By Corinne Wnek
I have resisted jumping on the bandwagon that signals out politicians as the front-runners in the lapsed judgment department. While they are very well represented in the Bad Behavior Olympics, in truth, they also have a lot of company with people from all walks of life. I’m a ‘glass half full’ person and so I cling to the belief that most people are honorable, even politicians. But now I’m re-evaluating my philosophy.
There was a time when my jaw would have dropped at the hint of a scandal about a politician. But now, I’m what therapists call ‘desensitized’ to it. I’m calling it ‘Weinerized’. At least I’m not so shocked anymore, and that is proof of how low I have sunk in my expectations of good behavior from people we elect to office and in whom we put our trust.
It’s easy to criticize and ridicule those who, eh, get caught with their pants down. Maybe it’s because we enhance celebrity status so much that those who are in the public eye seem immune to the personal imperfections the rest of us have to contend with. And the higher we go, the further our plunge down.
Let’s take a quiz. Why do bright, powerful and married men with solid gold futures play Russian roulette with their reputations? A) They think the rules of life don’t apply to them, B) They don’t think they will get caught or C) Boys just wanna have fun. Since this was a trick question, the trick answer is D…all of the above.
The latest victim of personal indiscretion, Anthony Weiner, revealed himself to be a flawed man long before he became a politician. Power might corrupt, but it doesn’t force you to be stupid. You have to choose to be stupid and when you do, well, there’s flaw number one, bad judgment.
But the problem I have with the whole Weiner incident is that he believed that he was engaging in harmless behavior. Whether he wanted validation or gratification doesn’t matter. The anonymous intimacy he was searching for was on display for the entire world to see once he hit that ‘send’ button. He didn’t do sneaky right, flaw number two.
But it is especially disturbing to me that many middle school and high school students engage in ‘sexting’ just as Congressman Weiner did. They don’t see the possible consequences that they might have to endure when a good relationship goes bad. Like a high-flying politician, kids think that getting caught is what happens to other people.
We must never let up when it comes to teaching our children about healthy relationships with friends, how to protect their privacy and how to think ahead about the consequences of their actions. Sure, you’ll be nagging them and they’re probably more tech savvy than you. But they’ll hear you loud and clear someday when that little voice goes off inside of them at the very moment they are about to do something stupid.
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