For the past week, the mainstream and not-so-mainstream media has been obsessed with Representative Anthony Weiner’s wiener. As everybody now knows, Rep. Weiner sent a photograph of his underpants-clad member to a young woman via Twitter. Apparently, Rep. Weiner has a history of such behavior on social media with consenting adult females.
Weiner is a sleazebag. While disappointing, this news is not revelatory. Infidelity, flirtation, lechery and debauchery are all part of the human behavioral catalogue. By some estimates, as many as half of married men and a third of married women have cheated on their spouses. Prudent extrapolation should conclude that these statistics also apply to our elected “representatives.” Some simply have the misfortune of getting caught.
More distressing is the public and media obsession with the sexual conduct of various members of our government (pun intended). Once upon a time, sexual indiscretion was considered a normal part of the political animal.
Jefferson had sex and illegitimate children with his slave, and just about every other President maintained at least one mistress. Why has the news of political infidelity now become fodder for scandal and blanket condemnation?
While members of both parties seem to be equally capable of depravity, they also seem to enjoy a particular holier-than-thou attitude when the other side gets caught with his or her proverbial pants down, as if it settles the matter that one party is sleazier than the other, once and for all. With all the facts in evidence, I think we can now assume that almost every one of our elected officials is of dubious moral character, regardless of political or closeted sexual orientation. Since this is a settled matter, it would be wonderful if we could just agree that people’s private sex lives are private. I personally would rather rate politicians on the job they do, rather than whom they have consensual sex with.
We are currently weathering the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. We are funding and fighting in three wars. Fanatical ideologies that threaten the very foundation of our democracy are on the rise, and powerful private interests have infiltrated our government at every level. While I am impressed by the appearance and apparent girth of Rep. Weiner’s wiener, I really think our media and minds could find better fodder for contemplation.