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Friday, June 10, 2011

Virtue, Public and Private

A good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your conduct here may stamp your character through life. It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous.” — George Washington

Tonight I saw an interview with Tom Foley, the disgraced Republican Congressman, on the Sean Hannity Show. Foley resigned from the House in 2006 over a sex scandal causing the Republican Party much distress in the 2006 Congressional elections. In fact his actions are attributed to the Republicans losing the House of Representatives and the rise of Nancy Pelosi.

Foley has been silent for five years and this was his first public interview since he fell in disgrace. He had to retreat into himself and seek help for his sex addiction before he could face the consequences of his actions and the disgrace he brought to his party, the House and the American People. You can watch the two part video of his appearance on he Sean Hannity Show by clicking here.

A good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your conduct here may stamp your character through life. It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous,” George Washington once said. Unfortunately, too many of the people we elect lack this essential.

Take the case of Representative Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). Weiner got caught sending racy photographs of himself to women through social media. When caught, Weiner sought to weave a web of lies and place the blame on others as he tried to cover up his actions.

Any rational, thinking person who watched Weiner destruct over the next couple of days knew from the get-go that he was lying. And it certainly wasn’t a stretch to think that if Weiner had sent one racy photograph to one woman, he had sent some to others,

Weiner finally came clean and is now trying to save his political career. But we now know Weiner lacks the first essential in a man – integrity.

Weiner is just the latest in a long line of morally bankrupt politicians to be exposed — or expose himself. Such transgressions know no party affiliation. And they are a representation of the society in which we now live.

We are now a people who have rejected God: the basis for a good, moral character. We live in a world filled with selfish pleasure-seekers desiring instant gratification. It is a recipe for our destruction.

I have seen numerous “man-on-the-street” interviews with people in Weiner’s district and almost 51% of them believe while Weiner was unfaithful to his pregnant wife and brought disgrace on himself and the Congress they did not think he should resign his seat. The Washington Times reports:

“A Marist poll conducted right after Rep. Anthony Weiner's Twitter confession during a weepy press conference shows New Yorkers don't really think he should resign.

According to New York City voters who were polled, 30 percent said the lawmakers should resign while 51 percent said he should not. Marist then asked New York City adults (apparently not all of them voters) whether Weiner broke the law by sending lewd photos over social networking sites to various women.

Only 13 percent said he broke the law, while 61 percent said his behavior was unethical. Another 13 percent said Weiner did nothing wrong.

Weiner told New York reporters Wednesday he will not resign, despite calls that he step down by Republicans and Democrats and a looming ethics inquiry into his actions that could result in a reprimand or worse. Weiner's poll numbers could worsen over time. This survey was taken right after the press conference and before additional text messages were revealed, including one from a porn star who Weiner was coaching to lie about their relationship.”

Here we have 61% of the people polled in Weiner’s district believing Weiner acted unethically, yet only on 30% said he should resign. This speaks more about the state of our society today than it does of Weiner. To me is says that 51% of the people polled do not believe ethics or morals should be taken into consideration when choosing our elected officials. This is in direct contradiction to the statement of George Washington shown above.

These people evidently did not consider the lack of character Weiner displayed. It was not only the Tweeting of his photos, but his lies, his cover up and the deceit he engaged in. This is an indication of his character and value system. As long as he felt he could get away with his actions he would continue to lie until the story became so impossible for him to cover up he had to come clean.

Now he believes if he makes a long and tedious public statement and sheds a few tears of remorse all should be forgiven and he can get on with his position of public trust. This is tantamount to a rapist or murder standing before a judge and confessing his crime, weeping and then being released because he was forgiven. There must be consequences for his actions.

Moral relevance has become the theology of the left and even of some on the right. How many times have you heard the excuse when a politician’s hand is caught in the cookie jar that everyone does it. This is not a valid reason or excuse for unethical or immoral actions by those who have been given a public trust.

We are bombarded on a daily basis with movies and TV shows where everything is gray. There is no black and white differential between good and evil. We allow the killing of unborn babies because we want to give the mother “choice”, yet we try a woman who allegedly killed a two-year old infant for first degree murder. As a society we cannot seem to grasp the absolutes of moral law.

In a letter to Mercy Warren in 1776, John Adams wrote: “Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honour, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions.”

We must elect people who demonstrate public virtue. To do so, we must first be virtuous ourselves. Only then can we recognize it when we see it.

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