A Saving Grace

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jun 24, 2009 5:17 PM
It's terribly sad to see promising politicians like Mark Sanford and John Ensign ruin their careers with sex scandals.  

What both men did is wrong, there's no denying it.  If there is a saving grace, at least they have acknowledged it and have resigned from positions of leadership among their peers.  Mercifully, they have refrained both from taking the "well, everyone does it" tack and otherwise downplaying their misconduct.

Obviously, all of us are human and all of us sin.  But the fact that no one is perfect still is no reason either not to have standards oneself, or insist that no standards should ever be expected of anyone.  Even those who themselves lie should still teach their children that lying is wrong; those who cheat should still uphold honor as a worthy goal, even if it's apparently unattainable for them.

No doubt those on the left will have a field day slinging around charges of "hypocrisy."  But I don't see it.  Both Sanford and Ensign acknowledged that what they have done is wrong.  What's more, through their apologies and resignations from the RGA and position as Senate Republican Conference leader, respectively, they have demonstrated that they realize that there is -- and should be -- some accountability to colleagues and the public for their conduct. 

For that, at least, I applaud them.  It's a little too little and a little too late, but it's better than what we've seen from others in public life who have been caught cheating.