A Personal Perspective
BY MARCIA MOXAM COMRIE
Long ago in the pre-internet and social media era, General Colin Powell said on The Oprah Winfrey Show that the thing that is destroying America is the appalling “lack of shame” that was then evident by the things people would discuss on talk shows.
One can only wonder what the general and former secretary of state thinks now in the era of total oversharing due to the convenience of social media. It is due to this convenience of social media and the electronic devices that power the formats that former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner is heading to jail for 21 months.
Yep, the long arm of the law has finally caught up with the congressman-turned-sexting fiend and he wept like a baby.
The strange, protracted habit finally caught up with Weiner. His self-destructive predilection led him to engage with a 15-year-old girl and that was the final nail in his coffin.
The once-rising Democratic star became his own worst enemy, sexting lewd shots of himself and engaging in “dirty talk” with numerous women via social media. With his sick obsession, Weiner—by himself—destroyed his political career, marriage and family unit as well as every shred of public respect that he had built up over his two decades in public service.
Once a media darling, Weiner became the punchline that couldn’t stop giving. Following his guilty plea last spring, he has sought probation rather than jail time for his disgusting interactions with the under-aged girl via Skype. However, the judge wasn’t having it.
His poor parents and brother were in the courtroom to support him. His estranged wife, Huma Abedin, was nowhere to be seen. Long-suffering though she may have been, she has now had it and left him to wallow in the disgrace without her.
What a difference seven years make. It was in 2010 that the glamorous couple said their vows, conducted by former president, Bill Clinton, in front of a selective guest list. The dream couple possibly thought that they would become the next “Hill ‘n’ Bill,” but instead, all Abedin got was the sex scandal part. At least Bill Clinton did not send out pictures.
But whatever his personal demons, Weiner knows politics and he should have known that crotch shots were a “no-no.” He did not care. He knew that the women with whom he was engaging were aware of who he was, but when you are in the grips of any kind of addiction, you apparently don’t think.
He not only had to give up his congressional seat, he became unemployable. But there was still some respect for his political acumen. A consulting firm hired and fired him within a few weeks due to clients’ discontent that he was part of the “firm.”
And it was due to respect for his political insight that cable news channel NY1 gave him an opportunity to serve as a permanent member of its “Wise Guys” panel. He was the replacement for the venerable former Mayor Ed Koch, who had recently died. He also blew that due to the electronic relationship with the teenage girl.
Jail time seems appropriate in this case, but it will do nothing to heal Weiner’s sick impulses. Jail does not rehabilitate. It breaks spirits, not habits. His fall, however, should not be lost on anyone. The lesson is: don’t indulge in bad behavior and, especially, don’t involve children—not even when one of them is forward enough to initiate it.