Should Senator Ensign resign in the wake of an affair with a staffer? No.
Is Ensign’s career harmed? Yes.
What should be done? Let the voters decide, next election.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, on to the more interesting question: Why does the left take such delight in a Republican senator’s personal stumbles? (A more dramatic version is now playing out in South Carolina with Gov. Mark Sanford.)
Part of it is just base, crass human nature. People like the mighty to fall — especially if the stricken is an enemy. If it was only that though, John Edwards and his alleged love child would have been front page news, from sea to shining sea, when the news would have mattered.
But it wasn’t.
Republicans are treated differently. Whether they’re caught toe-tapping in an airport bathroom or sending dirty messages to interns, Republicans receive far more intense scrutiny for their moral “irregularities.”
Unless there’s DNA evidence, and even then, a Democrat doesn’t even get the attention of the press. Drudge broke the Bill Clinton affair and had to produce a dress. The National Enquirer broke the Edwards affair and had to produce a baby. And still, the fact that the child looks like John Edwards’ clone won’t convince the hardened skeptics. Oh no.
The mother, that tramp!
She’s making it up about the baby’s father, even though she is still acting lovestruck. The facts will come out, eventually. They always do.
Contrast the press’ studied indifference with their front-page glee over a powerful, but relatively unknown, Republican senator having an affair while separated from his wife. Senator Ensign went public after the woman’s husband blackmailed him. Of course, the Ensign case reveals the problem with any public official screwing around — the threat of blackmail looms large. In the case of national security, government contracts, etc., a politician puts the country in danger when he has an affair.
Still, all that is not what bothers the press or the left in general. Part of it is, in Ensign’s case, personal. Consider this from the Washington Post:
Of course, the Post editorial page is none too pleased with Ensign for his trick amendment to the D.C. voting rights bill that would deny the District its right to write gun-control laws. “He claimed his interest was in gun rights, not in blocking democracy for the District,” reads today’s editorial. “If that were so, he might have simply moved to disallow the District’s gun-regulation legislation; he didn’t bother to try. More to the point, he would never, in a million years, strip Nevada officials of their right to write local laws or in any other way visit upon them so extreme a sovereignty-stripping measure. But then, what works for Mr. Ensign at any given moment is the only thing that seems to matter.”
So part of it is political. But mostly? It’s the … hypocrisy!
The equation goes like this: God Believer + Open About It + Sin + Republican = Hypocrisy.
Now if you’re, say, Bill Clinton? God Believer + Open About It + Sin – Republican = Virile.
The only reason John Edwards received more scorn was because his wife had cancer. But worse than that? He could have gotten the Democratic nomination, and had the affair come out after the nomination, it would have meant certain doom! Now that would be unforgivable.
Cheating on your cancer-stricken, campaigning, and vows-renewing wife? Unseemly. Sniff!
Endangering Democratic power? Too horrible to contemplate.
Back to Senator Ensign’s indiscretion and the media’s decision to make his, and any Republican mistake, front-page news. The reason Senator Ensign makes the front page is not because anyone particularly cares who is doing who — except it’s deliciously salacious, but that’s what Jon & Kate are for. No, it’s because Republicans campaign on family values.
Because family values matter to conservatives and Republicans, any deviance from said values indicates the greatest sin of all (but only if you’re a Republican): hypocrisy.
The moral of the Ensign story, if you’re a Democrat, leftist, or mainstream media organization (but that’s redundant), is to have no morals. If one has no morals, one can have no shame and can never be a hypocrite. An amoral person can also, without shame, point to other people’s failings because they do have morals and inevitably violate them, and so are hypocrites because they believe in right and wrong. And when people who pursue morality do something immoral, well, it should be pointed out that they’re wrong and that they’re hypocrites.
Isn’t being aimless morally convenient?
It gets better. The people with morals do feel shame for violating their morals and often feel compelled to excuse themselves from their positions of influence lest their personal shortcomings taint their professional career. If it’s a big enough mistake, the person of influence will resign and spend the rest of his days living in anonymity.
What’s better about the Ensign affair and any other Republican affair is that the leftist can feel morally superior — jeering during a time of another person’s personal failure — and achieve the desired result of having one less voice from the opposition with which the leftist disagrees. No wonder it makes front page news at the Washington Post. The “Scarlet Letter” is fun and effective!
