Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I imagine that last week, our United States must have been in awfully good shape, because our congress and the media, seemed to have nothing better to talk about than Anthony Weiner’s problems. I had no idea who Weiner was and no particular interest, but Ellen seemed outraged by the attacks—on HIM!,   it was SO UNFAIR!! almost all the media was in total frenzy, and I guess I wouldn’t shut up about it, actually-- and so it caught my (cough, cough) attention and interest, like she had a choice!!!

My difficulty with this whole weiner thing is that when I try to think about it, I get so mad, I’m not sure I think very clearly. I will say clearly, and up front: anthony weiner did wrong—he spent time online with several women, not his wife, talking in “inappropriate” ways—as we’ve come to call it in the polite world of political correctness…he also sent pictures, some of which were very compromising…though most of those were more smoke than fire (I saw a few of them.)
but did what he do rise to the level of a loss of career, and sending him home to Brooklyn in disgrace? sorry, I just don’t think so…unless we’re to discover that it’s a pattern of behavior, and another shoe is yet to drop.
i’m thinking, too, there’s a fairness issue…
 Alright, well, consider that I saw a headline this morning that said he has a long past history of being a playboy. That sounds like a pattern of behavior to me. I’ve not heard that accusation before; anywhere…I’m a little wary of that one… I seem to recall that Clinton made it to the end of his second term with Monica Lewinsky under his desk, not on his computer monitor. Ted Kennedy survived for how many years in congress while he went on not just being flirtatious, but being truly and openly adulterous!  Yikes! 
Yeah, I remember back in “the day,” one never knew when ted kennedy's name would pop up again—the affairs with women he barely tried to hide—to the extent that joan lost herself in a bottle; and then he capped it all off with the killing of mary jo kopechne…only a short time after that he decided he'd run for president, and finally-- because of mary jo, I think, the public  called a halt to his upward mobility, but NOT TO HIS SENATE AMBITIONS…and from then, 1973 until 2010 when kennedy died he made himself into a great senator, and, unbelievably, a well-loved figure. this is what I mean by “fairness.” Weiner is being skewered…kennedy killed a girl and became an elder statesmen. nobody had the guts to tell him to go home!
So what is it that Weiner has done to put him beyond the arms of grace? These other guys make Weiner’s “whatever it was” seem almost childish..
Go to the internet and get inundated—both sides of the aisle—going back years and years; congressmen in both houses, enjoying the wages of their power, it would appear…a short list: Dems-- Former Rep. Mel Reynolds, convicted of 12 counts of sexual assault with a 16-year-old. Bill Clinton pardoned him before leaving office; Former Rep. Gerry Studds, censured for sexual relationship with underage male page in 1983. voters returned him to office for six more terms.  Current Rep. Barney Frank hired a male prostitute who ran a prostitution service from Frank’s residence in the 1980s. Only two Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to censure him in 1990. Republicans--Sen. David Vitter, caught up in a Washington escort service scandal, acknowledged his misbehavior and went on to win reelection in 2010;  even larry craig, trolling for sex in public bathrooms—was simply admonished by the senate ethics committee, but finished his term… public bathrooms!!  
on top of these sits the john ensign affair—that started out as an office fling, and grew into an wide ranging ethics scandal, involving several senators, which  threatened to cut short many congressional careers…and spanned several years!
 anthony weiner has been fighting his war for just over a week, and hasn’t met even one of the ladies he’s accused of perverting!! anonymous stupid talk on the net, mostly! it’s nuts! to me, anyway…even the pictures are basically fruit of the loom ads! for pity sakes!!
  Methinks if we could unearth the records, we'd find it was a rare congressman or even president, way back to Washington, who could present himself with pure hands. I think often of my husband’s uncle who held some sort of state office, way back when. His family claims he used to say that if you’re not crooked when you go into politics, you will be when you come out.  But, I have to agree with what you say, here. This much makes no sense-- as common as sexual misbehavior is among these men, I don’t see how Weiner managed to get into so much trouble.
we’re told the unforgiveable problem with weiner is not what he did, but that he lied—so let’s talk about Donald rumsfield and bush the younger, and their “weapons of mass destruction.” what IS the body count currently…and do you really want to put Anthony weiner’s stupid whatever it is/was up against it, or any of the above. further more, I heard someone say in the last day or so, “well, he (weiner) himself, said his actions were inappropriate. therefore he should resign” and you know what I heard, when this person spoke? what I heard was, if Anthony had just continued to lie, he’d have been way better off!! he skewered himself by telling the truth…ain’t that a kick in the head!!?
at the same time, I’m told weiner is not the most popular guy in the house. he’s ambitious, and a firebrand…but, I’ve watched this guy for a few years now, and here’s something you can’t say about a lot of politicians—he’s honest!  yes, he lied about this…he got his hand caught in the cookie jar, and tried to avoid the consequences…there’s something very normal about that, too. anyway, he’s smart, he’s young enough to be idealistic, and he gets the job done, apparently…a poll was conducted in his district. the results: STAY %56   RESIGN:  %32  UNDECIDED: %12. almost 2/3rds of HIS people…support him, and want him to stay and fight it out! being disliked, can be a badge of honor, depending on whose wearing it and why
Oh boy!  Show me a man or woman anywhere in the public eye who does wrong and then doesn't lie to cover it up.  I think about Nixon and Agnew, Clinton and Kenneth Lay and even Ted Haggard, along with a few closer to home in churches where I've been.  Church leaders are every bit as prone as politicians when it comes to lying.
 I think this does make my point for me—christian or non—first they lie. our most primitive instinct is to try to survive…and that’s one way we do it…it doesn’t make us bad…it makes us normal. and weiner actually caved in much earlier than most…as I said, it seems to be part of the reason he’s being attacked. Charlie rangel has managed to lie and cheat his own constituents for years and years and years, and absolutely refused to quit, even after being censured…
Okay, so in the end,  What do we do about it?  For years I've heard it asked in evangelical circles, even asked it myself on occasion, that if a man is immoral in his gut, how can we trust him to do right and act wisely in official office?  Especially if he is dishonest enough to lie about it.  And what would happen to the size of our congress if we deleted all the men who have cheated on their wives and lied about it? My husband and I saw a bumper sticker the other night that poses one answer: 
Impeach Everybody
at the same time, Weiner along with a few others in congress,  is apparently still young enough to put idealism ahead of compromise, and so some of his colleagues might wish him gone. He will think nothing of making wave after wave after wave, and letting the chips fall where they fall!
So, what do you think? How do you feel about Weiner’s lie? And should he have just left it his little secret? Knowing that his peccadilloes were carried on anonymously and that he never actually met any of the women he spoke to, does that make a difference to you? Should he resign? And what about that 56% of his constituents that support him? Do they count for anything? Finally, when you go to vote for a public servant, how important is his moral character in helping you to make your decision? We would love to hear anything you want to share, pro or con…  E&e