"America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within."
--Joseph Stalin

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Exit Stage Right: The Sanford Affair

Will Malven

Okay folks, call me a self-righteous prig, an over-zealous puritan, or just old fashioned, but I believe there is such a thing as right and wrong and though I am a flawed human being-far from perfect-I feel entitled to call people down when they misbehave; especially when their misbehavior may have direct impact on my country.

The target of my self-righteous ire today is South Carolina Governor and until today potential front-runner in the 2012 Republican Party Presidential Nominee sweepstakes, Mark Sanford.

Sanford is a man who thrust himself upon the national stage when he took a strong Conservative stand against taking that portion of TARP money which would obligate his state to pay increased amounts of unemployment insurance even after the federal coffers had dried up. For that action, Governor Sanford rightly deserved the attention of all Conservative Republicans.

His name immediately went from being one on a long list of interesting but generally unnoted potential Republican candidates for the 2012 presidential elections to one of the few five or six names of real consequence.

Those of us who look at such things this early in the administration of a newly elected, but highly objectionable Democrat President take this vetting of potential candidates quite seriously and for this Conservative, Governor Sanford was a person of interest.

No more. As far as this Conservative is concerned, Mark Sanford's political career is worm's meat. I do not assert that I am any paragon of virtue, but I do know how to keep from becoming involved in an unsavory and illicit relationship.

As Conservatives we profess that certain aspects of our lives and our community hold greater intrinsic value than others. We believe that God and family are the center of our lives and are more important than career or other more Earthly desires. We accept our imperfection, but we seek to hold ourselves to ever higher moral standards.

Aspiring to and espousing those higher moral standards, we Conservatives are not wrong to expect better behavior from our elected representatives than the "average" Joe with a "mid-life crisis" or a "seven-year itch" or whatever else those who wish to excuse bad behavior call bad behavior.

We elect these people to represent us in our state's or nation's capitol. They are supposed to adhere to higher standard of behavior than one expects of a tomcat in a back alley.

Governor Sanford's "crime" is one of selfishness and self-centeredness. This is "I want it, I want it, I want it!!!" screamed like a spoiled brat throwing a temper tantrum, not the actions of a careful, measured, mature adult.

doesn't have an affair, everybody doesn't cheat on their spouses and everybody doesn't lie to the American people or live the hypocrite's life.

Mark Sanford' behavior is that of a spoiled, self-obsessed jerk. He didn't stop to consider how his actions would affect his wife or four children, he only saw what he wanted and pursued it to the exclusion of everything else...including his Gubernatorial responsibilities. He deserves no sympathy or loyalty from Conservatives.

This wrong behavior by the Governor is a symptom of our society in general and it reminds me of What Thomas Paine wrote in the first sentence of his introduction to Common Sense written February 14, 1776 (though he was referring to oppressive government, not obsessive desire):

"...a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom.

Our culture has accepted aberrational behavior as normal for so long that even people that ought to know better feel entitled to misbehave.

How a man behaves in his personal life is highly indicative of how he will conduct his political life. If he lacks sufficient moral compass to control his baser appetites how can we expect him to control his avarice for wealth or power in the public arena? In other words, if you cannot keep your marriage vows, how can anyone trust you to keep any other promise or agreement you make?

I hear my less judgmental Conservative friends out there saying..."Democrats do this all the time and they get away with it with very little long-term political fall-out. Liberals always hold Republicans to a higher standard than they accept for themselves." Yes it is "the classic liberal argument" but that does not negate the fact that we on the right adhere, or profess to adhere to a higher moral standard.

That's just the point. We are not Liberals. We do not accept immoral, irresponsible, deceitful behavior as exempt from criticism. We believe morality is important that there is a difference between right and wrong behavior. It is one of the primary differences between Conservatives and Liberals.

We supposedly learn at an early age, just because we desire something does not make it right or permissible to follow that desire. We believe in a higher moral calling than the vain, self-serving, baser instincts to which the lower animals are subject. We are not dogs to couple in the streets, we are men and thus subject to our consciences and our higher reasoning.
This higher morality is the thin veneer of civilization which separates man from beast.

Time for Mark Sanford to take the long walk. He can join Senator Ensign (he at least was separated when he strayed) in his political exile...a victim of his selfish actions.

Long Live Our American Republic!!!!

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