Sometimes It’s Okay to Give Up 726.5

It’s seemingly impossible to avoid joining the chorus of accusers and lamenters expressing outrage at the parade of powerful men – presently led by Congressman Anthony Weiner – who destroyed their careers and credibility by engaging in sexual conduct they hoped to keep secret and then compounding the problem by lying to cover it up.

Serial sexter Mr. Weiner added still another dimension to his bad judgment by refusing to resign – something he probably will do eventually and should do now to save himself and all those entwined with him ongoing and escalating humiliation.

Surely he knew his confession would unleash an army of voracious journalists and bloggers dedicated to uncovering and publishing every lewd picture, note, or letter they could find.

What can we learn from this?

First, “When you’re in a hole, stop digging.” Everything the Congressman has done in the past few days has made things worse. The only way to stop or at least slow down the barrage is to withdraw from public life.

Second, “Never get into a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.” In the Internet Age, this is a metaphor for “don’t taunt the media.” In effect, Mr. Weiner dared every journalist and blogger to hunt down and reveal every tawdry detail of his X-rated journey to his private jungle of obsessive foolishness.

The final lesson: “When you mess up fess up,” and where tenacity simply invites more degrading attacks, it’s okay to give up.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 8

  1. Would be better if relate Weiner’s case to everyone in the general work place. Most think, “I wont get caught” Whether its sexting, inappropriate touching or talk, or getting too close to co-workers. Even the perception of these things can cause loss of respect of other employees.

  2. The issue for us when we have failed to live in accordance with our professed values is not whether to “drive on” or to “give up.” Rather, it is to choose between Hope (and the Honest commitment to a “New Beginning.”) or Dispair (and the Distorted pursuit of “The Way things Were.”). In the experiences of life, one outcome we all share is “failure.” We are frustrated because we are finite (we don’t “know-it-all” and we can’t “do-it-all). Humility is the virtue whereby we recognize and accept this truth. The imperative choice is between a value for Service (the fervent desire to be of benefit to others) vs. Power (the insatiable desire to control others). If we embrace the values of Service and Truth, we will still (inevitably) fail — yet, when we do, we will be honest with others and ourselves, learn from the experience and grow in “leadership and wisdom.” It’s a long journey. We must strive to walk a “Holy Path” and we must never “give-up.”

  3. This is first time I have ever written a comment on something, so here goes with trust:
    Now we are rationalizing lying. What constitutes a lie? People wonder why this will go before the ethics committee-did he use taxpayer time and dollars for his postings. That will be up to the ethics committee.
    I guess there is a different standard in Washington than we have in real life.
    Media asks if this is cheating on your wife? They don’t get it though technology has changed things its the problem of lying.
    I just am trying to weigh in with some of my thoughts, as I listen to how far the media is running with the story for them it is not about Ethics its about the story otherwise why talk about how the wife is pregnant????

  4. Here’s another example of one of our leaders falling into one of the many traps of human frailty, just as we all do from time to time. After so much of this kind of thing I think the public gets disappointed, cynical and jaded. Lying is almost expected these days–it has become a way of life for the whole society, and I think our leaders in government have worsened the situation. But it’s only right that we should expect our leaders to live up to a respectable code of conduct. I’m a democrat and for the most part I’ve liked and agreed with Weiner’s political positions, but if he were a republican I’d probably be shouting from the rooftops for his resignation. So I have to say, yeah, he ought to get out and avoid further embarrassment for all of us.

  5. What Congressman Weiner does in his private life is his business. I’ve heard that a lot. I agree, but what he is doing about what he has done is more concerning. Mr. Weiner has compromised his integrity and honesty by blatantly being dishonest … with himself, his wife, his girlfriends, and the people he publicly serves. He has proven he is less than trustworthy and that makes him unqualified to any longer serve the American people. He’s proven that he lacks the basics for good leadership. He just doesn’t have it. Like so many others, an apology was supposed to free him from his irresponsible behavior. He really needs to be accountable for his actions and start over by resigning his position. It’s all about cause and effect.

  6. I am pleased that you chose to comment on this story. I agree with half of what you wrote. I agree with the part that when he was caught he should have stepped forward and admitted his guilt. Sexting for him was morally wrong. However, he only hurt his family, especially his wife. On the other hand, when he lied, he harmed his reputation more severly than the actions he lied about.
    I believe he should stay in office. I believe he has already suffered enough punishment through the public humiliation he has faced and will continue to endure forever. He will always be connected to this story. I believe he can still serve the people who have elected him to serve as their Congressional representative. If they choose another person, so be it. While Rep. Weiner has made a serious mistake, it does not rise to the level of resignation. I am confident that many members of Congress are just as “guilty” of these kinds of behavior and much worse. The only real difference between Anthony Weiner and them is that he has been caught. I believe the majority of members of Congress do not have such behavior, but I am an optimist. I do not believe you should resign unless you have been charged with a crime, especially a felony charge. United States Senator David Vitter has admitted to much worse behavior and his constituents re-elected him. If Rep. Anthony Weiner is willing to rehabilitate himself, and his constituency supports him, then I hope he has learned his lesson and will be a better person with this second chance.
    Philip Henderson, Ethical Magician

  7. The writer “Ethical Magician” maybe misses the point of those calling for Weiner’s resignation. Though no law may have been broken, is it acceptable to allow Weiner to continue to serve when his integrity has been compromised in such a lewd manner? If a police officer, youth pastor or teacher were found to have done the things Weiner has done, would we be OK with letting them cotntinue in their positions [of trust]? Would such persons really be able to continue to serve the people effectively?
    How about this: what if 10, no, 20 congressmen were found to be doing what Weiner has been doing; would that be that acceptable? How about if one of your trusted co-workers was “caught” doing these things; is that OK? When does this kind of activity become unacceptable, Mr. Ethical Magician? Is getting caught the only ‘crime’ here? I’m not calling you out Mr. Ethical; rather, I’m suggesting that there is more to this story than the idea that no crime has been committed. Must there have been criminal activity to ask for the resignation of one who asks for our trust in the election process, then promptly betrays that trust? Do we want a congress of philanderers?
    Weiner can rehabilitate himself any way he chooses. Just don’t do it while at the same time pretending to ‘serve’ the public interest, Mr. Weiner. It’s not politics, it’s service to your country, Mr. Weiner.
    I am less concerned with Weiner’s personal ‘suffering’ (which he brought upon himself) than with the suffering his family, friends, constituency, colleagues, his party and his nation must endure because of his bad behavior. We have a right to expect more from our elected officials and we certainly deserve more than we got from Weiner.
    He should step down.

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