Poll of a Billion Monkeys

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sanford's Real Sin

The Glair - Sanford's Real Sin: the Modern Hubris of the Indispensable Man

I would have been happy for Mark Sanford to run for president. I would have helped to elect him. Done everything I could have to made sure he became President of the United States of America. Before this.

I fully admit I have no understanding of these actions at all. Maybe because for the most part they really are incomprehensible. Sometimes love makes people crazy I guess. It does teenagers anyway. But this is a nearly fifty year old man. At some point you grow beyond your immediate impulses. Or, maybe not...

This is exactly the kind of thinking and behavior that lost Republicans so many offices last time. With good reason. The idea that emotions, not thought and discipline and self-control should run the affairs of the individual and the affairs of the nation.

But if I'm understanding these events correctly then even after the trial separation with his wife Sanford ran down to Argentina and spent some quality tear time with his adulterous flame. Without properly notifying the people for whom he works. In dereliction of his governmental and political duties.

Yet far worse to me is the general attitude that Sanford seems to have that the political affairs of the state come before his own family and marriage. Now I firmly admit that I am the last person on earth to think that politics is the most important occupation in the world. Yes, I have been at one time or another deeply invested and active in politics. I'm about to become so again because of my opposition to so many of the policies of President Obama. But to me politics is not like curing cancer, or even painting the Last Supper. It just isn't the grandest contribution to life that one can make and to tell you the truth usually it achieves very little of lasting value. Most of the time that is.

However if you're gonna be involved in politics then you have certain public obligations to meet. Sanford failed his in a particularly inexcusable way. He failed his public duties and he failed his state.

More importantly (and this is Sanford's real sin) than even that he failed to understand that his time in office would have been of a relatively brief duration, with or without these series of events to cloud the matter, in comparison to the entire course of his life. He placed his political career (for without his political career the odds are small he would have engaged in this particular affair in any event) and his adulterous career over that of the importance of his family, his wife, his sons, and what that will represent to them in the future. In other words if your marriage and family were falling apart why not just put aside your career for at least as long as it took to make a course correction and satisfy your first, and more vital set of obligations before carrying on dutifully with a mere job? I just don't get this about modern people. They'll screw everything and everyone around them up completely in order to concentrate upon a public career that they will certainly ruin anyway by screwing up everything and everyone else around them. Did your career save either your marriage or your job-reputation Governor? How did that work out for ya? If you can go "hiking" for a few days then couldn't you have perhaps better expended that time productively working out your marriage and family problems? Hell, at least give it a try like you actually mean it. My marriage was about to fly apart at the seams about a year ago and I fought like a damned wolverine in a wolf-pack fight til it got settled. My wife deserved that much, my children certainly deserved that much, hell, I deserved that much. To try at least. You'd fight heaven and hell against fiscal and financial injustice and irresponsibility (nothing wrong with that by the way) and you'd take a separation from your wife and repentance from an affair like it's a confusing accounting maneuver you need time to more fully analyze? Or a psycho-therapy session you need to cry-out for good measure? Do you think you might have some fire left in your belly for your family man? If not then you think that maybe you should have stoked at the flame a little? You know you're not so crucial that the world can't do without you long enough to prove that there's something more important than what you desire at the moment. It's just a suggestion Mark. Take it for what it's worth.

I hope this turns out to be some kinda lesson for the wise at heart, or soon to be that way. (I'm looking your way too young Republicans.) If your career has doomed your family then maybe it's not your family that's the main or real problem Mr. Einstein. In other words solve first things first. If your house is afire then don't worry much about the slow leak in the kitchen sink. Other things you can catch up with later. Is that really brain salad surgery, or am I just that much smarter than the average modern Joe? Cause it seems to me it's pretty much like reading a grizzly bear paw print at high noon in fresh mud with the help of a old mountain man as your tour guide. If it got anymore self evident then maybe it needs to be published in a pop-up coloring book, or an alphabet primer.

I hope and pray that he will come to his senses for the sake of his wife (and I don't know the personal situation personally, but from her statements I think she certainly deserves better than this infidelity and betrayal) and his children. The fact that he cannot instantly grasp the full weight of his own hypocrisy (in comparison to what he says he represents) is just further proof that he's out of his mind at this point and it is his emotions that guide the autopilot. To paraphrase the ancients, "our emotions make fine steeds, but poor charioteers."

You need to get off the ride Sanford, and if she'll have you back then you need to walk home humbly, tell your wife you're stronger than a sixteen year old in mindset and outlook, resign your office (be a man about it, because you know you need to be, and spare us a well-earned impeachment Mr. Clinton, I mean Mr. Sanford), get out of the public limelight, concentrate upon your family, and remember that your duties and your obligations are what define you as a man.

The State will be just fine without you (God I wish more politicians understood just how really dispensable and disposable they are, their own opinions to the contrary) Governor, and you will be far better off in a state that concentrates upon what is most important, instead of just what is most politic.

Anyway you can forget my political support in the future.
I'm not gonna ask that my Republican representatives be perfect, but they gotta do a lot better than this one. That's just a given.

Get yourself straightened out and as far as I'm concerned, I'll forgive what you did. Not that that's important. You got a lot more significant people than me to re-earn the trust of.
But in any case get yourself straightened out now man. Right now.

You're starting to look like a little boy playing at being Tarzan, King of the Monkeying-Around Men.

Gird up your loins man, gird up your loins. Don't just sling em around like jungle vines for purposes of entertainment and circus shows.

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Jeff said...


I have had a successful twenty four year professional career. I am also still married to the same woman I fell in love with over twenty years ago and have been faithfully married to ever since. At several points in my career I've made choices that limited my upward mobility in my career so that I could do what was best for my family. At the time, those choices seemed like painful sacrifices. Now, those choices seem more like pitfalls that I avoided.

Our culture values worldly success so much that often the only people to make it to the top are dysfunctional sociopaths like Bill Clinton. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world but to lose his family?

Sanford was a good (I would say great) Governor, but his political career is over. The honorable thing for him to do is to resign. Three or four years from now, when he's gotten his family back together, he may even be glad that he got out of politics when he did.

I'd write more, but I'm about to leave to take my son to the gym to lift weights. He's fourteen.

El Jefe

Jack said...

I wish more people got what you get Jeff. Especially if they are gonna try and be leaders.

Lead by example and not ex post facto.


Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right about the choices and prioritization (or failure thereof).
My wife and I met on 1 August 1994; we were married 9 July 1995. From the time I met her I knew she was right for me and never considered dating anyone else. Like Jeff (the Sandman), I made choices that were career limiting. Probably the most limiting was the decision to retire... (LOL)... because when I explained about what promotion would mean, etc., for base pay and housing and retirement over time, she asked, "So your retirement paperwork is still submitted, right?" She really wanted me out of the Army. Can't say I blame her - I was away from home over 50% of the time due to deployment, short tour, field exercises, TDY as a liaison officer, etc.
During the year I was in Bosnia the Company Commander was joking about his issues with his family, and said his senior rater was HouseHold 6 (his wife) -- and that she had told him "You've got a lot of unrated time." Yeah... it was a joke... sorta... it was also a statement of frustration, dissatisfaction, etc. Once in a while it's useful for men to listen to their wives, and clue in to what they are really saying... especially when "joking".

Anyways... yes, a disappointment for the state, for the party, etc., but hopefully a wakeup call for the man, his family, and others.