The entire Anthony Weiner affair saddens me. The man clearly has a problem. And in so many ways, he has been such a stalwart defender of us little guys that to see that those feet of clay are so very fragile is almost painful.
There is always the question of whether his apologies are sincere, whether he truly regrets his actions or if he simply regrets being caught. That is the case with any politician, any celebrity -- any person, really -- in such a situation.
It has gotten me examining my responses to conservatives who have been the subject of such scandals. My general feeling is one of complete schadenfreude. Of course, in many cases, these have been people trumpeting the need for "traditional values," so their fall from grace involves not merely immorality but hypocrisy into the bargain. It is especially galling when those calls for traditional values are also calls for taking rights away -- such as abortion -- or refusing to grant them in the first place -- same-sex marriage.
Perhaps they are as deserving of my pity as Anthony Weiner. It can't be easy to have to come to grips with the worst aspects of your psyche. Not to mention their families, caught up in the glare of scandal. And it does make one wonder: is there something about being an elected official which encourages one to at out? Not that all of them do, of course, but I would argue that the percentage of political figures caught up in scandal exceed that of the general public.
Is it because they have power? Or people telling them how wonderful they are? Certainly they are discovered more readily because -- especially in the case of such a visible progressive as Anthony Weiner -- they have a metaphorical bull's-eye on their back. (And one worries in the case of liberal politicians that one of these days, some of those bull's-eyes may become more than symbolic. The Gabby Giffords shooting was very scary.)
Maybe it is incumbent upon me, when the next conservative gets caught with his pants down -- metaphorically or literally -- to pause in my sardonic chuckling to give a thought to the real human pain that is occurring.
Food for thought, anyway.