Believe it or not, there was a time when people didn't go on TV to confess their sins. That was back when most understood what sin is, before everything became excusable, especially for celebrities and the politically powerful.
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is on a media tour promoting his book, "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story." It certainly is.
On "60 Minutes," in USA Today and elsewhere, Schwarzenegger acknowledges affairs with women not his wife and the son he fathered with their housekeeper. He calls it all a "mistake."
No, a mistake is something far less consequential. Claiming you've been to "all 57 states," as President Obama said during the 2008 campaign, is a mistake. Does "mistake" best describe Arnold's behavior?
For certain readers, definitions may help. Dictionary.com defines a "mistake" as "an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc."
Let's pick another word -- "fornication" -- and consider its definition: "voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons or two persons not married to each other." It's an old-fashioned word that has fallen out of favor, but doesn't it describe Schwarzenegger's behavior better than "mistake"? If you prefer a definition with some moral force, it is "sexual immorality in general, especially adultery."
Perhaps the saddest moment in the "60 Minutes" interview with Lesley Stahl is a video of Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, defending him when he was accused of groping several women. Shriver basically testifies to her husband's character when she says she has spent more time with him than the few moments his accusers claim they spent, implying she knows he doesn't do stuff like this. Given Schwarzenegger's piggish behavior, Shriver's role as a character witness for a man who clearly has none is painful to watch.
One of the criticisms of the Republican Schwarzenegger when he became governor was that he quickly moved to the left from his mostly conservative-sounding campaign themes. He blamed the Democratic majority in the California State Assembly. So much for sticking to political principles.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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