bob
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To: Buffalo Bob
If anyone should have learned to keep their mouth shut....
2 posted on 05/13/2003 10:51:28 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (V-Twin mind with a Moped modem....)
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To: Buffalo Bob
She sounds a lot better when she has something in her mouth....
3 posted on 05/13/2003 10:52:25 AM PDT by Lunatic Fringe (When news breaks, we fix it!)
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To: Buffalo Bob
Obviously the person who wrote this is not the same person whose conversations were taped by Linda Tripp.
4 posted on 05/13/2003 10:55:39 AM PDT by Capt. Jake
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To: Buffalo Bob
It is completely unreasonable that discussions between parents and children are not protected --

It's completely unreasonable that you engaged in sexual conduct with a superior that would have gotten you and the boss fired in any other setting, and completely outrageous that you didn't confess all and spare your mother the need to testify to a grand jury.

5 posted on 05/13/2003 10:56:20 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Buffalo Bob
"Mrs. Lewinsky, why is your daughter a tramp?"
6 posted on 05/13/2003 10:56:20 AM PDT by freedomlover
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To: Buffalo Bob
Monica...please sit down.
7 posted on 05/13/2003 10:58:08 AM PDT by smiley
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To: Buffalo Bob
If this nubile genius wrote this all by herself I'll donate a thousand dollars to the Clinton Liebrary.

Leni

8 posted on 05/13/2003 10:58:51 AM PDT by MinuteGal (THIS JUST IN ! Astonishing fare reduction for FReeps Ahoy Cruise! Check it out, pronto!)
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To: Buffalo Bob
Huh, huh, huh, huh... She said "deep". Huh, huh, huh, huh....
9 posted on 05/13/2003 11:00:33 AM PDT by Redcloak (All work and no FReep makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no FReep make s Jack a dul boy. Allwork an)
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To: Buffalo Bob
I was horrified and sickened. Not unlike many young women...

...by DIRT ex-POTUS.

10 posted on 05/13/2003 11:00:52 AM PDT by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: Larry Lucido
...you engaged in sexual conduct with a superior that would have gotten you and the boss fired in any other setting...

You're close Larry, very close. In the world of business, I have seen the Boss fired but not the gal.

11 posted on 05/13/2003 11:03:04 AM PDT by Buffalo Bob
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To: freedomlover
Mama must be so proud that a "Lewinsky," has become a common term for a particular sex act.
12 posted on 05/13/2003 11:03:44 AM PDT by ASA Vet ("Those who know, don't talk. Those who talk, don't know." (I'm in the 2nd group.))
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To: Buffalo Bob
Few people are aware that, in our country, parents can be forced to testify against their children and vice versa; there is no parent-child privilege under the aegis of the federal government. We have a husband-wife privilege, a doctor-patient privilege, an attorney-client privilege and even a privilege between priest and penitent. But no comparable confidential boundary is recognized for parent and child.

Define "forced".

I will give up my life for my child. I would do far worse for my child. So you think for a minute there is any amount of pressure the state can bring to bear on me that will make me betray my childs trust?!

Nonsense.

Of course this is easy for me to say now, my daughter is only three. I confess that my view may change as time goes on, but from here I can't see how.

13 posted on 05/13/2003 11:05:24 AM PDT by tcostell
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To: MinuteGal
I'll join you. This was written by an attorney.

The key is the gratuitous reference to the law class at Columbia. Because the author has the wit to realize that he doesn't sound like Miss Ditz, he inserts a plausible explanation for where she found such high-falutin' language.

Somebody ought to ask her professor in that law course if HE wrote it. (Of course, he'll say he "reviewed" it for her "as a favor.") Betcha.

14 posted on 05/13/2003 11:07:01 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . there is nothing new under the sun.)
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To: Buffalo Bob
All of Clinton's women will go down in history.
15 posted on 05/13/2003 11:08:09 AM PDT by Consort
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To: Buffalo Bob
she's smart, too huh?
16 posted on 05/13/2003 11:08:13 AM PDT by Jim Noble
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To: Buffalo Bob
hahaha well like Donna Rice before her, looks like Lewinski has found her cause to attempt to legitimze herself.... well whatever floats Ms. Lewinski.
17 posted on 05/13/2003 11:10:48 AM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: ASA Vet
...and "Monica" is short-hand, er, vernacular for loose-lipped, er, sexually pliable employee.
18 posted on 05/13/2003 11:12:43 AM PDT by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: HamiltonJay
...floats Ms. Lewinski...

Oh, it's a good bet she floats.


19 posted on 05/13/2003 11:14:23 AM PDT by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: MinuteGal
If this nubile genius wrote this all by herself I'll donate a thousand dollars to the Clinton Liebrary.

"Monica" wrote: Unfortunately, their bills are still mired in the detritus of politics.

