Forgive me, I beg you. Once more I have to get something off my chest. As you can imagine, the tailspin of Anthony Weiner’s mayoral candidacy is all the buzz across cable news and Twitter today. I suppose it is a hot topic, driven by salacious revelations and voyeuristic indulgence. I can live with all that. But there are a million reasons for NOT supporting Anthony’s Weiner’s mayoral candidacy, and only about four of them have anything to do with his “sexting” proclivities.
What really irks me, however, is the gratuitous moralizing by sanctimonious hypocrites. One idiot tweeted today that “If he cheats on his wife, he will cheat on NYC. Character matters.”
I remember when Judith Exner first came forward in the late 70s with her claims to have been JFK’s mistress. One night that prig John Chancellor devoted a full segment of NBC Nightly News to a commentary on how “a man who cheats on his wife will cheat on his country.”
Aside from being a foolish and insupportable supposition, the statement is contrary to all human experience. FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, to name just three, all cheated on their wives and still managed to be excellent Presidents.
And I needn’t remind you that Benedict Arnold was himself a devoted family man who went to his grave completely untainted by personal scandal.
Of all the childish, idiotic and just plain wrong assertions bandied about regularly in today’s collective circle jerk which we smugly label civil discourse, this moralizing about the character of public figures is the most insufferable. These people are human beings with human frailties. We send them mixed signals continuously, first by idolizing profligate celebrities like the Kardashians, only to follow up with lynch mobs for failed politicians like Weiner.
We need to be honest about this issue. Some of the greatest generals, kings, emperors, Presidents, statesmen and patriots in human history were also its greatest horndogs. Like most of you, I believe in fidelity and monogamy. But, also like most of you, I’ve lived long enough to know that even the most virtuous and strong among us are only too subject to the temptations of the flesh, and that most of us learn at an early age how to compartmentalize such foibles.
This bullshit about how “character matters” has bought us nothing but disappointment and grief and our own brand of irrational hypocrisy. After all, the Bible thumpers in Louisiana appear willing to overlook the diaper fetishes of the hooker-loving David Vitter, while the urbane Progressives of the Democratic Party seem to be obsessed with Anthony Weiner’s penchant for exhibitionism.
And this sublime contradiction is why I say that we should all shut up about how much “character matters”, especially when sex is the metric for determining character.