The culture of power unfortunately attracts more of those wishing to abuse the system than those wishing to use it for the common good. Governor Spitzer is just the latest in a long series of officials whose fantasies of sex and power collided with reality. He will not be the last. Future Spitzers, Craigs, and Clintons already believe they are more clever, more careful, or more indispensable to avoid the consequences of their actions.
New York Governor Elliott Spitzer has had his political day of reckoning; his legal reckoning still awaits. At least he did the right thing on Wednesday by resigning. In so doing he spared his family a media circus and allowed state government to return to normalcy. Many others have also pulled the ripcord when confronted with similar charges – Governor James McGreevey, Congressmen Bob Livingston and Mark Foley, and Senator Gary Hart. Others choose to remain in office hoping to outlast the public’s interest or ire – President Bill Clinton, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senators David Vitter and Larry Craig, and Congressman William Jefferson.
We are still left wondering why these “falls from grace” happen with such regularity. Spitzer’s own words provide some insight, “From those to whom much is given, much is expected”. Even in his moment of public atonement, Governor Spitzer could not resist elevating himself above the rest of us mere mortals.
Everyone who is married, regardless of position in life, is bound to be honest and trustworthy to their spouse. Every employee, regardless of employment, is duty bound to keep their mind focused on their job while at work.
Governor Spitzer’s lapse into aggrandizement gives us a glimpse into his psyche. It links his situation to all the others. Powerful men are quick to believe their own media releases and create a false reality in which they are indispensable to their nation, their state, their community, their church, or their corporation. Being so indispensable allows them to move to a new plane of existence where they can do anything they want and get away with whatever they want because they are so vital to the future of others.
Citizens and the media need to make sure that we avoid falling for the manufactured mystique that surrounds politicians. They are just like us. They need to be treated like the rest of us. There should never be a moratorium on morals, ethics, or the law - no matter how important someone thinks they are.