Despite what Huma Abedin says, her marriage is the public’s business, because her husband is seeking one of the most powerful and high-profile elected positions in the nation. It is very simple: character matters.
Two years ago, Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress after it was revealed that he was sending pictures of himself (including pictures of his genitals) to women who were not his wife. Weiner admitted at the time that more pictures might be coming out. What he didn’t say is that more pictures might be coming out because he was going to continue exchanging pictures and sexually explicit messages for the next couple years.
In a press conference addressing Weiner’s continued lapses into online depravity, Abedin said:
Anthony has made some horrible mistakes both before he resigned from Congress and after. But I do very strongly believe that is between us and our marriage.
First, Weiner did not make “mistakes,” horrible or otherwise. Spilling your coffee is a mistake. Exchanging photographs and explicit text messages with other women is committing adultery. (Jesus said that Himself in Matthew 5:27-28.) If Weiner’s wife cannot trust him to be faithful to her while she is pregnant with his child and after he confessed his depravity to a world that assumed this behavior was going to stop, how can the voters of New York City trust him to use his power responsibly?
The message this sends is disturbing. Rachel Maddow (who I rarely agree with) made the following observation on her July 24 television program about Weiner and two other politicians currently mired in scandal:
Every moment they stay in office will slightly recalibrate for us as a nation the depths of shame that we are supposed to accept from people in positions of public leadership. Every moment they stay will further reduce the value and the prestige of public office as a career in the United States of America.
Maddow is right. She was also right when she followed up by asking what the next generation of political leaders would look like, if they are inspired by creeps like Weiner. This is not the kind of example we should be setting for young people who will be the future leaders of their communities, states and nation.
There has never been a person in the history of the world who has not done something he is ashamed of at one point or another. (See Romans 3:10-12.) The fact that Weiner was caught committing adultery in 2011 is not automatically a disqualification to him serving as mayor of New York City. The fact that he continued his depraved behavior after he got caught, and likely would have kept doing it had he not been caught a second time, should be a disqualification.
I am tempted to say that the people of New York City deserve better than Anthony Weiner, but if he is elected as mayor this fall, they clearly do not. They will have the government they deserve.