Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Politics of Tastelessness

The world's greatest cat has had to turn her back on certain politicians. 

Anthony Weiner and Mark Sanford are in the news again. Both men (one a Republican, the other a Democrat) left public office disgraced. Now each man wants forgiveness. And another public office to hold. In short, this power hungry duo has forced America to once again ask itself heavyweight questions regarding morality and propriety.

Geographic location renders me incapable of voting for either man. Not that it matters. Even if I were somehow able to cast my ballot for both individuals, I wouldn't. You can charge me with being judgmental and that's fine...but first let me make clear what it is I'm judging.

First off, it's not my business to know whether or not these men are truly sorry for their misdeeds (though Sanford remains with the woman he ruined his marriage for). Perhaps they truly are. Fine. I'm glad to know the guys aren't complete sociopaths. That doesn't mean they deserve votes, however.

Actions, be they good or bad, have consequences. And there should be real consequences for demeaning public office. Perhaps if each man is as repentant as he says he is, he can lay off the campaign trail for a good long while as a form of penance. That might actually be impressive.

As it stands, however, both men appear to be sorely lacking in the humility department. That's too bad, because a sense of humility is a good thing for a leader to have. Look at the legacy of Abraham Lincoln if you don't believe me.

Here's something else to think about:

The personal behavior of politicians matters. Anyone who says otherwise is clueless. Bill Clinton; for all his savvy, skill, and likability, will always be synonymous with a certain blue dress. Even tragic, iconic JFK became a punchline once the public had been made aware of his many dalliances.

Legacies can - or should - be important to politicians. Both Weiner and Sanford should ask themselves what kind of legacies they wish to leave. For a trail of embarrassing memories is no kind of legacy at all.

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