Anthony Weiner – Congressman – NY (D) – Resigned
David Vitter – Senator – LA (R) – Stayed in office
John Ensign – Senator – NV (R) – Resigned
John Boehner – Congressman – OH (R) – Stayed in office
John Edwards – Senator – NC (D) – Ended Presidential bid
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Governor – CA (R) – Already out of office
Jim McGreevy – Governor – NJ (R) – Resigned
Mark Foley – Congressman – FL (R) – Resigned
Larry Craig – Senator – ID (R) – Stayed in office
Eliot Spitzer – Governor – NY (D) – Resigned
Mark Sanford – Governor – SC (R) – Stayed in office
Eric Massa – Congressman – NY (D) – Resigned
Chris Lee – Congressman – NY (R) – Resigned
This is just a recent list of politicians who have been in the media for scandals/illegal acts/general wrong-doing. It is an incomplete list, but it is an example of politicians being human, having the same clay feet as the rest of us.
What is the difference between them and the rest of us, you may ask? Most of us wouldn’t think of doing half of the things they have done. Why then did they do it?
It may come down to something as simple as “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It may come down to a moral justification, come to in a haze of excessive egotism. It may also be that each one of them, thought what they were doing was not wrong, at least, not wrong for someone in their position.
They all didn’t start out as people whose ambition was to gain a high office and abuse their power. At some point, each and every one of them entered into this trying to do good for others. Others who did not have either the voice or means to help themselves and others like them.
I don’t sit here and write this shocked and horrified at the things they have done. All one has to do is open any newspaper and read about these things happening in every day America.
I do sit here and wonder though. Wonder at what point things changed for them. What prompted each of them to throw away the ideals that brought them to where they were? What change in their make-up and their belief system happened to allow them for one moment think that what they were about to do wasn’t a betrayal to their office, their constituents?
When something like this happens, Americans upon hearing the news will stop for a moment and inevitably there is a question that comes to mind for each of us. We think “how could those people vote for him?” Didn’t those people in (insert the name of the city and/or state here) know what he was?
That is the problem. When they ran their ideal and for the most part their egos were still in check. What is it about politics that turns servants of the people into forgetful criminals, or at the very least, forgetful?