Thursday, July 2, 2009

Governor Sanford: Days of our Lives

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford disappeared for a period of four days in June. First it was reported that nobody knew where he was. Not his wife, nor his staff. Then he was supposedly hiking, but then, he appeared. Immediately upon his arrival, he admitted that he'd been having an affair with a young lady in Argentina. This began the usual mess by the press of vilifying him for daring to have an affair with another woman. It led the news, and the news crawl on the liberal media, and it led the news even on Fox News for two days.

That was followed up by the announcement that he and his wife were going to get away with their children for a few days and try to reconcile and heal their marriage. To his wife's credit, she did not stand with him during his press conference, as many of the wives do when their husbands are caught in the midst of an affair.

Let's stop there for a second. Affairs are a way of life. We have a divorce rate in this country of over 50%. They are not all due to affairs. It's easy to get married and easy to get divorced. If children are involved, it's a little more difficult, but still fairly easy to get a divorce over and done with within a matter of months. Even if caused by an affair, it doesn't generate much attention unless it's a politician, and then the differences in reporting are only based on which party the unfaithful one is a part.

Affairs and other marital problems are common in all professions. We don't hear about it when it's a person that works on the assembly line at a car company, or if it's the owner of the corner drug store, or if it's your insurance agent, or the operator for the phone company. In Hollywood, it's expected and not much of a story.

Politicians are treated differently however. It becomes a scandal. In addition, they are treated differently based on parties. The best known is Bill Clinton. But beyond the initial reporting, the common sentiment among the press was, "everybody does it". Republicans are treated differently. When Senator Vitter is mentioned, there is the descriptive "who had an affair".

There are exceptions. Governor Spitzer was reported on heavily because he prosecuted prostitutes and went after prostitution rings, then we caught with prostitutes. But little mention was made when he replacement, Dave Patterson admitted he'd had an affair.

Mark Sanford, however, is breaking new ground. The Press, the Party and even the opposing party don't quite know how to handle this. Sanford is not just talking about the affair, but he's giving descriptions of how his girlfriend was his "soulmate".

Sanford's three day run on the news for his disappearance and revelations of an affair were nearly over. In addition, it was knocked off the news with the death of Farrah Fawcett, then later in the day the drama surrounding Michael Jackson and his ultimate death. But he brought himself back in the news by talking about his soulmate.

The news now is discussing what his strategy might be. Perhaps it's not a strategy. Perhaps it is. It could also be that he's torn. But do we need to know this? This is for him deal with and his wife and his girlfriend. If it's interfering with him doing his job, he should resign. But, when your co-worker at your job is caught having an affair, do they lose their job? Do people call for their resignation?

The difference is that the politicians are holding the public trust. If they are not doing their job because their personal life is interfering, they do need to resign. If Sanford doesn't get his mess cleared up at least in the public view, within the next couple of days, he should resign in my opinion.

He was right in my opinion on his stance with refusing the so-called stimulus money. That should not be part of this story. It is possible for a man to be right on one topic while making a mess of himself in another area. But his actions in his personal life are taking away from his very good argument on another topic. If this continues, the state of South Carolina is not served well by the attention he is generating.

People are divorced everyday for various reasons including extra-marital affairs. However, they are not required to surrender their jobs because of their extra-curricular activities. It's how their reaction to those activities affects their jobs that should determine their further employment. The people of South Carolina don't need the leader of their state playing Days of our Lives every day.

You're welcome to comment.


No comments: