Thursday, June 16, 2011

Presumptuous Pricks as Weiner Pulls Out

News of Congressman Anthony Weiner's resignation earlier today prompted one of the most lively debates on my Facebook wall. Before I get to that, though, the nasty back and forth between the presumptuous gay guy and myself on a mutual friend's Facebook wall continued when the gay guy said this about me (misspellings left intact):

I bet you never once looked up his accomplishments...but yes, you Repuglicans accomplised your goals the usual way..dirty and with your high handed sense of perverted morality and piety. Nice to see your true Christian colors of forgiveness and let him without sin cast the first stone...I'll say it again, "Hypocrite."

I love starting the day with a good laugh! His comments show me what a judgmental moron he truly is, not to mention an ideologue. Its no surprise that ideologues tend to have an irrational reaction towards me. I've gotten flack from teabaggers, militant homosexuals, feminists, fundamentalist Christians, Palin cultists, and Kucinich worshippers. I'm sure my friends would all have a laugh at the moron if they read what he wrote. No one who really knows me would ever mistake me for a Republican or even a "typical" Christian. The fact that he believes such things about me, simply because he is having a personal reaction against my viewpoints regarding the Sexting Congressman, shows that he's not interested in having a real discussion or understanding why I have the views that I do. As I'm reading in one of my Jerry and Esther Hicks books about the Universal Law of Attraction, his view of me reflects himself more than it has anything to do with me. The way he called morality a "perversion" (rather than a sexual immorality or misconduct a "perversion") shows just how warped his views are.

Since he is proudly an in-your-face homo, I suspect that he probably faced a lot of angry, pious, religious peoples hateful and ignorant comments. But just because you've faced such hate groups before does not make me your enemy. It always amazes me when people go out of their way in an attempt to make me their enemy. This usually does not happen in person, though. Its always based on some internal projection they have based on what they read through a website. The problem with social media is that tone and the demeanor of the person does not come through. A reader's emotional baggage has more to do with whatever offense they suffer, than what the other person wrote.

The debate on my own wall was an example of how to do a controversial debate. No one got personal, made presumptions about others, or just started attacking. True, the debate went in circles, with no one seeming to understand the points made. Everyone was entrenched in the rightness of their views. At one point, I appreciated the irony of a fellow military veteran arguing alongside me about why public officials should be held to a higher standard while a woman was defending the Congressman! What kind of upside down world is this? Men harshly criticizing a male cad and a woman defending him! I have to wonder, though. She said that she didn't think sexting was a big deal nor was it adultery. Would she feel the same if it was her husband sexting other women and sending photos of his privates? I highly doubt that. Its amazing that people are so generous in their views towards Weiner's wife being an understanding mate who has no problems with his sexting with other women. Newsflash: Weiner's wife was no where to be seen in the two press conferences the Congressman gave recently (when he finally admitted to having sent out the Tweets and today's resignation). She was also conveniently traveling with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Africa during the most intense part of this sordid saga. No standing by her man during his most humiliating moment!

In the discussion, I was stunned that the defenders couldn't seem to understand WHY a public office holder should be held to a higher moral standard. Its not about doing private investigations into every elected official's private life and chasing them out of office. Its about the kind of character flaw that renders a public official incapable of controlling his impulses and carrying on with reckless abandon without regard for how his private life might be exposed. Congressman Weiner is a very outspoken champion of liberal causes. This means he had a target on his back by conservative groups who likely wanted to take him down by any means necessary. All Weiner did was give his enemies ammunition in which to take him down, which is exactly what they did. According to the news, Congressman Weiner is the first politician to have his career ended because of Twitter. As some might recall, Governor George Allen of Virginia was the first politician to be defeated because of YouTube (in 2006 he was caught on camera calling an American of South Asian heritage "macaca").

As my fellow military veteran pointed out in our debates with the Weiner lovers, such conduct would not be tolerated in the military. The military understands how one's conduct (misconduct, actually) can undermine one's leadership authority. Officers are expected to behave in ways that inspire and set the example for the enlisted ranks. Those who have failed to live up to the standard and find themselves at Captain's Mast could possibly be faced with one of the worst things you could say about an officer: "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman." If our military is expected to live up to a high moral standard, why not a member of Congress? They have a salary over $100,000 a year, with great medical care and a travel budget. They have one of the most prestigious jobs a person can have in this country. Each district has about 700,000 constituents and they get to represent those citizens in Washington, D.C. They are tasked with making laws and passing them, which the rest of us have to live by. So, because of the prestige of their jobs, why would anyone say that morality or integrity or personal restraint are not important enough qualities to uphold? To me, its like they are knee-jerking in their defense of the indefensible. They aren't really thinking through what they claim to believe.

