Temporal Complexity

Scandals and Sandals

We've got another scandal in Washington - the kind we love, juicy, sexual, tawdry, and polarizing.

And the Man in sandals walks among us unshaken, knowing what He has always known - that we are vulnerable and flawed and ever so needy of His grace and mercy.

Here is what we do, and this is not to minimize the shock value or the horror of young people being victimized: we polarize. We let the nasty news back up what ever position we have already entrenched ourselves in:

"See, I told you that all fibberwidgets (Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, political "liberals," political "conservatives", etc... ) were ignobilities."

And, if we happen to be elected to something and affiliated with a party, we will gravitate in one of two directions:

(1) Make political points from it.
(2) Avoid or minimize political damage from it.

And this is where the hypocrisy lies whether we were Republicans lam-blasting Clinton or Democrats roasting Foley. We take the sinless stance and gather a handful of stones. And if we happen to be related by party or ideology, we distance ourselves and change the subject.

All the while, this has absolutely nothing to do with ideology, party affiliation, or public policy. It is about human flaws.

Then we buy into the culture of cynicism and dehumanize the offender. For good insight into a piece of this, see and hear Judy Muller's commentary on NPR's Morning Edition this morning: Foley Alcoholism Should Be Treated with Care.

This would be a start: The "opposite party' keep its mouth shut and quietly communicate with the party of the offender that it wants to give it a chance to take the lead on the housecleaning. wouldn't that be something? Give the points away.

My goodness, that might actually be civil. we can't have that.

And the Man in Sandals walks among us and shakes His head.

We are entering one of those disgusting seasons where every opportunity for statesmanship is about to be shunned for good old fashioned mudslinging after which the culprits will try to convince us that because they wear nice suits and have titles such as Senator and Congressman, they are deserving of our respect and we should consider them intelligent and conscientious patriots. We are to expect them to respect us and work for our best interests when they can't even treat each other with respect, good will, and decency.

And when one of them falls in a big way, I almost gravitate toward him with sympathy because at least he is no longer actively assassinating the character of his opponents, maligning their motives, or labeling them with meaningless terms in an attempt to avoid honest debate.

Mr. Foley has done some awful things, but not because of his Republican politics. President Clinton had moral failures, but not because he was a Democrat.  Is anyone praying for Congressman in public? I am sure someone is, but I doubt that they are standing for election.

The Man in Sandals walks among our scandals, but is not scandalized.



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