Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How the Mighty Are Fallen

By now everyone has read or heard about the fall of Elliot Spitzer, governor of New York. Spitzer was State Attorney General while we still lived in Albany and I have to say that I was impressed with him. He was a staunch defender of the rights of the general population and went after power people who were abusing their power. He made tons of enemies in high places. He was elected to the governorship with 69% of the vote on promises to reform the ethics of New York State politics. The people were behind him. He ran smack into the state legislature with both parties opposing his reforms and his agenda stumbled causing public support to sag. Still, he was charismatic and principled and some still spoke of an eventual presidential bid.

Then this. He is caught with a telephone trail of interactions with a prostitution ring. A politician whose career was based on standing against corruption and pursuing law breakers in the highest of positions with relentless determinism is caught breaking some of the very laws he had worked so hard to enforce. New York City papers are calling for his resignation with Newsday saying he "is either viciously self-destructive or pathologically arrogant, believing he wouldn't be caught."

I find myself wondering about that. In the church, we have more than once heard of very prominent church leaders being caught in similar sins and just like with Spitzer, they are often issues against which the preachers have railed long and hard. They cannot but know that getting caught would not only deeply damage their families and destroy their careers, it would damage, perhaps beyond repair, the work they have committed their lives to. Spitzer has just added one more reason to not trust politicians or the political process. All of those preachers have added one more example of the hypocrisy of people of faith. Any hope of reform was completely derailed.

What was he thinking? What were they thinking?

I suppose he'll need to resign. If he doesn't, accomplishing anything through the rest of his term will be next to impossible. Re-establishing trust with the populace would be the key and doing that would involve public contrition and public acknowledgement that he had betrayed not only his family but the hopes and dreams of the 69% who had voted for him. It wouldn't be pretty and would hurt his family even more.


Becca Leet said...

Sometimes i think we might be better off with the days of Dan O' Connell, he was corrupt and so was his machine, but everybody knew it and he didn't try to make excuses...

Hey, Roy, I've been trying to find your email and i don't have it. Apparantly either I or Andrea Gaylord will be chaperoning the trip to Estes Park. I would love to have a chance to talk with the youth that are going from your church, just to see if we're on the same page and all. My email is fraxillina@gmail.com. Would you give it to them and ask them to email me? I would appreciate it. Cheers, Becca Leet
P.S. Say hi to Cheryl and Alexis and John for me.

Toni Ertl said...

I wonder sometimes if people don't rail strongest against the things that they have a weakness for. Hence those that have loudly put down homosexuality getting caught in homosexual sin.

I also wonder if there is a spiritual dimension to this kind of thing.