The Redemption Story – Is there anything more compelling in American culture? We celebrate it in our athletes, our celebrities, and our politicians. We as a country always seem to want to root for the underdog, the longshot, the comeback that defies all odds. There is, however, a substantial difference between cheering for a quarterback who returns from a potential career-ending injury to be the MVP and a politician who gets caught with prostitutes and somehow gets a shot at vindication.
Where does this desire to forgive and forget come from? Not surprisingly, it is rooted in our mainstream Judeo-Christian religious heritage. Of course, that is not to say that religious leaders themselves are somehow immune from needing the occasional redemption. (See The Church, Catholic for more examples.)
Recently, the citizens of South Carolina elected Mark Sanford to Congress. Only two years ago, Sanford was forced to resign as Governor after being caught using taxpayer money to fly to Argentina to spend time with his mistress.
Let’s not forget about Senator David Vitter, who was caught having sex with prostitutes and somehow not only wasn’t forced to resign, but actually won reelection. The reason? Vitter “asked for and received forgiveness from God and [his] wife.” and everybody else was quick to follow suit.
Rep. Christopher Lee (R-N.Y.), who is married, resigned in 2011 after he sent a photo of himself shirtless to a woman through Craigslist.
It is of course worth noting that these examples are Republicans because you know… Family Values and Conservative Beliefs.
That is of course, not to say that Democratic leaders are immune from political scandal. President Clinton was nearly impeached for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. John Edwards, a Democratic former senator, vice presidential nominee and two-time presidential candidate, was indicted on charges that he used campaign contributions to hide an extramarital affair. Rep. Anthony Weiner was forced to resign from Congress for tweeting a picture of his junk to some girls. Prior to that, Weiner was one of the leading progressive voices in Congress, and one of the Democratic Party’s fastest-rising stars. In perspective, he didn’t cheat on his wife, and he wasn’t out having sex with whores – He was “sexting” pictures and having conversations with people via the wonderful world of the Interweb. Certainly, it was a stupid mistake, but is flirting really grounds to have a career ended?
I think it’s appropriate to post this on Memorial Day. This is Rep. Weiner outraged over Republican opposition to legislation to help the first responders on 9/11 get medical care (The Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act):
Anthony Weiner is running for Mayor of New York City, and there has been considerable pushback from liberals on the idea. Why? Do people disagree with his political views? His platform? His record of working for the middle-class? Jealous of his impressive “stimulus package?”
Why are conservatives substantially more forgiving to their leaders than liberals? Would it help if Weiner came out and said that he gave his life to Christ, and begged.
people to forgive him of his sins? Are we to hold our elected officials as infallible?
Or do we have the capacity to look at a man who has worked hard, fought to represent his constituents, and wants to continue to serve the People as somebody who had a lapse in judgement, and who deserves a second chance?
… Does he have to run as a Republican to get it?
–Sean Kemmerer is a freelance writer, administrator of Politics Without The Crazy Pills , and wonders if Weiner can pull out a win… Can he come out on top? If Weiner’s election speech lasts more than 4 hours…
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