Weiner’s Disgrace Complete, But Empathy Still Warranted

A Personal Perspective

Once upon what seems a very long time ago now, Anthony Weiner was one of the most promising politicians in New York.

He was brash, intelligent, ambitious and loved the camera. But then, in 2011, the respected congressman torpedoed his own career by inadvertently sending an X-rated photo of himself, not only to a woman with whom he had been “sexting,” but to his extensive list of contacts.

At first, Weiner announced that his account had been hacked—and then was forced to backtrack and confess that, in fact, the “member” that had been sent actually belonged to him.

Succumbing to mounting pressure that he give up his congressional seat, Weiner resigned and went home to his wife—Huma Abedin, a Hillary Clinton staffer.

Less than two years later, he started testing the waters for a mayoral run, an ambition that he had nurtured for years—and threw his hat into the 2013 race. It was going surprisingly well for Weiner until a new sexting partner emerged and said that he had sexted with her after resigning from Congress and up to the time of his announcement for the mayoral race.

Once again, Weiner had let down his family and those who supported his political come-back. He limped on in the mayoral race to the bitter end, while Bill de Blasio took the lead and is now living Weiner’s dream.

You would think that all this disgrace and trouble would stop the compulsive sharing of his most private of parts and thoughts. But not Weiner—late last year, it was revealed that he had been sexting with a 15-year-old girl, across state lines no less.

That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Last week, Weiner confessed to “transferring sexual materials to a minor.” That guilty plea means that he will now have to register as a sex offender and is facing up to two years in jail when he is sentenced later this year.

His disgrace is complete.

With his own hands and twisted mind, this once thriving politician has done more damage to himself than anyone else could ever have thought to do. As he told the judge at his hearing, “I have a sickness, but I don’t have an excuse.”

Clearly, as he pointed out, he has a sickness. But good grief, keep it off social media! His sickness seems to make him thrive on danger—the danger of being caught. And no matter how many times he gets caught, he just keeps right on doing it. No amount of humiliation seems enough.

It has undone his career, his marriage and, indeed, any future employability. What a wretched outcome. No wonder his wife has filed for divorce. But one cannot but feel badly for him in some way.

Anthony Weiner has become a tragic figure. Let’s not judge him. In one way or another, we are all prone to mistakes. Weiner is a broken human, but a human being nonetheless and—for that—some of us still feel empathy for him.

Let’s hope he gets a sympathetic judge—and may he finally learn to control his reckless, self-destructive proclivities.

Get well, Anthony.

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