Katie Hill, the member of Congress who was obliged to step down because of the revelations that she used both a House staffer (allegedly) and a campaign worker for sex, as well as leaving incriminating pictures on the Internet, has written an op-ed in the New York Times describing her life in the aftermath. At one point, Ms. Hill contemplated suicide. She had these thoughts while in the bath with a paring knife in her hands.
“I just wanted it all to be over. I felt like I was out of my body like it was moving without me, and I got the paring knife and got back into the cold bath.”
“I stared at the veins in my wrists. They were so thin. They were green in the candlelight. I started tracing them with the edge of the knife, lightly at first, then pushing harder and harder.”
Thoughts of her family, as well as people she said, might have been inspired by her story, fortunately, stayed her hand from making a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Katie Hill is a classic story about a political reversal of fortune. When she was elected to her California district in 2018, part of a wave of Republican districts that had been flipped to Democrats, making Nancy Pelosi the speaker of the House, Hill was considered a rising star in politics.
However, the leak of salacious pictures, which revealed a “thrupple” relationship between her, a campaign worker, and her now estranged husband sent all of that crashing down. Hill accuses her husband of releasing the pictures, something that he denies, claiming that he was hacked.
Hill claims that Speaker Pelosi did not force her to resign, that she decided on her own. However, had she decided to stay and fight it out, she would have been faced with an ethics investigation on the charge that she used one of her House staff for sex, something that violates the rules of the House. She denies having done this, however.
Hot Air suggests that if Hill is being truthful that she did not have sex with one of her House staffers, no reason exists that she should not have kept her seat and faced the ethics investigation. The House Ethics Committee would have cleared her and then, ultimately, Hill would have faced the judgment of her constituents.
The Hill sex scandal, like several recent ones (the Al Franken one comes to mind), illustrates how such affairs have changed in the age of the Internet and instant communications. Even as recently as the 1990s, then-President Bill Clinton has not been possessed with the urge to take selfies of his romps with Monica Lewinsky.
But now people who are up to no good, whether it is a street thug mugging someone or a politician brushing her lover’s hair while naked, can’t help recording their acts for posterity. The compulsion has proven to be a great help to law enforcement and the media but is indiscreet in the extreme.
Hot Air also notes that any thoughts of suicide have to be taken seriously, even if Hill’s stated reasons for not going through with it seems political. Hill noted in her Times article:
“And then I thought about my supporters. I thought about the high school students who had told me how I inspired them. I thought about the Girl Scouts whose troops I’d visited who told me they wanted to grow up to be like me, and how their parents would explain this to them, and what it would do to them. And I realized I couldn’t do it.”
If the article in the Times a cry for help from someone who’s life and career aspirations have come crashing down? Or has the former congresswoman attempted to stay relevant after the sex scandal ended her political career? In any case, Hot Air opines that Hill should seek the help of a mental health expert.
Wired notes that the publication of the salacious pictures and Hill’s subsequent fall from power illustrates how protocols by social media companies against revenge porn are inadequate.
It is against the rules to post a salacious image or video without the consent of the subject of said image or video. The lesson, though, might be that if one chooses to behave the way Hill seems to have done, best to leave the camera phone turned off.