Standing In The Gap Of The Real And Perceived
I’ve been taken to task recently over my articles of the last week sympathizing with Anthony Weiner. That’s a good thing, by the way. My accuser believes that my sympathy is spilling over into a sort of chauvinistic laissez-faire attitude. Because, as I supposedly inferred, Weiner is, after all, just a man, right? Should we expect more, really?
This misunderstanding of my position regarding the wildly popular trials of Congressman Weiner begs for a discussion of the underlying issues at hand, like the nature of transgression and forgiveness, for those of you who still hold to these quaint ideas of naiveté. Just for giggles, though, explore with me here for a few minutes the underpinnings of my potentially misplaced sympathy. Am I just being permissive where I should be towing the line against the hypocrisy of those who purport to lead us? Since we obviously enjoy stopping and staring at Congressman Wiener’s, uuhh… train wreck of the month, we might as well take a look at some other Jews as well. They’re such a fun bunch, aren’t they?
I have not in any way advocated discounting, sweeping under the rug, tossing aside, or otherwise minimizing or dismissing Congressman Weiner’s actions. But once he came clean, he said his actions were wrong and inexcusable, and that he needed help. After apologizing to basically everyone for causing such a distraction in the national discourse, Weiner said he was going to leave his marital and political fates to his wife and his constituents in New York’s 9th congressional district. Beyond that, he owed no further explanation or recompense to anyone. I think he showed character by owning his actions, and I agree with his decisions from that apology on June 6th, 2011, forward.
I also said that if he broke any laws, he needed to be prosecuted. So far, it appears that he did not. Some have confused reports that he sent lewd pictures to a number of young adult women with reports that he communicated over the Internet with an underage girl in Delaware.
I occasionally communicate with underage girls over the internet, but that doesn’t in itself mean that I’m doing anything wrong. In Weiner’s case, such communications clearly deserve scrutiny, and that’s why they have. The conclusion is that there was nothing inappropriate or illegal exchanged with the 17-year-old girl in question, according to the police and the girl’s family.
There is no doubt by traditional moral standards here in the United States that Weiner’s indiscretions were tantamount to adultery. But that is a violation against his wife, and, by stretching it – a lot – possibly his constituents. His wife appears willing to stick by him. His constituents, at the peak of this scandal on June 9th, would apparently give him a pass as well.
How much, more, then, in November 2012, on election day, had Weiner hunkered down and let the storm blow over? Since Weiner resigned, we’ll never know. But the biggest loser may be the most ignorant of all: the Democratic Party. At a critical moment, it lost its spine and, along with it, a valiant advocate for its cause. That loss is the Republican Party’s long-term gain, in every respect. Oh well. Score one for the Gipper.
Next time, we’ll tackle what we should expect from those in our employ, public or not. Be here, and feel free to chime in.