I flipped on the TV the other day and discovered yet another politician in the national spotlight has been caught being naughty. Specifically, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner has publicly admitted to sending sexually suggestive email and text messages to a 21 year-old college student. This obviously isn't the first time our nation has been gripped into suddenly caring deeply about the moral uprightness of elected officials. People across the political spectrum are clamoring for him to resign.
Perhaps I'm being naive or just apathetic, but I honestly could care less if a Congressman (who isn't even representing my district) stepped out of his marriage through the power of technology.
Is it sleezy?
Do a feel remorse for his partner?
Was it illegal?
No, unless some additional shaddiness is discovered during the pending ethics investigation.
He didn't rape, buy sex, or solicit sex, and the person receiving those messages was of legal age, but he did send a woman some naughty pictures like another married Congressman did not too long ago. Let me be clear, I'm not defending his actions. I'm questioning why certain moral outrages disqualify someone to serve for public office, while others don't merit a notice. And why do the ones that catch our attention usually revolve around some degree of sexual deviancy?
As Sarah Vowell highlighted in her book, The Wordy Shipmates, about the Puritans of New England, our country can't seem to kick it's habit of insisting every member of our elected government must adhere to a certain standard of morality. A standard of morality we might not all share. A morality that might have evolved from religious doctrine that even most mainstream Protestant Christians don't observe anymore. And yet we insist that our politicians not only act the way we think that they should, but that they act better than us and serve as rolemodels for the rest of society.
I don't always agree with everything Mr. Weiner has said or stands for, but I will always remember the passion and position he took on the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. That speech alone earned him the endearment and respect of so many, what a shame it was squandered on a few lewd pictures to a woman's cellphone.