Sex and Scandal
By Jackson Somes
If you have a television, radio, eyes or ears, then the name Anthony Weiner conjures a very specific image in your mind. Perhaps a very specific, bulging, image.
In 2011, Anthony Weiner suffered a technical difficulty that put an abrupt halt to his political career and tenure as a congressman. For those unfamiliar, Weiner, in the throes of a passionate correspondence with a female acquaintance, released a lewd photo of his nether regions to his public Twitter account. Although the subject of the image was covered by his undergarments, the thin veil was not enough to disguise the obvious subject.
It seems we are facing an epidemic all across this great nation. An endemic struggle against morals, ethics and personal ego has plagued politicians and public officials from sea to shining sea.
As a New York native, I sought refuge from the Weiner scandal in sunny San Diego. Despite my efforts, I was soon caught in yet another case of a sexually adventurous politician. I’m speaking of course of former mayor, Bob Filner. The man either clearly has no idea where the ‘sexual harassment line’ is or simply has no problem waltzing right over it. Filner had 19 women claiming he sexually harassed them by the time he resigned from office. Even though Filner would have taken the gold in the ‘Creepiest Smile Olympics,’ I hope he did not feel the pressure to live up to this title.
In recent years, there has rarely been a drought in political sex scandals.
Who could forget the 2007 case of fancy footwork by Senator Larry Craig in an airport bathroom. In a simple misunderstanding,h Craig attempted to solicit sexual activity from an undercover policeman in a bathroom stall at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Who can blame him? It’s an easy mistake to make. After agreeing to plead guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct, Craig then had the courage to refuse to resign from his Idaho senate seat.
Craig’s airport bathroom antics seem pale in comparison to the public debacle of former governor Elliot Spitzer. Spitzer’s 2008 resignation as governor of New York came after it was discovered that he was a valued customer and loyal patron to the escort service, Emperors Club VIP. This escort service is not exactly the laymans brothel you may be envisioning. No, Spitzer raised the bar for political sex scandals by opting for $1,000-an-hour services, and by doing so, added a bourgeois element to the field of political sex scandals.
There is also my personal favorite story of former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford. Over a span of six days, the former governor simply disappeared. The public, his staff, his family and state law enforcement all had no notion of Sanford’s whereabouts. When he failed to contact his family on Father’s Day, alien abduction appeared to be the only reasonable conclusion. Alien abduction would have been a much more respectable answer than the truth behind Sanford’s mysterious departure. The reality behind his vanishing act was a sudden personal vacation to Argentina to spend some more quality time with his mistress.
Maybe these politicians aren’t to blame for all of these mishaps. Political sex scandals seem to have become a part of the very fabric that make up our political system. If history is any example, it shows that these scandals are nothing new. From Bill Clinton’s romp in the Oval Office, to John Kennedy’s birthday surprise from Marilyn Monroe, all the way back to Thomas Jefferson’s alleged affection for Sally Hemings, his own slave, political sex scandals and American history are inseparable.
But we must consider every angle before we jump to judgement. How are we to know the nature of these scandals? Maybe there is some kind of bet among all representatives. Everyone engages in some ethical, sexual misconduct and the ones who are discovered by the media lose the pot. It’s kind of like roulette, but with more balls in play.
Fortunately for these politicians, it appears as though a sex scandal is not enough to keep them away from public office. Mark Sanford was elected to the House of Representatives in 2013, Elliot Spitzer made a run for New York City Comptroller and even Anthony Weiner returned to the spotlight as a New York City mayoral candidate. If Weiner is unsuccessful this time around, I’m sure he could always run again under his alter ego ‘Carlos Danger.’