Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weinergate; Not So Sweet Home Alabama

Weinergate. It couldn't get any better for a political junkie. The story is an old one; as old as civilization. A middle aged man seduced by power, surrounded by "yes men", believing that the rules of society simply doesn't apply to him trying to impress chicks. There have been countless examples down history, but don't think men are the only ones guilty bad behavior. Women too have been just as guilty. It always seems to be someone in a position of perceived authority, be lawyers, judges, business leaders, politicians, clergy, or teachers.

Here we have a successful New York Congressman with great future; an attractive wife (who is allegedly expecting again)and kids. Same old song with a different singer. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) at first denied the risqué pictures, sent out over his cell phone was "hacked' by some political rival. As the evidence began to amount and the lie became indefensible, Weiner fessed up and is now taking a brief leave of absence from Congress to see "counseling" and "treatment". Oh, so stupid behavior is now something clinically treatable? Only if Richard Nixon knew that following Watergate, or Bill Clinton after Monica. However, he is steadfastly clinging to his office (besmirched though it may be) in hopes of some other more interesting story comes along and bumps him from the headlines. A few reports claim that he is so far into debt, he can't quit. He needs our money. In his head, he's thinks that he can weather the storm just a little longer, it will be alright. Meanwhile, he hides.

Americans are a forgiving people. We can forgive most anything...except a lie. We've seen all before. Politicians, like clergy, community leaders, sport figures and educators are held apart from society. These are the people we look up to. They inspire us. When they mess up, it's there for all to see thanks to 24/7/365 a day media coverage from hundreds of sources. While Weiner has apologized, I wonder about the sincerity of it. The fact that he initially denied what was obvious comes as no surprise. Most of us deny the truth until we're forced to confess. That's human nature. That he's now seeking "treatment" is not surprising either. It's partial an attempt to demonstrate his remorse, and partly to buy time in the hopes that the fury will pass over and he'll be able to resume living his life as before. Perhaps more cautiously this time.

People are attracted to power. It's considered to be the ultimate aphrodisiac. Individuals with power come to believed they not above the law, but that, somehow the law and/or society's morality simply doesn't apply to them. If Weiner was sincere, he would have made his apologies and then promptly resigned. The fact that he hasn't indicates to me that he really doesn't believe he's done anything wrong. The apology was perfunctory and as soon as another story comes along, everything will be right in his world again.

The Democratic Party's leadership has condemned his actions. His fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle have condemned his behavior. Various local leaders in his home district have condemned his actions. If he is unwilling to resign voluntarily, then it will be necessary for his constituents to organize a petition to recall Wenier and schedule a special election as soon as possible that the business of government can resume.

Years ago, a number of television shows featured the loveable ole drunk as comic relief. Those days are long gone. We, as a society, no longer find alcoholic behavior funny nor are we willing to tolerate it. The same public distain of indecent sexual behavior applies too, be it a priest sexually abusing little boys; a minister having an affair or hiring hooker; a business person making sexual overtones to a fellow employee; a teacher and a student; or, as in this case, another politician on a power trip.

Our public leaders need to be reminded, and reminded often, that they have no power of office except that which we loan them. The moment they violate our trust should be the moment their term in office comes to an end.

Not So Sweet Home Alabama

Alabama just out did Arizona in passing the toughest anti-illegal bill in the country. On Thursday, the Alabama legislator passed HB 56, which mirrors Arizona's SB 1070, but goes further by requiring since it covers education as well as voting, employment, and law enforcement. Employers must now utilize E-Verify to confirm that an individual's name matches up with the social security number. Law enforcement officers may check to verify the immigration of status of a person stopped for violation or if the officer has reason to suspect that the individual is there illegally. Individuals may also be fined for knowingly providing transportation to an illegal resident. The bill will require education officials to confirm the immigration status of their students. Finally, HB 56, authored by Mickey Hammon (R), denies any "sanctuary" status by state or local agencies and as well as by individuals or organizations such as churches.

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