Thursday, July 25, 2013

Anthony Weiner, John Profumo, and The Road to Redemption

Another scandal has hit former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner as he heads into the New York City mayoral primary.  Back in 2011, Weiner was forced to resign from the U.S. Congress for sending sexually suggestive photographs of himself to a woman.  He entered back into public life with his latest mayoral bid, but was thrown into chaos at a press conference a few days ago when he admitted to sending similar pictures to another woman in late 2012.

It was painful to watch Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, a former long term personal aide to Hillary Clinton, be humiliated in public by not only standing by his side but having to speak in his defense at the press conference.  Despite the current scandal, Weiner vowed to stay in the race.

Watching this take place, I was reminded of another scandal involving a politician.  In the 1960's, at the height of the Cold War, the British Secretary of War, John Profumo, was forced to resign after his name was linked to a model in England.  The subsequent scandal, known as the Profumo Affair, may have been a large factor in the British Conservative government falling from power.  Profumo had his political career destroyed and left office in disgrace.

Profumo's name didn't surface in the press for years.  Many years later, it was learned that he spent his days after the scandal as a volunteer at a charity in the poorest section of East London.  He did menial work, including cleaning toilets.

The lure of high political position is a powerful draw.  The mayor of New York is probably the most high profile mayoral post in the United States.  Anthony Weiner has probably spent numerous hours since this last scandal hit huddling with his political advisers on what moves to make to salvage his campaign.

But it is in those dark, lonely hours when one is alone, looking in the mirror with just himself, his conscience and his demons, that one has to decide which fork in the road to take.  John Profumo took the Road to Redemption.  Only time will tell which one Anthony Weiner takes.

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