Earlier today, New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner confessed that he did, in fact, tweet pictures of his underwear-clad bulge to a woman. He also confessed to more “inappropriate” (but seemingly consensual) internet exchanges with other women, though he never met any of these women, he didn’t know their names, he hasn’t had sex with anyone outside of his marriage, etc.
If I were his wife, I’d probably be pretty angry that my husband was tweeting such pictures to strangers on the internet and then lied about it, but as a U.S. citizen, I don’t care. I’ve blogged about this before, I just don’t want to know about any of this. Weiner is not my representative, but even if he were, I can’t see why this matters. I’m pretty sure that lewd tweeting doesn’t violate any part of the job description of being in Congress.
Our representatives and senators are all civil servants. Their job is to represent the views of their constituents when making laws. They might have their hands in the pockets of lobbyists and big business, and there may be way too much partisanship in politics for our government to actually function this way, but that’s what their job is – to represent the voters’ views on political issues.
They aren’t supposed to be moral figures, and even if they were, the American public has weird ideas about what constitutes a moral violation anyway. We sit back while they sling mud, lie for votes, take bribes, spend excessively, grow over-inflated egos and spew self-righteousness, but the only thing that ever stops them is “sex scandals.” (Case in point.) I have already seen blogs popping up about whether or not Rep. Weiner will be re-elected, if his career is over, etc.
Of course, this is also a media issue. Sex sells and “scandal” sells and so that’s what we are inundated with in the headlines, having to dig deeper to read stories about actual issues that affect us lowly citizens.
Yes, when you are in the public eye, it is dumb to tweet semi-naked pictures of yourself to strangers, but if we’re going to condemn public figures for their immorality, shouldn’t we also condemn them for greed? Or misanthropy? Or, dare I say, vanity?