What do Anthony Weiner, Bob Filner, Eliot Spitzer, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and Bill Clinton all have in common?
Think about it. It’s not a political party answer. Obviously we can easily swing right and throw out names like Mark Sanford, Newt Gingrich, Larry Craig, Mark Foley and David Petraeus. There are several answers to this question. One answer - they all had or have a human failure problem.
Thomas Jefferson is reported to have had six children with a mistress slave. How would that play out on cable news today? Ralph Abernathy reported in his book that King had a problem with white prostitutes and that a mistress was in the motel the night he was killed in Memphis. John F. Kennedy was reported to have had several affairs including one with Marilyn Monroe. His brother Bobby was also alleged to have been involved with Monroe. Roosevelt was accused of having numerous women in his life including a twenty-year affair with his secretary. And then there was Bill Clinton.
Jimmy Carter drew national attention when he admitted to being an adulterer during his Presidential campaign. He said he had committed adultery many times. He referred to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:27 -28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” I suppose a new translation of the Bible someday may say if a person has lusted after another person. It could work both ways. Carter was further criticized because he gave this interview to Playboy magazine.
I think there is a difference between thinking something and actually doing it...but according to Jesus human failure begins in the heart and this is what Carter was talking about.
Sanford admitted to an affair with an Argentinian woman. Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after being arrested by a policeman at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for lewd conduct. Foley was accused of sending suggestive text and instant messages to male teens.
It seems as if it usually boils down to sex but not always. Richard Nixon was run out of Washington because of Watergate and Ted Kennedy almost lost his political career over the Chappaquiddick car crwash that took the life of Mary Jo Kopechne.
In 1922 Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall was found guilty of bribery, fined $100,000 and sentenced to one year in prison in what is remembered as the Teapot Dome Scandal.
Human failure is rampant in politics, mainly because politicians are human beings prone to fall short. You may quickly name persons of unblemished service and there would be many but the problem with that is that you never know everything. Every human being is guilty of foul-ups, let downs and human failure. Even the Bible says all have come short. All means all of us.
People actually talk about the faults and mistakes of others all the time.
Granted you or your neighbor may not be running for public office and therefore you may feel you are exempt from life scrutiny. Just remember these people are human beings with a human nature and human problems and have the ability to fall short of perfection. We all have that nature.
Whew...I’m not slamming either party. This is not about right, left or moderate. Professional help is available and it’s not restricted to a political party.
Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and author of "American Issues" and nine other books. Contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or like his facebook page at www.facebook.com/glennmollette.