Jokes about Weiner aside – because, let’s be honest, how often does a guy with the last name of Weiner get caught up in a sex scandal? – there is something serious to be said about the recent scandals in the political sphere. NPR brought up the point that many people attempt to criminalize such actions, though there’s no real law on the books against sexual misdeeds in congress. But there’s a bigger issue here that, for whatever reason has escaped public discussion, namely that if such people are willing to cheat on their wives (or husbands), then aren’t they even more willing to cheat the people they represent?
During the Clinton scandal the big meme was, “What happens in the bedroom doesn’t impact what happens in the Oval Office.” But wouldn’t a man of infidelity of a personal oath be unfaithful to a public oath? What makes us think that a man can forgo his children and wife with multiple women, but turn around and be a faithful servant? The simple truth is that what happens in the bedroom, or better said, what happens behind closed doors matters in public office. The honor of a man isn’t found in front of a camera lens or at a press conference, rather the honor of a man is found when no one is looking. Consider John Edwards, a man who cheated on his wife when she had terminal cancer, impregnated his mistress, and then used one of his staff members to take the blame for the pregnancy. And you think he won’t try to cheat his constituents if it ultimately benefits him in the end? And he’s not alone.
While Democrats have suffered lately at the hands of sex scandals, Republicans have had their fair share as well. Some simply choose to laugh it off and say, “Well what do you expect?” but then in the same breath complain about how corrupt our government is. “They don’t listen to their constituents, they listen to their lobbyist!” They also have sex with women (or men) they are not married to, hurting their families in the process. Do you not see the connection? A man who is immoral in private will be immoral in public as well; a dishonorable man doesn’t become honorable in the spotlight (though he will act honorable).
Now, certainly we don’t expect our politicians to be perfect, after all, they’re human. At the same time, they are representing certain populations of the United States, so they should be held to a higher ethical standard, both in the legislation they support and how they live their lives in private. So the next time you go to vote, consider this: If a man thinks he can violate the most sacred vow he’s taken (one of matrimony) behind closed doors, what prevents him from thinking he can violate his public vow just as much behind closed doors as well? We should seek out politicians who are virtuous, not because of what they say, but because of how they live.