During my brief break from writing, one of the headlines that caught my attention was Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick’s conviction of perjury and charges for felonious assault, who left office September 18th and is heading to jail. If ya don’t know, the verdict stems from the affair he shared with former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, and the downward spiral of events that occurred once the affair was made public. So that’s right—no ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card, no need to pay off any more city officials to keep quiet about your love affair, no more lying to Detroit residents in an attempt to remain a Golden Boy of contemporary politics—Ahh the story goes on and on--just go to jail. For more info, my post on the 18th has a link to the Detroit Free Press' Website, where you can nearly everything short of Kilpatrick's SSN#, so check it out.
This scandal wouldn't be right if Kilpatrick’s supporters and even some of his critics didnt' throw race somewhere in the debate on whether his fate or the outcome is justified, but Kwame Kilpatrick’s being a black man is the least of why this straight-up debauchery upsets me. He cheated on his wife, and if anything, he played the scenario out like so many politicians of the past and present have done, only his diplomatic façade faded real quick once he realized he was found out. I guess he forgot that A) You don’t carry out a love affair with another goverment official on GOVERNMENT devices, and B) You can’t go around shoving an officer trying to issue yet another government employee a subpoena in public…
Anyway, I’ll get to the heart of this post: I have a real big problem with infidelity. I don't care if you're a regular Joe or Jane, or the greatest thing since sliced bread, I can't stand it--but it bothers me tenfold when it's a chosen leader. Even worse I can’t stand hearing the argument that a leader’s commitment, or lack thereof, to their spouse has nothing to do with their ability to be a good leader. To me, it's the ability to be a good, charismatic liar because seriously, do we live in a society where the test of one's true ability to be a great leader is measured by their ability to hide lies and deceit from the public eye? After all, had Kilpatrick and Beatty used personal cell phones, even if they would’ve gotten caught, they wouldn’t have been committing a crime, they would've been chalked up to two powerful Detroit figures who decided to forget their marital vows and get it on—and they’d probably both still be in office.
Infidelity is nothing new, in fact it's one of those issues that will never ever go away, no matter how much I complain. And I know there are countless prominent political figures throughout the times who were unfaithful to their spouses, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, John Edwards are a few that come to mind, but it's either swept under the rug or glorified like it's the thing to do. Lord knows I take nothing away from these men's accomplishments, so don't jump on me, but their infidelity is at the heart of exactly how I feel.
In my mind, infidelity puts a political figure's character in question. If you're careless (or heartless) enough to cheat and deceive your spouse in your personal life, what are you lying about to the public? What hidden agendas are we kept in the dark about? Do you all of sudden find your morals when you step into the office, while lying to the ones you're truly supposed to love and care about? Athletes and entertainers are one thing, but when it comes to politicians and even worse clergymen (Lord, I will not go there today), my well-being is on the line and that bothers me.
This is a deep issue not really justified in this post, but I'm still trying to wrap my mind around my position on infidelity. I'd like your thoughts--what do you think? Should a politician's handling of their personal life have no bearing on how we view them as leaders? Also what's to be said of the spouses who deal with the infidelity? I just got inspired to write a whole 'other post on that.....
HARD WORK, SECOND EFFORT, DEDICATION, LOYALTY & LOVE