File:Anthony Weiner, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpgThis week, I was working with a middle school class and I was asked what my opinion was of “The Weiner Thing”. Okay, I’ll admit that my first instinct was to make inappropriate jokes that were at the level of the student asking me. My second instinct was to make another, even worse, joke. I think my exact words were something along the lines of “I love it. I carry it with me all the time.” I told you, these are my first instincts. Eventually, I came around to answering the very serious and encouraging question asked by a student who hasn’t demonstrated (up till now) an engagement with current events. I’m posting a response more for the parents who might have questions to answer from kids who hear or see news (mostly accidentally), or who are force-fed a line by the government school system (it happens way more than you want to believe).

First, let’s get straight what this post isn’t about. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Conservative, based mostly on economic positions. On a personal level, I don’t like Anthony Weiner because I disagree with his politics. I’m not terribly interested in this subject. All that being said, the “Weiner Thing” is really about two separate and wholly unequal issues. One is incidental, and one is very important. Let’s start with the former.

The Facts:

-Congressman Anthony Weiner has, by his own admission, sent what are considered to be inappropriate pictures of himself to Twitter Followers.

-He has done this both before and after his marriage.

-He accidentally broadcast a picture of his junk in underwear through Twitter.

Those are the facts of the issue that are not important. See, Weiner is an adult. If he wants to display his shortcomings to the world via Twitter, FaceBook, or a Billboard in New York, this is his right and prerogative to do so. Weiner would like to leave this post at that, but then there is the little problem of the second issue, which is important.

Some More Facts:

-Congressman Weiner is one of 500+ people who make the rules of the Country. He should be held to a standard of ethical behavior and honesty.

-He repeatedly lied about what isn’t really that big a deal.

-(Pardon the pun) He was a real dick in the way he dealt with the media.

-He didn’t know the people he sent the pictures to.

This is important to young people because aside from the jokes and the overly jaded political ideologues out there, young people are told that they should trust those in authority. They should be able to look up to “officials”, and emulate their behavior. At the very least, they should believe that those in authority are smart enough to know that you shouldn’t send pictures of your junk to strangers, and especially not to people who may be under-aged.

Further, the Weiner debacle serves as a cautionary tale against arrogance. He might be destroying his career because of the way he approached the media, first in his lie, and later in his arrogance.

When further asked if I thought Weiner should be fired or jailed, here are my thoughts on that. I live in California, not New York. I’m never going to be in a position where Anthony Weiner will be on my ballot. His behavior certainly will have repercussions with his wife, the House of Representatives, and with his constituents in New York, my involvement ends at helping young people to learn to avoid the mistakes that Weiner made.

 

 

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Comments
  1. Sarah Bonner says:

    I really think that Weiner got put in the “spotlight” for so due to his unfortunate name, and the controversial nature of his politics (he is one of the more out-spoken liberals who has tackled opponents on the right in a charismatic way, instead of acting like he was a 90 year old lawyer). The truth is, this kind of “Thing” has become extremely common amongst legislators — from Congressmen all the way down to village mayors.

    We have a LOT of rules and regulations in our government dictating who can run for office in this country — but we seem to have very few that actually deal with ethics. For example, we actually have no recourse or rules for politicians who overtly lie on the campaign trail. In England, being caught in an flat-out lie is grounds for immediate impeachment. We have no rules designed to limit mudslinging and character assassination, avoidance of issues, or misdirection of information to the public. For example, opposing Obama’s health care plan by saying the bill set up actual “death panels” or, more recently, Trump’s declaration that he had found something ‘very interesting’ about Obama — the suggestion, had he actually been running, would have been incredibly unethical because it’s a statement designed to “trick” the public into believing there’s something shady going on. We also have no rules in place to impeach officials who have behaved in very destructive ways — such as taking veiled bribes or misusing funds. (( One needs only look up Louisiana’s governors from the past 10 to 15 years to understand what I mean. ))

    Now, I’m not suggesting we make it a punishable law to be a douchebag who sends out weiner pics on the net or talking crap about your opponent, but we do need a better system for dealing with unethical politicians.

    • Wil says:

      @Sarah:

      Thank you for the extremely well-thought comment! I think that many of the issues you brought up have been going on so long on both sides that they seem commonplace. One side of me sits back and sighs because that is the game and this is the world we live itn. My concern HERE is about how this impacts young people, and it really angers me that politicians aren’t role models. I think it says a lot about us as a society that we would allow someone to make the rules by which we live, when we wouldn’t want our children living like the rulemaker.

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