Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Politicians and Adultery

Another week--another politician holding a press conference to admit an affair. I'm not surprised these men in power are having affairs; I'm just surprised they're getting caught and having to admit them.

Let me be clear: every time a man or woman cheats on his/her spouse it's a tragedy. Lives are damaged and will never be the same. Trust is broken. Everyone around that affair is hurt by it; it's even more sad when children and families are torn apart by infidelity. The same is true when the the affair is committed by a politician who holds himself (aren't they usually male?) up as an example of good judgment and good morality. An affair is a tragedy even when it is a politician whose politics I disagree with. Whether it's JFK, Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Newt Gingrich, Jim McGreevey, Eliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, John Ensign or today's latest adulterer South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. Adultery shows no partiality to one political party or the other. (See this slide show of male politicians and their mistresses.)

The thing about an affair is that it doesn't happen in a vacuum. It happens when a person fails to face the problems in his/her life and in their marriage. Even when a marriage goes bad--really bad--the marriage vows should lead a person to at least end that marriage and then move on romantically. Of course, how things should be often do not match with how things are. When a person begins an affair, he or she has begun a path of deception that can lead to some really bad judgment and a false sense of reality--witness Mark Sanford's mysterious trip over Father's Day weekend! If he thought such an action was somehow normal or okay, his actions only point to the troubled and warped state of mind he has been in.

The thing that bothers me especially about Sanford, Ensign, Craig, etc. is that these same men have taken political stands against others in the so-called "defense of marriage." As a congressman, Sanford voted repeatedly to deny rights to LGBT individuals on the grounds that their "lifestyle" is immoral, meanwhile we have Sanford ending up with his own marriage in need of defense.

Just as Sanford and his family need sympathy rather than judgment, so also do LGBT people. The difference with LGBT folks is that they just want the same right to succeed or fail in their own marriages that heterosexual politicians have.

Grace and Peace,


1 comment:

lneely said...

It's difficult not to judge people in the face of such bold faced hypocrisy. You're right, though, even slimy bureaucrats like Sanford deserve that much. Invariably, it's more complicated than it appears on the surface.

And, of course I agree with you about LGBTs. That goes without saying. ;p