To some, the Anthony Weiner affair is only a sideshow and fonder for the late night TV jesters. But, there are some significant lessons to be learned from this incident.
Depending on which side of the political spectrum you fall, you may find his conduct repulsive or just a frat house prank. If you are one of his loyal constituents, he may be easily forgiven for his personal failings. However, as a representative of our government, his decisions affect all of us. He, along with other members of congress, make decisions on how much we are taxed, what federal services are provided, and even our national security. Therefore, it is important to put away the politics and jokes for a moment, and focus on the important issues Weinergate has brought to light.
Skeletons in the Closets
Although many of us have things from our past we would like to undo, the real test of character is how we handle ourselves when confronted with our misdeeds. We can deny them, dodge the questions and hope they go away, or admit the truth.
In the case of Anthony Weiner, he initially tried to deny and dodge the allegations. Then, he attempted to redirect the blame by claiming it was all due to a conspiracy against him and his party. Then, he just blamed a hacker. Finally, when the firestorm was too great, he admitted the truth in a live media event. Considering how difficult it was going to be to stand before the reporters and confess his embarrassing behavior, he could have released a written statement, or sent a spokesperson in his place. Was his personal statement a demonstration of genuine contrition and accountability, or, was it a calculated attempt to do whatever it took to keep his job? You be the judge.
Should we question just how far Anthony Weiner would go to keep his job? Would he be receptive to blackmail? To some, this argument is farfetched, but should we completely discount this possibility? We cannot expect our government officials to be perfect, but shouldn’t we expect them to at least adhere to fundamental standards. It could certainly be argued that in the case of Anthony Weiner, his behavior could compromise the execution of his duties.
Unlawful or Poor Judgment
In most professions, sending sexually explicit photos and messages over the internet would have been unacceptable behavior, and would more than likely been grounds for dismissal. Should we expect our elected officials to be held less accountable for their actions?
Anthony Weiner didn’t just show poor judgment and inability to control his impulses, but he was willing to stand before his friends, his colleagues, and the American people and blame everyone but himself. Only, when he had no other choice, was he willing to take some responsibility. Many would argue that it hasn’t been proven that he has broken any laws. True. But, do we really need a law to identify his actions to be wrong — to identify his behavior as being contrary to everything we should expect from a representative of our country? Where do we draw the line?
Filling Out His Weekly Timecard
We will never know how much time Anthony Weiner spent on his online extracurricular activities. How much time did he spend staging his photo shoots and composing his tweets? The taxpayers funded, at least some of, these activities. How much time will be spent on Congressional Hearings? Thinking outside the box: Why shouldn’t Anthony Weiner’s pay be docked for time off the clock? Furthermore, perhaps he should be forced to pay for the cost of his Hearing.
Granted, this is not the first occasion of an elected official caught acting badly, and unfortunately it will not be the last. But until our elected officials are held accountable and there are repercussions for their conduct, we will continue to see more and more of these incidents.
How should those that abuse their power be penalized? We should take this opportunity to revisit our laws governing codes of conduct, and decide what We the People stand for.