Who cares about congressman Weiner's actions?

By Robin Schumacher

I normally enjoy listening to Bill Lamb's comments on my local Fox41 News' Point-of-View TV clip, but I have to say I was very disappointed in his analysis of the Congressman Weiner scandal. In his opinion piece that aired on June 16, 2011, Lamb stated:
"Congressman Weiner developed a dialog with a few women on the internet and sent them some suggestive pictures. So what? That stuff is really none of our concern. Does it show questionable judgment? Maybe, but in the big scheme of things who cares? He wasn't elected because his constituents thought they had finally found a moral beacon. No, he was washed out of Congress and will be forgotten not because he sent some questionable pictures but because he lied about it."
Lamb seems to suggest that it's fine from a cultural/political standpoint for our elected leaders to behave immorally behind closed doors as long as they don't exhibit bad moral behavior in their interactions with their constituents. You and I hear this all the time: "What they do in their private life is their own business and not ours."

But such thinking is quite flawed in my opinion.

Why? Simply because a person who behaves immorally in private will behave the same way (sooner or later) in public. The fact is Weiner's private deception and lies towards his wife and his public lies toward the people of New York are connected to the same moral character.

Ask yourself: what is something we desperately want from our elected officials? Answer: to keep the promises they made to the people who elected them when they arrive in office. In short, we want them to keep their word, don't we? Now ask yourself this: if a person can't keep the most important promise they'll ever make (their marriage vow of fidelity) to the most important person they'll ever meet (their spouse), how can we expect them to keep the political promises they make to us, most of whom they'll never meet?

Lamb's belief that somehow immoral behavior exhibited in private won't eventually manifest in public is the worst kind of wishful thinking.

Some have tried to argue that Weiner's actions really don't constitute a breakage in marital fidelity, but it only takes a brief review of the transcript that covers his interactions with the woman in Las Vegas to see he was planning on traveling soon to consummate their online affair. Wendy Walsh, a behavioral and family therapist, was interviewed on CNN about the Weiner incident and asked "Is sexting adultery and cheating?" Her response was, "absolutely!"

So Mr. Lamb, I respectfully disagree with your bifurcation of private vs. public morality and the thinking that such things don't matter. We need to have trust that our elected officials will keep their word. And when a leader like Weiner shows a continued pattern of deception and lies in their private life, it's only a matter of time before it rears its head in the public workplace and negatively impacts many people. Who a person is in private is who they are, period. Or, as the writer A. W. Tozer put it, "Character is who you are when no one is looking."

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Published 6-23-11