Larry Elder

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, in the midst of Clinton's crisis, went to the White House to serve as a presidential "mentor." Jackson brought his visibly pregnant mistress, and both later posed for a group photograph in the Oval Office. When Jackson's scandal broke, he briefly closed shop. But he soon said, "The ground is no place for a champion. The ground is no place that I will wallow on." Back in business.

As to former President Richard Nixon, few have fallen from so high to so low so quickly. He went from the most powerful person on earth to a guy ACORN wouldn't hire. The only U.S. president to resign, Nixon did so just ahead of an impeachment posse, with a conviction in the Senate a near certainty. After leaving office, he got paid for an interview with David Frost, wrote a bunch of books and gave speeches on foreign policy. He sufficiently redeemed himself, to the point that by former President George W. Bush's second term, many Democrats thought Bush's "crimes" worthier of impeachment than those of Nixon.

As for Woods, he once had a favorable rating of nearly 85 percent. A recent poll still gave him a favorable rating of 60 percent. And Woods conceivably could even turn public opinion in his favor if he continues to excel on the golf course. "My, what an ability to focus!" etc.

There are many lessons here. There is the silliness of considering celebrities, about whom we really know very little, to be "role models." There is the envy, sometimes, of the lives of others when very little is as it seems.

Fortunate is the person who can look back at his or her life and say, "I would do it all again, the same way." My dad once said that to me. Most of us mortals have made mistakes, sometimes too many to count. Some mistakes have to do with career. Some have to do with money. Some have to do with other poor decisions and poor choices -- reconsidered, of course, with the benefit of hindsight.

But the ones that cause the most regret and the most pain have to do with the treatment of other people -- especially those who loved and trusted us. We finally discover the value and worth of what we once had and failed to appreciate. And now it's too late. Good luck, Mr. Woods.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.