Voting For A Liar

Anthony Weiner has declared that he is running for Mayor of New York.  You’ll no doubt remember him.  He’s the former Congressman who sent compromising photos of himself via text message, then lied about what he had done and kept stringing out the lie, to an increasingly skepticism, until finally he was forced to admit the truth and resign.

He says he’s learned his lesson, and he wants to get back into the fray and fight for the people of New York.  But why would any voter want to pull the lever for a politician who showed such contempt for voters that he stuck to obvious falsehoods until it no longer become possible?  Who would believe him?

The New York Daily News story linked above says that Weiner may be a formidable candidate, because he has lots of money left over from his campaign war chest when he resigned from Congress.  I refuse to believe that money is going to cause voters to forget that this is the same guy who was serving in an important office only two years ago when he decided that lying to the electorate was in his best interest.  I hope I’m not wrong.

As far as Weiner himself goes, I think his decision to run for Mayor is pathetic.  If he had any class, he would retreat to a private life — but the pathetic thing is that he can’t.  Whether it is because he has nothing else that he really can do, or because he craves the limelight, or because he has a war chest and figures he may as well spend it, Weiner can’t resist opening himself and his wife up to intense ridicule.  He deserves it, but his wife doesn’t.  If he had any class and decency, he would recognize that.  That he apparently doesn’t recognize it also says something important about why this guy should never be the Mayor of a major American city.

Life Lessons From The Shirtless Congressman

Heartfelt thanks to former Rep. Christopher Lee, a Republican who represented a congressional district in New York.  By his real-life example, he has helped parents across the country to explain to their kids why it is not a good idea to use the internet or texts to send incriminating photos of themselves to perfect strangers.

Parents across the country have been trying to figure out how to alert their teenage sons and daughters to the perils of “sexting” and ill-advised emails.  To the rescue comes Congressman Lee!  Apparently interested in some kind of sad, extramarital fling, he uses a Craigslist forum to make a contact, emails a woman a photo of himself in all of his shirtless, flexing glory, lies about his marital status, age, and occupation, gets caught in his fabrications, and resigns his office.  And — most importantly for parents wanting to make a point to their teenagers — the ex-Congressman becomes the pathetic punch line to countless jokes.  This latter point is crucial, because if there is one thing teenagers cannot abide, it is being viewed as a pathetic joke.

We also should thank Craiglist for acting as a kind of country-wide weeding mechanism.  Any Member of Congress who thinks it is a good idea to send an embarrassing photos and have unguarded conversations with unknown Craigslist acquaintances probably shouldn’t be handling secret information or making judgments on important national policies.


I Don’t Get It

“Sexting” is one of those new cultural developments that seems inexplicable and very weird to me. Why would anyone want to send a revealing photo of himself or herself to another person’s cell phone, knowing that the photo could then be sent out to the world at large? Deep down, are people who engage in “sexting” really just indulging a latent exhibitionist streak, and secretly hoping that their boudoir shot gets posted to the internet?

This story discusses the “sexting” issue, quotes some rather dubious statistics — come on, have 18 percent of all female students in America really tried it? — and says the Vermont legislature is considering a bill to legalize “sexting” as between teenagers 18 and under. I imagine that the Vermont legislature will find more pressing issues to address, so I think there’s really no need to debate whether such a bill should be enacted. The real debate should be about why kids want to do it at all.

Of course, it may make sense to take a deep breath and see whether “sexting” becomes a settled part of youth culture or just a passing fad that stops as abruptly as it began. When I was a senior in high school, “streaking” was all the rage, and some kids “streaked” the last day of school. That was 1975; has there been any “streaking” in the years since? Perhaps “sexting” will meet the same fate.