Yes, I’m from South Carolina. Yes, I’m writing a blog with the word “politicians” in the title today. I’ll give you one guess what it’s about.
Yesterday, our governor arrived back in the States from a trip to Argentina. He then held a press conference, openly admitting to an affair with a woman who lives in Argentina.
Go to any news site, and you can find details of the whole sordid affair. I won’t bother summarizing here. I’ll just give you some quick thoughts.
First, I am not a Mark Sanford fan. I disagree with him politically on many points. But my political opinions have no place here. This issue is mostly with his personal life. I think it’s important to make that distinction. (I agree that a politician really has no personal life, as he or she will constantly be in the public eye. My point is merely that I’m not discussing his political agenda here.) The only thing that really has a political connection is that he disappeared for a few days without telling his lt. governor or anyone else where he is. A governor should not disappear like that; he has a responsibility to his constituents to be here. Moving on.
I watched the press conference yesterday. Within moments, my respect for Gov. Sanford increased greatly. The man apologized for letting down his wife, his kids, his friends, and the people of our state. I believed him. I dislike the man, and I have a tendency to criticize him, but when he choked up and had to wipe away his tears during the press conference, I truly felt his sorrow and grief at the pain he’s caused so many people.
The man is human. He reeks of humanity, in fact. He made a terrible mistake–one that many, many others have made. He just happened to make that mistake while living in the public eye. He deserves our forgiveness just like anyone else. Are we so uptight, so judgmental as to demand perfection from an imperfect creature? If that’s the case, then we shall indeed become bitter cynics–everyone will let us down, and we will be so blinded as to focus only on another’s vices rather than virtues. (For example: during the press conference, several women standing behind the governor openly smirked throughout the entire press conference. How could they possibly openly rejoice in scandal and tragedy? )
Gov. Sanford deserves to be allowed to put his marriage back together. He deserves to seek forgiveness from his family, friends, and South Carolinians. I can give him that. And–shockingly, perhaps–after some thought, I don’t believe he should resign. This is a trangression of a personal nature, one that he openly admitted to before anyone discovered the true nature of his visit. Yes, he lied about his whereabouts, which is the only reason I see for punishing him politically. Perhaps that’s enough to call for his resignation, but I disagree.
We’re all human. Let’s rejoice in that, love one another, and not feel trimphant in the face of another’s tragedy.