This week, I was working with a middle school class and I was asked what my opinion was of “The Weiner Thing”. Okay, I’ll admit that my first instinct was to make inappropriate jokes that were at the level of the student asking me. My second instinct was to make another, even worse, joke. I think my exact words were something along the lines of “I love it. I carry it with me all the time.” I told you, these are my first instincts. Eventually, I came around to answering the very serious and encouraging question asked by a student who hasn’t demonstrated (up till now) an engagement with current events. I’m posting a response more for the parents who might have questions to answer from kids who hear or see news (mostly accidentally), or who are force-fed a line by the government school system (it happens way more than you want to believe).
First, let’s get straight what this post isn’t about. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Conservative, based mostly on economic positions. On a personal level, I don’t like Anthony Weiner because I disagree with his politics. I’m not terribly interested in this subject. All that being said, the “Weiner Thing” is really about two separate and wholly unequal issues. One is incidental, and one is very important. Let’s start with the former.
-Congressman Anthony Weiner has, by his own admission, sent what are considered to be inappropriate pictures of himself to Twitter Followers.
-He has done this both before and after his marriage.
-He accidentally broadcast a picture of his junk in underwear through Twitter.
Those are the facts of the issue that are not important. See, Weiner is an adult. If he wants to display his shortcomings to the world via Twitter, FaceBook, or a Billboard in New York, this is his right and prerogative to do so. Weiner would like to leave this post at that, but then there is the little problem of the second issue, which is important.
Some More Facts:
-Congressman Weiner is one of 500+ people who make the rules of the Country. He should be held to a standard of ethical behavior and honesty.
-He repeatedly lied about what isn’t really that big a deal.
-(Pardon the pun) He was a real dick in the way he dealt with the media.
-He didn’t know the people he sent the pictures to.
This is important to young people because aside from the jokes and the overly jaded political ideologues out there, young people are told that they should trust those in authority. They should be able to look up to “officials”, and emulate their behavior. At the very least, they should believe that those in authority are smart enough to know that you shouldn’t send pictures of your junk to strangers, and especially not to people who may be under-aged.
Further, the Weiner debacle serves as a cautionary tale against arrogance. He might be destroying his career because of the way he approached the media, first in his lie, and later in his arrogance.
When further asked if I thought Weiner should be fired or jailed, here are my thoughts on that. I live in California, not New York. I’m never going to be in a position where Anthony Weiner will be on my ballot. His behavior certainly will have repercussions with his wife, the House of Representatives, and with his constituents in New York, my involvement ends at helping young people to learn to avoid the mistakes that Weiner made.