What? You don't believe words like "detritus" spring from her keyboard every few minutes? Cynic! ; )

20 posted on 05/13/2003 11:21:49 AM PDT by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet (Frugal is such an ugly word.)
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To: NativeNewYorker
I'm ashamed for so many of our people.
21 posted on 05/13/2003 11:22:05 AM PDT by freedomson (Baruch haba b'shem Adonai!)
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To: NativeNewYorker

Oh, it's a good bet she floats."

She's a filled-out girl; raised on the Breakfast of Champions, evidently.

;^)
22 posted on 05/13/2003 11:23:40 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: NativeNewYorker
" The image of my mother -- wan and emotionally distraught -- as she left the federal courthouse just over five years ago will be forever fixed in my memory. "
If my memory serves me correctly this emotionally distraught mom had at the time a quote that went something like "So what's the big deal. She b..w the president and then lied about it."
23 posted on 05/13/2003 11:24:14 AM PDT by freefdny
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To: Buffalo Bob
Among the many lessons Ms. Lewinsky never learned is one about "reaping what you sow" ...
24 posted on 05/13/2003 11:27:57 AM PDT by spodefly (This is my tagline. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: freefdny
This is who Monica's mom is now married to:

R. Peter Straus, age 74, is a New York Democratic fundraiser and publisher with a slightly less glittering string of political appointments (assistant administrator for Africa of AID, director of Voice of America). Straus is also an amateur opera buff, which is how he met [Monica's mom] Marcia Lewis (she wrote a book on the Three Tenors).

Link.

Looks like servicing Democrats with "airs" is in the blood.

25 posted on 05/13/2003 11:31:07 AM PDT by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: Buffalo Bob
Just when you think the liberal press can not stoop any lower they come up with this piece of crap. The liberals are trying to rehabilatate every body in the Clinton scandals. Unbelievable.
26 posted on 05/13/2003 11:31:44 AM PDT by Uncle Hal
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To: NativeNewYorker
I've seen "Monica" brand cigars in gas stations.
27 posted on 05/13/2003 11:34:54 AM PDT by ASA Vet ("Those who know, don't talk. Those who talk, don't know." (I'm in the 2nd group.))
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To: ASA Vet
Ick!
28 posted on 05/13/2003 11:35:52 AM PDT by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: Buffalo Bob
But without a formal parent-child privilege, a dodgy prosecutor is free to disregard the department's guidance -- which is exactly what happened in my case.

Right, Monica. The prosecutor is "dodgy", and you are the frightened, forthcoming, and sympathetic victim. We got it.

29 posted on 05/13/2003 11:42:05 AM PDT by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet (Frugal is such an ugly word.)
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To: Consort
What's Clinton's tory?
30 posted on 05/13/2003 1:12:43 PM PDT by ShotgunWillie (!!PING!!)
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To: Buffalo Bob
I agree with all of you ABOUT Ms. Lewinsky, but I also agree with "her" point.
31 posted on 05/13/2003 1:34:17 PM PDT by ChemistCat (My new bumper sticker: MY OTHER DRIVER IS A ROCKET SCIENTIST)
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To: Buffalo Bob
Anybody miss the good old days when nice girls didn't tell their mothers about the men they gave blow-jobs?
32 posted on 05/13/2003 5:31:11 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (Paging Nehemiah Scudder:The Crazy Years are peaking. America is ready for you.)
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To: Buffalo Bob
Good grief Monica. You're whining is getting very old. It didn't torture your Mother to sit in a fancy hotel room and tell what she knew about you and Bill Clinton. What makes you think you are so above everyone else who has to testify? You committed a crime for Heaven's sake.
You'd think Monica would be ashamed and keep her big mouth shut and go on with her life.
33 posted on 05/13/2003 5:34:54 PM PDT by ladyinred
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To: Buffalo Bob
Related article here: Monica Lewinsky says parent-child privilege should be protected
34 posted on 05/13/2003 6:20:27 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS: CNN let human beings be tortured and killed to keep their Baghdad bureau open)
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To: headsonpikes
It's her high protein diet.
35 posted on 05/13/2003 6:28:22 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS: CNN let human beings be tortured and killed to keep their Baghdad bureau open)
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To: spodefly
Also "Don't kiss and tell..."
36 posted on 05/13/2003 6:32:18 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS: CNN let human beings be tortured and killed to keep their Baghdad bureau open)
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To: NativeNewYorker
"...our system actually undermines the very values it extols."

"What does it say about us that we have yet to recognize the sanctity of the relationship..."

"We have a husband-wife privilege..."

Monica spouts about sanctity and values? How utterly obtuse!
37 posted on 05/14/2003 5:52:50 AM PDT by NMFXSTC
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To: Buffalo Bob
Figgers the Chron would give the Portly Pepperpot a forum.
38 posted on 05/14/2003 5:54:48 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: NMFXSTC
Monica spouts...

That really was the only unanswered question, wasn't it? :)

39 posted on 05/14/2003 5:54:50 AM PDT by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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