I’ll confess up front… I have broken more than one of the Ten Commandments, and several minor local laws as well. Nothing that ever did any long-term damage to anybody – except perhaps for the dark spots these transgressions have left on my own soul and a couple hundred dollars in traffic fines.
And I’d bet good cash money that there is not one person among you who are reading this who could confidently say that they have not done the same. Unless Jesus Himself subscribes to TheWriteAmerica…
Thus, sinners that we all are, we should be careful not to cast stones at others who, when you get right down to it, are just as human as we are.
The fact is, however, that despite our personal sins, we are all nonetheless stone throwers who measure up the sins of others and choose a jagged projectile with which to gash their flesh and draw blood, figuratively speaking, I hope. We shouldn’t do it – “do not judge lest ye be judged” and all that – but we do it anyway.
However, when it comes to the sins of our politicians, perhaps us sinners should sometimes throw a stone or two, at least at the voting booth. After all, we don’t want liars and crooks sitting in the seats of power, do we?
In most cases, sadly, cowards that we are, we hope that the media and shame will do our work for us and the sinful candidate caught with his hand in the cookie jar will drop out of the race. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, and we then turn a blind eye and pull the lever for the candidate who should be too ashamed to pop his or her head out of the sand, let alone climb into the public spotlight.
The most recent case of the “shameful sinner” comes from my own party – newly elected Congressman Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Let me be clear up front: I generally do like Sanford’s politics and policies, and I treasure another Republican voice and vote in the House of Representatives. But Sanford is a liar and an adulterer, who had to be caught red-handed before he would even consider confession and contrition. He heinously broke the trust of the one person whose trust he should never have broken, his wife. And he broke faith with the people of South Carolina by lying about it to their faces and using their tax money to fund his international affair.
To me, these are actions that we as also flawed people must forgive, especially after confession and contrition, but I don’t think as voters we should ever forget them. Quite frankly, are you telling me that South Carolina could not produce a Conservative/Republican who had not violated his core vows to wife and voter? That is a sad statement to make, indeed.
But lest the Democrats gloat too much, let them not forget Ted Kennedy. They continually re-elected this alcoholic for decades after he left what may have been his adulterous girlfriend (we do not know the truth on that) to die at the bottom of a lake (that we do know that for sure, despite his home state’s failure to bring charges against him or his pals in the Senate to censure him as he should have been).
If I were John Edwards or Gary Hart, I’d be thinking to myself about now “hey, why did I have to drop out of politics if Sanford and Kennedy – and who was that one President caught with his hands on the wrong body and then lied straight to all of our faces – didn’t?”
And the sins do not stop with adultery and lying.
There’s Charles Rangel who misappropriated funds, and yet still represents his neighborhood in the House.
And Marion Barry, who despite drug addiction and perjury is still trusted to help run the city of Washington, D.C.
Not to mention the insider trading and money manipulation by politicians such as Spencer Bachus, Diane Feinstein, John Kerry, Dick Durbin, and Jim Moran.
Now let me be clear again – I am all for redemption, forgiveness, and second chances. But that does not mean I am ready to forget what a person did that required redemption and forgiveness. I’m not advocating all-out lifelong shunning of a person for their sins. What I am advocating is not putting them right back into the halls of power that either corrupted their hearts or drew out some dark part of their personality.
Forgive – sure! But give them the keys to the kingdom? That’s just pure foolishness.