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

10 comments:

From the Rim of the Box said...

Printer made a booboo here. That last paragraph before the questions we are asking you,right after "Impeach Everybody," should be in red. Those were Ellen's words, not mine. Just so you know.
It looks as if this man's sad tale has come to an end in the public eye. But his sadness is only beginning behind the screen. What can we all learn from this one? And what do we pray he learns from it? ELH

Jane Carlile Baker said...

What is done in the dark will come to the light. I think Weiner ignored that, to his downfall. The human condition has many pitfalls. However, it has been my experience that we learn more from our mistakes than our victories, so I pray he learns from his whatever God wanted him to know. I would like to think that people would deal with him with both grace and truth - because there's a need for both. However, I'm not going to hold my breath, because I know the human condition. As for me, I refuse to have an opinion about the whole thing because I've seen so much inaccurate information in the media that unless I knew the guy personally, I would assume that the "facts" are skewed. I also think we'd have a hard time getting any leadership role filled if we only took perfect people. Just sayin'

Michele said...

Thanks for the details and good discussion, but who is red and who is blue?

From the Rim of the Box said...

Ellen's red, Ethel's blue
ELH

From the Rim of the Box said...

well, michele, now that you know who's who, whattya think? and welcome, by the way!!

you're right, jane, the facts get very skewed. apparently a number of congressmen were already irritated by weiner's persistence and fire...in other words, he's not always the most politic fellow, by most accounts...it's unfortunate that facade is more important than truth in congressional activities, but in fairness, that's usually the way it is in life, isn't it? anyway, weiner had few backstops, and not much choice but to back off.

years ago, my husband was caught in the headlights by the SEC...his company determined he was innocent,but the SEC, once it had accused him, had to find fault, or THEIR heads could roll. a national business magazine put his cute little image in its pages along with those of several others, and showed them to be nearly the most wanted humans on earth...it wasn't true, but it was humiliating, and we were advised that to fight back against an entity that bought its ink in 50-gallon drums was sheerly NUTS! in court, my husband became the first practicioner to beat the SEC--ever! but he could, because he was supported by a huge company with unlimited funds, who believed in him...a small practicioner would have been overrun like a pancake! which brings us back to anthony weiner... where are HIS friends? he made a mistake, but have all his compadres melted away...god, that's so sad...i am sad for these people who, odds are, may need a friend one day...

when bruce was having his problems...many of his "friends" melted away, didn't want to be seen to be with him, "just in case!" but one guy, in particular, whenever we were at social events, would wait until many people were around, and then walk up to each of us, quietly put an arm around us, and ask how we were handling things...even now, 30 years later, i feel a gratitude toward this fellow that just won't go 'way...

but i want to know what YOU think about all this, any aspect, every aspect...what weiner did, how he handled it, how those around him dealt with it or him--whatever you feel like discussing...ethel and i would be most interested...
efc
in red

Michele said...

Politics makes me sick. That's all I'll say. I despair at what's happening to my country--the moral disintegration--and in my country.

From the Rim of the Box said...

Last year I read a profoundly interesting book called "Jesus for President," written by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw. I don't buy all he says, but he begins with a fascinating observation about the failure of human government. He claims God alone can govern us and we need to look to Jesus for all our political guidelines. Gave me lots to think about and I recommend it to you for your perusal. Hmmm....
Ethel

Jane Carlile Baker said...

Sometimes I think we should disband the entire government - everybody loses their job, and for a time, there are no services. I think this because it's gotten so unwieldy I certainly don't know who is doing what to who, and I don't think people in government do either. In the new government, no bureaus could overlap, no one could hold more than one position, there would be only one legislative body, there would be no retirement plan other than social security, all employees, including the politicians, would have the exact same insurances,and no tax could be more than 10%. Only things too big for individual states to do alone would be taken care of by the federal government, and the states could have 10% taxes too. The feds wouldn't give any to the states, and the states wouldn't give any to the feds - and it would take a 50% vote of the parties concerned to pass legislation, taxes, etc. And no, I don't want to run for president.

From the Rim of the Box said...

Jane, I just discovered this piece and I am VERY impressed. You're really sure you don't want to run for president? Shucks! I thought we had a solution here!
Ethel

Jane Carlile Baker said...

Yes, I'm positive I don't want to run for president - have you looked at those guys after four years?