A few confessions first:
1-I live with a guy that I’m not married to and have for the last six years. We have no immediate intention to get married. In fact, we just talked about it this morning and agreed that our relationship as it stands now is pretty good and won’t necessarily lose anything from not having piece of paper notarized by a judge.
2-On July 14, 1994, I was raped. It was a guy that I used to date and I probably should have pressed charges, but I was far too freaked out by it and I also didn’t want to put my friends and family through a date rape trial governed by Pennsylvania’s antiquated date rape laws, laws that required bruises to prove rape.
(In some states, that hasn’t changed a whole lot.)
3-If you’ve read this blog even once, you know that I swear. I also pull no punches when it comes to saying exactly what I think. While I’m always a lady, I’m not always, necessarily, lady-like.
And there are a few more things about me that might make your mouth hang open for a little while longer, so I won’t get into them here. Suffice it to say that they’re fairly personal things and some of them I’m not real proud of.
But while all of the stuff above is true, so is the following:
1-I mentor to the point that there are young people all over the country that have my cell phone number…on purpose.
2-Once I’ve had you in one of my classes, you’re stuck with me forever, meaning that you can come to me five or 10 years later and I’ll still try and help you find a job, get into graduate school, or do anything else you need me to.
3-I know the Constitution better than Sarah Palin, although that’s not really hard for anyone to do.
4-I work my tail off, sometimes to the point where I forget to do little stuff like eat and sleep.
I thought about all of this as I watched Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York join the seemingly endless line of politicians who have had to have what I call the Mea Culpa press conference. This kind of press conference usually takes place when you do something stupid, illegal, illegally stupid, or just so incredibly dumb that you should be taken out and flogged.
Now don’t get me wrong. Taking pictures of your body parts and sending them to folks via Twitter and Facebook is dumb. Real dumb. Continuing to do it after you got married is real, real dumb. Lying about doing it is dumb-diddy-dum-dum-dum. Doing all of the above when you’re a prominent Democratic Congressman who enjoys showing the rest of the world when Republicans are at they’re dumbest especially when there are folks with no scruples like Andrew Breitbart on their side is Sarah Palin-level Dumb.
But the fact that people are crying out for Rep. Weiner’s resignation kind of explains to me why folks the nation’s best and brightest are taking a pass on politics.
You see, the list of stuff I have listed above would indicate that I’ve had some things happen in my life that might be considered bad for a politician’s image. The ones I didn’t include would really do me in.
However, none of these things would stop me from doing my job if elected. But you’d never get to know that because that’s all the media would allow me to talk about.
And that’s kind of sad.
When you’re in a country where the economy is going to hell in a bucket, unemployment is at 9 percent, people can’t access health care because it’s far too costly despite there being a health care reform bill passed and folks are taking out bank loans to do little stuff like fill their gas tanks and eat, we need our best and brightest on the case. We need serious people with serious ideas that can turn said ideas into action.
We need people for whom a tea party is a gathering, not an excuse to take us back 200 years.
But because the media these days have become so focused on digging into someone’s life so intensely that all of your most irrelevant scars are put out for all the world to see, folks that would have made really good legislators, mayors, governors and even presidents are taking a pass on sharing their talents.
We don’t have time for our focus to be on whether or not a Congressman was stupid enough to send pix of his privates to a friend out west. Is it yucky that we have pictures of the weiner of a guy named Weiner running around on the Internet? Yes. But if I have a choice of focus when it comes to Congressman Weiner, I’d rather focus on the fact that he fought like a demon for single-payer health care than what I can find on his Twitpix file.
But then again, we also don’t have time to focus resources on covering the family trip of a woman so dumb that she couldn’t pass elementary American History either. But we sure seem to make it.
Listen, I’m not saying that the media shouldn’t cover the Weiner story at all. But hell, Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of the first diagnosis of HIV/AIDS and there was next to no coverage of that compared to the ink that Sarah Palin’s Magical Mystery Tour and Congressman Weiner’s weiner has received. I would think that since there was no money from campaign funds (or rich parents) exchanged to keep husbands (Sen. John Ensign), or baby mamas (Sen. John Edwards) from talking to reporters, this story should go away relatively soon.
Besides, don’t we have a flag pin debate, birth certificate hunt or other bit of stupidity for the media to focus on?