Another example of hypocrisy
Courtesy of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R).
Everyone knows the story by now… year-long affair with a woman in Argentina, Sanford’s wife found out five months ago, Sanford acknowledges that he let a lot of people down, etc.
This is the problem- Sanford, and his GOP Christian Coalition buddies have always preached about being the touchstone for all that is moral and right in America. They anointed themselves the judge and jury in cases of moral decrepitude, and back in the 90’s went after Bill Clinton for his straying under that self-appointed mantle of morality.
In recent years, there have been countless examples of GOPers who have turned down the road of “the fallen”, as they put it. Witness Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Newt Gingrich, David Vitter and now most recently John Ensign. Yet, the GOP continues to claim they are more moral, more worthy, and a better judge of all of us. And every time another one of them falls, their hypocrisy is evident in bold relief.
How about if we recognize that people fail? People simply screw up, make bad choices, and that affairs of the heart alone should not be the sole reason for career failure. For anyone- regardless of party. Learn forgiveness, accept that these are private issues, and allow people to deal with them privately.
Now, this is a lot to say coming from a democrat like myself. Infidelity happens everywhere, in all social strata, all parties, all religions. I’m tired of seeing these morality plays carried out everywhere, with the universe commenting on them and making mincemeat out of the families. Case in point, John and Elizabeth Edwards.
The problem is that respect of people’s private lives will never be restored in today’s day and age. This kind of obsession is part of the 24/7 news culture, and part of the political no-holds-barred system that governs Washington. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is fair game. It doesn’t seem like there is a way to turn back now.
These politicians get into these catch-22 situations by pontificating on morality, the strong family values they allegedly hold, and how they should have the right to say what is moral and just and what isn’t. Sanford voted for DOMA, and has been a long-term opponent of any type of civil rights advances or equality for gay Americans. He sits in judgement on all of us with his anti-abortion, anti-female rhetoric, his union-busting and his constant criticism of anything Democratic. That’s why it is next to impossible for those of us on the other side of the aisle to let an affair of this magnitude just go by the wayside. Just like the GOP wouldn’t let us off the hook for one of our own either- witness Eliot Spitzer. I still wish he didn’t have to step down as NY Governor. They have been worse off without him.
Now the search is on to determine if anything Sanford did was illegal. Did he use state money for any of these trips to Argentina? Did he use state time and equipment in carrying out his affair? What about the fact that adultery is actually illegal and punishable by both a fine and jail time in South Carolina? What about the fact that Sanford lied to his staff about his whereabouts? What about putting the United States in a potentially dangerous situation by traveling to a foreign country with a history of high profile abductions, and failing to have security with him, or at the very least contact the US Embassy when he arrived?
All of these are valid questions, and should be answered publicly. We’re never going to be able to return to the days when the private lives of public people were respected and there was a certain distance. There are good reasons for that, and bad reasons too.
Let’s just keep the kids out of it, please.