As long as there are politicians there will be political fodder.
As long as there are human beings there will be examples of people falling and failing and flailing.
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner certainly fell in the category of the falling and failing during the summer of 2011. Eighteen months after resigning his Congressional seat due to a sexting scandal, he announced his candidacy for mayor of NYC. Now six months later he is embroiled in yet a more recent sexting simmering scandal. This would qualify as flailing. It is as though resigning from Congress was not enough of a humiliation; pictures of his body parts on Twitter did not stop him, nor did almost losing his pregnant wife in a marriage debacle.
He now stands as a candidate for one of the most well-known and beloved cities in the world. He stands as not just a flawed candidate, but a recently flawed candidate. If we who have no sins are to cast the first stone, then I guess his idea is that he goes stone-free. Does he?
Hopefully we will not have our own sexting scandal to live through. But we will have some things in life to apologize for, excuse, or least I bring up the butter queen Paula Deen, ask for forgiveness. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as ‘to grant free pardon’.
Here’s the problem: I can’t pardon stupidity. I will leave it up to the Pope, the clergy, and family members to forgive transgressions. I can’t forgive stupidity. Not the Mark Sanford going AWOL for the love of his life kind of stupidity. And not the ”I am a candidate and I was sexting a year after losing my seat kind of stupidity”. Being stupid is not against the law. No one can be sent to prison for being stupid. However there should be a Stupid Prison. Offenders don’t have to be grouped with rapists and murderers, just other stupid people.
Five Things We Can Learn from the Sexting X-Congressman
- If you are going to engage in immoral, illicit or fattening behavior, lead a private life. Stay out of the public eye and most of us just won’t care.
- You are not invisible to the Internet. You can call yourself Carlos Danger or Ranger Danger it does not matter. You leave a footprint, or in your case Carlos a different body print, on the Internet and it will last forever.
- Pick one. You can do whatever you want in your private life. Or you can be a public figure. You just can’t have both. Pick one. The world would have been much less appalled if Tiger was not married. You can have 18 women or you can be married. You just can’t have both and stay popular over time.
- Your audience decides reality not you. Perception is decided by your audience not you. This is true whether you are a candidate, a president or a little league dad. It is not whether Weiner thinks it is unimportant to the city or his candidacy. It is not even if his wife thinks it is unimportant. What his audience, his voters think, is most important.
- In communication and in life the magic is in the WHY. Weiner needs to know why he keeps being stupid. Voters need to know WHY he is such a great candidate that the city can’t live without him. REALLY? Giuliani offered to stay on in an unprecedented third term after 9/11. Essentially saying his candidacy was worth breaking the term limit rules. Voters said no thank you. Why is Weiner’s candidacy important enough for voters to break the rules of common sense?
Somewhere in the universe there is a difference between doing wrong and doing stupid.
Read more posts by communication expert, Leslie Ungar, here. Leslie blogs for JenningsWire.