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Schoolboy Journalism and the Resignation of Anthony Weiner

2011 June 16

Since the revelation of Representative Anthony Weiner’s various indulgences and the subsequent schoolyard hysteria, President Obama, House Democratic Leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi, and a hoard of skinless Democrats have called for Weiner’s resignation. “Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help,” Pelosi said on Saturday. She continued with a bit of admirably euphemistic condescension: “I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a Member of Congress.” Weiner, apparently, has caved to the advice of the President, Pelosi, and his fellow Democrats, announcing today that he is resigning from office and seeking treatment to “focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person.” The allegation made by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair (and Nominal Mouthful) Steve Israel is that “Anthony’s inappropriate behavior has become an insurmountable distraction to the House and our work for the American people.” How could the private, governmentally irrelevant, and undeniably legal phone messages sent by Representative Weiner have caused an “insurmountable distraction” from the ability of the entire House of Representatives to adequately serve the citizens of this country? Only if a nation of children has elected a government of children.

It seems clear that Representative Weiner could ably manage a political career while simultaneously finding a spare minute here or there to send a suggestive photograph from his phone. In truth, this practice must often take far less than a minute to accomplish. Additionally, judging, as we can, by the photographs themselves, none of these minutes seem to have been stolen from valuable time at the office.  That no work at all was neglected (understanding that, at worst, a few complete minutes might have been lost) and that no legal boundary was even approached would seem to amount to inconsequence the scale of which should duly settle all of this nonsense.

Of course, there is the additional detail that this matter was exposed without context. It was distinctly not uncovered during an investigation into the Representative’s declining performance. Apparently, there was never any correlation between the Representative’s private indiscretion and his abilities in the office. That such tedious transgressions can be more easily exhumed presently than in more archaic times is no reason to lend them more weight. It can be rightly assumed (where it is not already surely known) that similar vulgarities have transpired throughout history, not least of all in our nation’s capital. These improprieties have and will evermore occur and as long as they spoil not our representatives’ abilities to conduct their work and violate not the law then there is no reason to adhere them to occupational matters. If Representative Weiner feels that he cannot serve his constituency to the best of his abilities then he should, of course, resign; but he must not be bullied into shameful resignation by blushing children who cannot separate acts of governmental service from acts of recreation.

Not all sex is scandal. If we treat it as such then we do a disservice to our representatives and to ourselves. There is nothing inherently “distracting” about Representative Weiner’s actions. That anyone cares at all what the Representative does with his phone is frankly discouraging. This “distraction” was carefully crafted by a vapid, gossiping media and perpetuated by a ravenous, infantile audience. If the President and representatives in the House feel so diverted by some menial telephonic exchange that they cannot commence with their work then I suggest they promptly grow up. If we are so carnally satisfied to read about the silly indulgences of a heretofore nameless Representative that we contribute to the maintenance of mindless, common pseudo-journalism then I suggest we do the same.

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