Republican sex scandals are the delight of leftists. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
A Democrat can hire a prostitute, keep a whorehouse in his home (and one actually did), and there’s no shame. A Democrat can store $90,000 from a foreign government in his freezer and there’s no shame. A Democrat can experience tax paperwork “irregularities” and hold the highest tax regulating office in the land, and, without shame, talk about enforcing tax code. A Democrat can let a girl drown, cover it up, and there’s no shame.
What I don’t understand — since the only moral stand to take these days is amorality — is why the left gets so upset about things like gay marriage, abortion, and the environment. Since there’s no right or wrong, and imposing values is the real wrong, why do they feel right about imposing their perspectives on these subjects?
I mean, who are they to judge?
And herein lies the rub. It’s not that morals are wrong, necessarily, it’s that morals that disagree with a leftist’s morals are wrong. Only problem, the leftist’s morals aren’t exactly absolute. They change with the trend and the mood and the science. And really, the only function of the leftist’s morals is to serve as a hammer over the head of anyone who disagrees.
Again, what’s important is feeling better than other people. That’s why global warming as an issue is so great. There are a million ways to hector the populace with rules and regulations. A myriad of ways to censure and cajole. The modern leftist makes Pharisees or the knitting circle prohibitionists look positively suggestive and open-minded.
It’s not morals and codified ethics and lists of rules and regulations that’s the problem. It’s whose morals get elevated and who violates those morals that are targets for approbation.
Many Christian conservatives still view the Bible as the foundation of all knowledge, and try their best to abide by the moral imperatives therein. As a Christian knows and is fully aware, the reason there is grace is because “all fall short of the glory of God.”
Should Christian politicians (or those claiming to be Christian) abandon their morals and distance themselves from ideals because they are human and cannot possibly live up to them? Is the only solution to discard ideals and morals completely, to be amoral and unidealistic cynics so as to never fall short of high standards and thus never be accused of hypocrisy?
I don’t hear anyone calling for Al Gore to step down from his post as chief global warming (or is it climate change now?) apostle because, in his personal life, he’s an energy hog with a carbon footprint dwarfing that of hundreds of average American families per year. For a leftist, Al Gore’s evangelism trumps his excessive energy consumption and ostensible Earthicide.
Al Gore’s energy consumption would be a sin, unless of course leftists don’t truly believe that the earth is slowly marching toward it’s inevitable demise, but rather that the Earth will survive and their real aim is to control what they believe is the immorality of capitalism — a system where there are winners and losers.
True hypocrisy is trumpeting a belief system one knows is false, and violating it ostentatiously. If leftists truly believed the Earth was dying, wouldn’t they be living differently? And I’m not talking about recycling plastic bottles, because everyone does that now. I’m talking serious, radical life changes. But it’s not like there’s the threat of hell if a leftist violates his conscience. It’s not like a leftist has to fear being put on the front page of the Washington Post if he flies his private jet around the world to preach about the evil of American consumerism.
When Christians violate their conscience and the laws of God, it’s not because they think the laws aren’t worthy of keeping. It’s because they are fallible. They also don’t just answer to themselves, their conscience, or their spouse. They answer to God. And, as it turns out, the Washington Post editors.
What the leftists desire is to remove the Judeo-Christian ethic from the public discourse. One way to do that is to shame and name call those who hold the ethic and violate it. So that’s why the Post blares a senator’s “sin” on the front page. That is why Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter is not off-limits. The left wants those on the right who hold moral absolutes to be shamed into silence.
And it’s not that the leftist doesn’t want morals in the public discourse. No, not at all. He wants amorality to become the new morality. Or rather, he wants his version of morality to become the new morality until he changes his mind tomorrow about what is or isn’t moral.
So, should Senator Ensign resign? That choice is up to him. If he chooses to stay in office that’s his business. It’s his constituency’s business to decide whether to vote for him again.
What is our business, as Americans, is pushing back the fascistic attempt by the left to control the dialogue and public policy by using blackmail and public shaming when conservatives hold beliefs with which they disagree.
The solution to a culture where people violate ideals is not to discard the ideals so everyone feels better about himself, but to reapply oneself to the ideals.
Redemption. It’s a basic Christian tenet. And every single Christian needs it daily. It doesn’t make one a hypocrite to acknowledge it.