Monday, June 29, 2009

"You're not of the body! You're not!"

You know, I have to laugh at some politicians. Yeah, so what else is new? Some of them make it so easy. The two latest and greatest missteps I find of particular interest occurred in the past two weeks.

Most prominently are the recent chronicles of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford as he brings shame to his stature. Amazing, he acts as if his transgressions hurt no one--he is wrong, of course. He mouthed all the right platitudes with his tearful apologies, but he has clearly betrayed his obligations as governor, his duty to state and his voters, and most importantly, he has hurt his wife and his children--who he used to trot before cameras to enforce his familial righteousness. And yet he remains in office.

If you haven't read about it--or seen it on the news-- here's the scoop! He recently disappeared and--no one, not his family, not his staff--no one knew where he was. His aides told reporters the governor was out on a nature hike in the Appalachian Trails. THEN the truth became apparent. As it turns out, hiking the backwoods was the farthest thing from this man's mind.

Sanford was nowhere in America, not North America anyway, but in Argentina dallying with his mistress (on Father's Day, no less!)! In his confession, he admitted spending five days crying in the arms of his Argentinean lover, all on his state taxpayers' dime.

Yeah. Crying... really? Like I believe that. The governor has claimed he will repay his state for this amorous trip, but would he have done so had he not been caught? And then there's this, just days earlier Nevada Sen. John Ensign admitted he too, had an eight-month extramarital affair with a member of his staff. You really have to ask yourself, what is it with these guys?

Now don't roll your eyes, go with me on this one; in 1966, "Star Trek" aired an episode called "Return of the Archons."

The premise was not so far removed from the current woes of the Republican Party. The inhabitants of planet Beta III lived in a repressed society where uniformity of thought and sexual repression was the norm, not the exception. Except for periods called the "Red Hour," conformity was not only practiced but demanded. During those periods of the red hour, Betans went totally wild; their reserve of emotion ripped from them in total abandonment.

Violence against one another (sexual, emotionally or otherwise) left virtually no one unscathed.

What Betans found most frightening was to be singled out as being (gasp) individual... the words "you're not of the body!" could prove most damning!

This cry strikes me as nearly identical to the mantra of the Republican Party.

Now I am not claiming the Republican Party wears the mantle of impropriety solely. Lest I be accused of partisanship, I've not forgotten about the acts of former N.Y. governor Elliott Spitzer or 2008 presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards. We all know the Democrats have had their share of scandals; human feelings and weaknesses know no political lines, BUT the Republican Party has made family values the very mantra of what they stand for... and they have perfected the choir where their condemnation of anyone who doesn't agree with them is clearly heard, felt and all too often, punished.

What this really means is, "this is what we believe but don't hold us to it..." and of course, this is the Republicans' version of "don't ask, don't tell." In other words, "DO as I say, NOT as I do."

I tell you, any time a politician gets before a camera and microphone proclaiming "I stand for family values," I immediately wonder who is hidden in his or her closet, AND those who proclaim most loudly are, to me, most immediately suspect.

Back in 1998, Gov. Sanford (then Representative), who like so many other Washingtonian Republicans, stood in condemnation of President Bill Clinton when the details of his affair with Monica Lewensky became public. Sanford was on record saying the President's behavior was reprehensible and he should be removed from the highest office in the land.

Now all these years later, his words have come back to haunt him.

My question is why hasn't Gov. Sanford resigned his office? His recent actions only prove his hypocrisy as he has avoids the same question being posed to him. How are his actions any different?

These are the same men who work so ardently to protect the sanctity of marriage and family values. I think of men like former Sen. Newt Gingrich, Larry Craig, Sen. John McCain, and countless others who, at the very least, stand on shaky ground when professing their morals best represent American traditional family values.

The reality is, these are the very men with whom I want to share nothing. I question what these men are afraid of, and what do they think they are really protecting us Americans from? Which brings me to a somewhat related topic.

In the recent film "Were the World Mine, a TV news reporter confronts two lesbians seeking marriage, "What about traditional family values?" he asks. One of the two women laughs and responds by saying, "We have families, we have values!"

Yes. But obviously not those shared by they who feel they have the right to demand conformity from everyone else, i.e., "my morals are superior to yours."

The problem posed by those who loudly proclaim they are against same sex-marriage think those "nasty homosexuals" who have dared ask for the same protections represent values different then their own. The falsity of this notion is that each and every person is raised in a family unit--whether it was in a father-mother family, a single-parent family, a grandparent, an adopted family, a blended family and yes, even some in a same-sex family... so really, whose values are different?

Family values have been assimilated and ingrained from the moment we are born. Is it so unthinkable, so unreasonable that gays and lesbians would want to perpetuate those same values in their daily lives?

To me, what is most important is to lead our lives honestly, courageously and happily and with the dignity afforded us by our creator. For those who claim their way is the best way--the only way, act as bullies "with a toy" they are unwilling to share; they are deluding themselves and running away from what they don't care to take the time to examine or attempt to understand. Here's the blunt universal truth: love is love. Period.

And finally, this is why Gov. Sanford and hypocrites like him need to examine their own values before passing judgment on others. Personally, I do not believe anyone has the right to make people's lives here a hell on earth. You know, the lines in the Holy Bible "judge not lest ye be judged" says it best.


  1. Ah yes...Llandru knows all...Llandru sees all! :)

    I agree with you almost completely, as you know, but I honestly don't see this as a partisan issue. It's definitely much more apparent when people who espouse "family values" (or at least their definition of that term) fail so miserably, and it makes it that much more deplorable. However, I see it as a bipartisan of both parties have been caught in most spectacular ways in the past decade.

    I think it's more of a power issue than anything else. There are some men (and more rarely women) who get into a position of power and come to believe that they can get away with almost anything. I recently read something that talked about a new personality type, other than Type A or Type B: Type T, which is a thrill-seeker. Type T's are drawn to high-risk and high-reward jobs such as politics, and are prone to other high-risk behaviors such as affairs.

    I condemn Gov. Sanford for his neglect of his state, and for his sanctimonious attitude about what he has defined as immoral (same-sex marriage), while he dallied in the southern hemisphere, so to speak. But I can't condemn him for being a Republican. That was his political choice, and I don't believe it has anything to do with his subsequent poor choices concerning his affair. Infidelity is an equal opportunity employer.

  2. I have to agree with Beth on the notion of this becoming partisan, my question being that when someone who isn't of the "family values" stance commits the same betrayal of their spouse the seem to get a pass, and that party to seems to try to excuse the actions, and doesn't demand their removal. Like Beth said though, infidelity is defineitely an equall opportunity employer, and shouldn't be accepted or excused no matter your political affiliation. As a Republican I personally believe he needs to resign. I also think there needs to be an investigation of his actions. Let's face it, in a post 9/11 world, an official who lies and disappears to a foreign country is involved in highly suspicious activities, whether it be of a romantic nature or not should be investigated as that could be a convenient story for other activities.

  3. I think I make it pretty clear that I recognize both parties have issues in regards to fidelity.

    In regards to family values, I stand by my beliefs. I think the Republican Party is still stuck in the 1950s in regards to marriage issues. Until the Republicans recognize that families are not just of "one flavor," I cannot nor will not support anyone who purposefully denies a whole segment of our population, which is basically the premise of this essay.