Thursday, June 18, 2009

Promise Breakers

I find it a bit disturbing the number of politicians who end up embroiled in scandal because of an affair. I have a bit of mixed feelings about the role ones morals play in his politics. On the one hand I tend to think that ones morals or lack thereof isn't necessarily reflective of his/her ability to represent or lead a people. On the other hand it certainly calls into questions one's credibility. If someone is willing to lie to his family, supposedly the most important people in his life, then what is to prevent that person from lying to the rest of us, those that can't hold him personally accountable?

When President Clinton admitted to his affair with Monica Lewinsky I thought less of him as a person but I never really felt that undermined any decisions he had made as President. I realize there are many who feel differently. Likewise, there have been other good politicians who have made poor choices and I am reticent to condemn them in their profession even though I may condemn their immorality (John Edwards comes to mind).

Where I feel a bit more strongly is with those politicians who make it part of their political agenda to regulate morality and then they themselves end up having an affair. It's almost as if there are some politicians you know are less moral and in some ways you expect it from them. Not that it makes it any less wrong, but there's not the stench of hypocrisy with it. Then you have guys like Ensign, part of the Religious Right, very outspoken in his criticism of Clinton and Larry Craig, calling for their heads, a member of Promise Keepers and various other "moral code" groups, who admits to and apologizes for an affair and expects to just move on. Why? Others have given similar statements and this man was not quick to forgive and move on. He made it a mission to connect these moral decisions to their ability or inability to perform the functions of their jobs. So, why should he be any different? Shouldn't he be held to the same standard that he used to judge others? There would probably be a lot less judgement if everyone agreed to be judged by the same measure they judged others.

I think cheating in any form is wrong and an affair definitely makes me think twice about the quality of the individual. I also think it is incredibly stupid for one who lives in the public eye to think he/she can get away with something of this nature. Someone knows something and eventually it comes out. But for me it is almost worse when you have someone portraying himself as morally above reproach, making morals a part of his political agenda, dictating what aspects of morality should be legislated, and has cast judgement and demanded penance for others who have strayed, and then this person is caught in the same type of personal shortcoming. It's enough to make me want to shout, "If you are immoral enough to cheat, go cheat, but then don't be preaching morality to the rest of us.....who aren't cheating."


Nancy said...

I agree with you on all you've written. I haven't really read anything about this guy Ensign and wondered what the big deal was but reading here that he's part of the Religious Right and other "moral code" groups and bashing others makes me ill.
It also makes me wonder about ALL the leaders in these types of groups. Because as they say "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"

Moxymama said...

There seems to be a lot of people, specifically in politics, who condemn others all while engaging in similar activities themselves. Newt Gingrich was calling for Clinton's impeachment while at the same time carrying on an affair himself....the list goes on. I just think you lose your credibility when you condemn and criticize, very publically, those who are doing the same thing you are.