Weinergate: Is there a moral line leaders cannot cross?

https://readthespirit.com/ourvalues/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2013/03/wpid-0613_Rep_Anthony_Weiner_Weinergate.jpgThere’s nothing like a good scandal, especially one that involves sex, to distract Washington’s attention from the big issues. And, like any good scandal, the one involving New York Rep. Anthony Weiner reveals more twists and turns as the story unfolds. We learn that this case involves more than a single incident. Party leaders on both sides call for his resignation. Weiner asks for a leave of absence and enters treatment.

Originally, I wasn’t going to write about this scandal, but then I realized the story isn’t really about Weiner. Beneath the surface there are questions about values that transcend this specific incident.

One central question: Is there a moral line our leaders cannot cross and remain successful public figures? How do we draw such lines these days?

The revelations in the Weiner case may not be over—but think about others who have bounced back: The Rev. Jesse Jackson bounced back as a national political figure after news in 2001 of an affair that produced a child. Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is back in the spotlight as a political columnist and TV commentator after a 2008 revelation of his involvement with prostitutes. And then there’s Tiger Woods, who seems to want to continue his competitive career after a long string of revelations in 2009-2010.

TODAY, tell us: How should we weigh Rep. Weiner’s hope to stay in office?

What values should we consider? How about the views of his constituents? A new poll of Queens and Brooklyn indicates that a majority wants him to stay; only a third wants him to resign.

This scandal already has had the “… gate” slapped on it by publications from the Huffington Post to the National Review. Of course, that’s a link to the original Watergate scandal—but did you know there are over 100 cases in the political, business and sports worlds that have the suffix “gate” attached to them? As we’ll see tomorrow, there are rhetorical and sociological reasons why “gate” is so easily attached to names of scandals. Weinergate is merely the most recent.

What do you think of Weinergate?

If you think he should resign—how do you draw that conclusion?

If you think he should remain—how do you draw that conclusion?

Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.

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