Many years ago some people of ill repute were branded with what was known as the “Scarlett Letter.” The purpose was to shame them before their neighbors. The shame was to be their punishment. Some were put into “stocks” as a display of their shame. Many of our laws were based on the idea that if a perpetrator were shamed by his action, that shame would also serve as a part of his punishment. When I was growing up, my mother often used words like “Shame on you,” and “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?” Those were cutting words and they were effective.
I bring this up because of the recent revelations in the news about Congressman Anthony Weiner. You all know the story about his exchanging lewd photos and messages with people in cyberspace not knowing whether he was sending them to women, men, children, or possibly even vice cops. All this while he was a married man and a sitting Member of Congress. When discovered, he tried to cover up the mess by lying, but to no avail. I watched as he “apologized” to every one in the world as well as his wife. In all his stammering monologue however, I did not hear anything about his shame. How could one put on a press conference in light of these accusations and not be so ashamed that he would be unable to speak?
Just a few years ago in Japan, he would have been forced by tradition to commit “Hari Kari.” Even here in America he would have been laughed off the stage. He certainly would not have had a job to return to. What has happened to us as a country?
I saw a poll that was just conducted in New York whereby 51% of the respondents think he should not have to resign. What? Has this sort of activity become so common that it is acceptable with elected representatives? Do we not expect more of our so called leaders?
Bill Clinton, instead of becoming a problem for the Democrats, has become their standard bearer. Charlie Rangel was re-elected by a landslide. Elliott Spitzer now has a TV show. While I am naming Democrats, Republicans also have their share of idiots and morons. From Nevada’s Ensign to California’s Governator as well as countless others, it seems shamelessness is no respecter of political affiliation.
We have all heard the standard excuses that people in power have extreme appetites. They are also described as gregarious and egotistical. I have my own descriptions. How about arrogant? How about the belief that they are above the law? Another thought that comes to mind is maybe they are just plain stupid.
You may ask, “If Weiner’s constituency is willing to accept his misdeeds, why should I care?” That is a fair question. My answer would be that, while he does represent a small number of New Yorkers, his actions as a Congressman affect all of us. As a proven liar, he is not trustworthy. He should not have a security clearance. He should not have access to State Secrets. Simply stated, he cannot be trusted.
Finally he has become a big problem for the Democrat party. That doesn’t bother me but it should bother that group as they face an uphill battle to just exist as well as try to grow their numbers in the Congress. Weiner should be shamed out of Congress for the good of the country and all future such incidents should be dealt with in a similar fashion.
Ron Scarbro June 8, 2011
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