Condit's disastrous interviews provide us a clear window into the mind of a serial adulterer. To act as Condit did requires certain habits of the mind. This is how sin happens. We don't set out to do something very wrong. We make up stories that sound good to ourselves about how the thing really isn't that wrong, or how it really isn't anybody else's business.
Before we lie to others, we lie to ourselves. Do that, and it can be hard to find the truth again, even when it is obvious nothing but the truth will do.
So there is Abbe Lowell, Condit's lawyer, saying that Condit didn't lie when he told Mrs. Levy and the police he wasn't having an affair with Levy, just as he didn't lie when he claimed he and a stewardess named Anna Marie Smith had no relationship: "What Congressman Condit was trying to say was, whatever their dealings were, whatever they shared, whatever they were to each other, it wasn't a relationship."
I think Lowell is telling the truth about Gary Condit's twisted inner state of mind. He didn't even know he was lying on national television, because he had carefully, systematically swallowed his own lies long ago. This is the way we sin now.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.
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