Jumping over the lazy dog

or, taking the bull by the horns.

Love is in the Argentinian air…

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford: love affairs aren't affairs of the state until you peace out on the job.

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford: love affairs aren't affairs of the state until you peace out on the job.

It never ceases to amuse me that the private lives of individuals (involved in politics or otherwise) are considered newsworthy.  I’m generally of the opinion that if they’re doing their job, what they do outside of work hours is their own business, especially when it comes to politics.  That’s something I learned from the French.  Sarkozy’s affair with Bruni: gossip, for sure; front-page news, not necessarily.  Britney and whoever she’s with now can go about their business, as long as she keeps making crappy music that someone will buy.

The most recent news story, on the other hand, is a matter of affairs of the heart interfering with affairs of the state.  Gov. Sanford’s six-day absence “hiking on the trail” (er, that’s a euphemism I’ve never heard before) would be private business, in my book, if it weren’t for the fact that he’s a Governor, with a job to do.  He didn’t exactly take a paid vacation, or even sick days. He told his staff where he was going (hiking up the AT), but then ran in the opposite direction (almost literally – if you’re savvy enough with a compass to hike the AT, surely you’d recognize that your plane is flying south.) That’s not cool, to say the least. What if they had to reach him on an emergency? What if he had to be present in SC for a state crises?

I know he has staff, and I know that the world did not end because he left.  But no one else in the working world takes a week off with no notice and doesn’t have to deal with the repercussions of their actions.  Most certainly, no one in a position with that level of authority.  With great power comes great responsibility, and his responsibility to his position is to not lie to his constituents, not lie to his staff, and be available in emergencies.  All three of which were left unfulfilled on his little trip.

Most people (i.e. those talking about it on the Today show, or on the local radio) are up in arms over another politician cheating on his wife and are calling for his resignation.  Ok, that’s fine, you can believe that morally he’s in the wrong.  But what he should resign for is the fact that he didn’t do his job. Not because he was a terrible father (really, having a love affair on Father’s Day?!), not because he made a bad decision when it comes to his marriage, but because he was unable to fulfill his gubernatorial obligations during his absence.

In his press conference he appologizes to letting down his wife and family and to the “people of faith across South Carolina” because of bad moral judgement.  I don’t care about your moral judgement.  Sure, you’re a role model, and no, I wouldn’t want my kids to follow your steps when it comes to making extramarital experiments, but there are other role models out there to whom my kids could turn, and there’s currently (as far as I’m aware) only one Governor of South Carolina.

So here’s my request to both politicians and the media: If a politican’s hanky-panky doesn’t affect his ability to fulfill his job-related obligations, then leave him be; nobody wants their dirty laundry aired in public, and if he’s truly sorry for his actions, he’ll appologize to the people he hurt and won’t let it affect his job-related obligations.  Don’t give a press conference on what you’ve been up to in the sack, we don’t care.  Do give a press conference on what you have and haven’t been up to on the job – that’s our business.

Filed under: In the news, , , , , , ,

One Response

  1. Julia A says:

    Well phrased, Amrita – I agree . The bigger issue is that he played hooky on his job for a week. That’d get you fired anywhere else!

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