It’s My Turn
Dr. Robert Angelone grew up in Rockaway and wrote for The Wave many years ago.
Let me preface this by saying I am not defending Representative Anthony Weiner’s contumacious behavior. However, that should be understood before voters consider whether he must resign.
Congressman Weiner has been a stalwart and productive representative since he was elected. Let’s not forget that, or that any replacement will not easily establish the roots, knowledge, or the understanding necessary to be effective in Congress for at least four years. If he goes and someone else is elected, be prepared to lose any financial support organizations that Rockaway depends upon, such as clinics, not-for-profits, and much more.
We seem to expect politicians, as well as sports figures, to behave like demi-gods; to be pure and chaste and to act in a manner we ourselves could never achieve. He, Tiger Woods, and others are human, with human frailties, needs and passions. To expect these people to be god-like is not only unrealistic, but foolhardy. Rather, we must expect that all people, of both genders, of all political parties, and of all religious faiths are merely human. Those who’ve been elected or who’ve excelled in some activity that puts them in the public eye must not be segregated from the community of human beings but embraced, understood and allowed to behave just as we would ourselves.
Persons in the public eye cannot just go out in an evening, as we might; cannot meet those whom they find attractive as we might, nor socialize in any manner that we may. Representing us should not mean that any rights we hold true should be denied to the representative. Our expectations must be real.
While I applaud Leader Pelosi’s call for an Ethics Committee investigation, remember that these investigations invariably hurt the American people and in particular, it will hurt Rockaway greatly. Every such investigation has not only caused disruption, but invariably has caused harm to others, often unrelated to the inquiry. We need Congress focused on improving economic conditions, not investigating Tweets.
People make mistakes and most often they do so based on emotional needs and frailties. Congressman Weiner made not just human mistakes, but political ones only affecting him, personally. He’s done no harm to his district, but if he resigns, and if the people of his district demand his resignation, the greater harm will be upon the people, not him.
We must also be wary of those who continually investigate the behavior of Members of Congress for their own political gain or personal satisfaction. Not only Weiner, but every Member of both the House and Senate work very long hours, and live under incredible stress that few of their constituents could handle. Having been to Capitol Hill many times in the past five years on economic issues, I’ve seen how difficult life is for them all. It is not a cushy job, but one full of great pressure and extreme personal limitations, most often unfairly.
While his actions and interviews were wrong, we must ask ourselves whether anyone else who may replace him will be any better. Are Anthony’s behavioral problems his alone, or are they the result of the 14 hour days he works, seven days a week in support of the duties and obligations to his district? Each of us shares in the responsibility and must bear the burden of his pain.
If we expect to enjoy our lives as we see fit, we must hold our leaders and those we admire to that standard, not one that is unrealistic and unattainable. Anthony Weiner must therefore, stay in office and continue doing a great job for his district.
Let us not forgive him his actions, but let’s forgive him the mistakes and ask ourselves what we might have done in his place. We must demand that Congress focus on important things like jobs, property value stabilization and hurricane mitigation, not any representative’s personal problems.