As one who has seen moral lapses in leaders as well as leaders who lead by example, I can tell you that there is a difference. A moral leader inspires trust and confidence. A leader with moral lapses does not create trust and their own conduct will actually undermine them over the long haul. I know for myself personally, I have a strong rebellious streak and each time (in my personal life experience) I have witnessed the personal moral failings of someone in a leadership position over me, my subversive side clicks in and I become rebellious in refusing to comply, obey, or even mocking them. I've undermined two section leaders in Basic Training this way (one because he was being a tyrannical ass, the other because he wouldn't stop touching me after I told him repeatedly not to touch me). I don't like undermining someone's leadership authority, but whenever someone is given power over me, I can't help it. That person better have a higher moral standard than the one I maintain for myself, or else my rebellious side will come out.
Its sad to me that moral standards is no longer seen as important in our leaders. Its all about how they vote. If a person likes their voting record, then nothing else matters. If a person does not like their voting record, they go after them with a vengeance. I'd rather live by the principles of a meritocracy. If you've been given an honourable and prestigious job, you better live up to it or else it will be given to the next worthy person. Holding people to a high standard is the only way our country will evolve for the better, rather than the devolution that has been going on in the past forty years.

The above timeline is a reminder of the lies and stalling techniques that the Congressman engaged in for the past three weeks. His loss of credibility is due in large part because of a ridiculous lie he tried to maintain for a week or so until it became so obviously ridiculous that he could no longer sustain it.

As I watched his press conference, I was shocked by the hecklers. I thought their comments were unnecessary and disrespectful. It was obvious that Weiner is defeated, resigned, embarrassed, saddened, and depressed. It is a sad day. I felt badly for him and even I was sad. He's hurting and the worst thing people can do is heckle him with their juvenile comments (one man is overheard asking if Weiner has an erection and if it was over seven inches). There was little option left for him but to resign. The Democratic leadership was pressuring him and even President Obama was quoted as saying, "If it were me, I would resign." Of course, that's easy to say when its not him. There was talk that the Congressman would be stripped of his committee assignments. Had he remained, he definitely would have been marginalized and isolated. Shunning techniques are still used in some aspects of our country, and it can be brutal. I've seen it done in the Navy and I've always had sympathy for the shunned person (a big reason why I'm often the "friend of last resort"...I'll befriend an isolated / marginalized person, even if I thought him a jerk before others started treating him as though he doesn't exist).

Congressman Weiner should have read Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities. Its all right there: a media frenzy over a sensational scandal just because one man made a simple mistake that snowballed into other little mistakes. That novel is my favourite one of all time because of how perfectly it portrays human nature, society, and what happens when someone allows their morals to slip a little, thinking they can get away with it. There's an idea I've read in psychology / self-help books that a person who engages in high risk behaviours (especially with reckless abandon) is subconsciously hoping to get caught and shamed because their soul wants to be exposed and held accountable. Its a dysfunctional way to live, but whatever works. Hopefully Weiner will grow from this and become a better husband, father, and human being. America loves nothing more than a comeback redemption story. If Rob Lowe can find greater success after his sex scandal, anyone can with time.

As for those who think I'm a conservative Republican, evangelical Christian, morality-obsessed American Taliban...whatever! Don't presume to know people based on what they write on Facebook or other social media. Meet face to face, have a genuine conversation. You might just learn that the person you try to demonize is not a bad person after all. The Weiner controversy obviously struck a nerve with people. If anyone cares to know why I'm a bit of a moralist, its because I've seen first hand what happens when there are no moral standards upheld. It sets a bad precedence. More to the point, though. How did America go from selecting a morally upstanding person as our first president, George Washington, to not caring that a married Congressman was acting like a raging hormonal adolescent frat boy? Whose leadership inspires you more? For me, the only thing Weiner inspired was cynicism and some rather tasteless jokes. That's not any kind of leader I want to follow.

1 comment:

T said...

off topic - loved Midnight in Paris True Woody stuff. Owen Wilson was the Woody characters, exhibiting all the psychological insecurities that woody has always put in his films.This film is a winner.