Forgiven and Forgotten?
The month of May has been busy. Tiger Woods won THE PLAYERS Championship (I have no idea – nor do I care – why the first two words are spelled in capital letters). Mark Sanford was re-elected, with 54% of the votes, to the U.S. House of Representatives. Anthony Weiner announced his candidacy for in the upcoming New York City mayoral election. I am simultaneously flabbergasted and appalled. Are we witnessing a weird modern day version of Sodom and Gomorrah?
It’s at times like these that I wish I had my own television or radio show (or was friendly with Oprah, Ellen, Barbara, or the Three Stooges). I would invite as guests skier Lindsey Vonn (Tiger’s new girlfriend), Maria Belen Chapur (Mark’s Argentinian fiancée), and Huma Abedin (Weiner’s wife). Then, I’d line them up side-by-side and smack them up and down the line. And when I was done, I’d berate them and the people of America for being so morally shallow and pathetic.
Lindsey, I’d say, Tiger finds a port in every storm. Do you really think he’ll change his ways for you or is it that you just don’t care? You are professional, successful, and attractive. How can you be with a man who did what he did to his wife? To the public and golf fans I say…Come on people! He cheated on his wife and two kids. He didn’t just make a mistake; his sexual encounters didn’t happen by accident. He knew right from wrong. He planned and chose – repeatedly – to do wrong. Are we just supposed to ignore this moral lapse and forgive and forget?
Maria, I’d say, Mark was unfaithful to his wife and four sons. He used taxpayer dollars to fund a tryst with you. You yourself are a divorced mother of two. Have you no shame? How could you do this to someone’s wife? To the people of South Carolina I ask…Seriously people? He knew right from wrong and he chose – repeatedly – to do wrong. Why would you re-elect this man and allow him to represent you again? Can you trust him? Can you really forgive and forget?
Huma, I’d say, how are you dealing with Anthony’s lies and violation of your trust? Are you now monitoring all of his personal accounts and records to make sure that his tweeting, Facebooking, texting, phone calls, and voicemails are appropriate? To the people of New York City I say…Listen up! Do not elect this guy to be your next mayor. It’s time to hold people accountable for their actions. Anthony knew right from wrong and he chose – repeatedly – to do wrong. He lied to the American people. Show the world that you don’t have to forgive and forget.
As a parent, I know firsthand that teaching and enforcing the concepts of right and wrong are difficult. It’s a common fact that we all make mistakes throughout life and do our best to learn from and avoid repeating them. Whether you call them blunders, errors, faux pas, gaffes, or bloopers, they are a reality with which we deal. And, for the most part, the making of these boo-boos is not intentional.
When a mistake – especially one with moral or ethical implications – is made knowingly and intentionally, however, that’s an entirely different matter. How should one be punished for that? Is there a form of restitution that can really wipe the slate clean?
In our “personal relationships,” we have the right to determine how we’ll respond to abuses of trust or power against us. We can stay; we can leave. We can ignore; we can punish. We can withdraw; we can lash out. We can take the high road; we can retaliate. We each have different thresholds of pain. But, I believe that our “public relationships” – the public figures that we relate to in some way – should be evaluated on an entirely different scale.
Police officers, fire fighters, judges, politicians, clergy, and other public figures are supposed to have our best interests at heart. We trust them to serve, protect, and represent us fairly and honestly. And when a public leader violates that trust, is there any way to ‘unring’ the bell?
New York is a city of 8.25 million people. Isn’t there one “righteous” person who can better serve as mayor and role model than Anthony Weiner?