Yet another conservative Republican "family values" politician from the Bible Belt fell from grace yesterday. South Carolina governor Mark Sanford emerged from his lie that he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. At a dramatic, rambling, impromptu press conference in the hallways of the state capital in Columbia yesterday he confessed that he was really in Argentina with his paramour. With the bizarre backdrop of some giggling teenage girls behind him, he admitted that he was unfaithful to his wife. He admitted that instead of taking a solitary hike through the Appalachian Mountains to clear his head after a tough legislative session, he was instead in Buenos Aries, Argentina, in the arms of his "dear friend" Maria.
Affairs of the heart happened. I understand that. Lord knows I've had a few myself. Where the difference is that Governor Mark Sanford is a public figure. He is a conservative Republican politician who espouses "family values." When he was a congressman he was one of the first to criticize former president Clinton for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Sanford, along with his fellow conservative Republican Christian politicians opposes same sex marriage. He claims that same sex marriage would "destroy the santicity of marriage." In fact, Governor Mark Sanford also opposes same sex civil unions. Governor Mark Sanford is a hypocrite.
While there is a growing list of politicians of both political parties who have been caught in sex scandals, only the self-righteous Republican politicians insist on holding onto their office. Democratic New Jersey governor James McGreevy resigned about his homosexual affair was revealed. Democratic New York governor Elliott Spitzer resigned after he was discovered to have frequented a hooker in a Washington D.C. hotel. Not so for Republican Louisiana Senator David Vitter. He refused to resign his office even after his name was found on a Washington D.C. madam's list. Republican Arizona John Ensign hasn't resigned his office after admitting an affair with a woman. Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig refused to resigned after being arrested at a Minneapolis airport bathroom for playing footsie with a male vice squad officer.
The hypocrisy of the Republican politicians is standard. They claim that same sex marriages would threaten the santicity of marriage. I ask, how exactly does that work? How does the formal union of me and my life partner of 45 years threaten the "santicity" of straight marriages? Here is my take, hypocritical politicians like Sanford, Gingrich, Guiliani, Craig, Vitter, McCain, and all the other family value conservative Republican politicians do more to destroy the "santicity" of marriage than me and my life partner Bill getting married. But then I understand that the conservative Republicans have raised a lot of money and gotten elected to office by pumping up the scare factor of same sex marriages.
The one thing I can give Governor Mark Sanford credit for, at least he didn't trot out his wife to stand next to him during his humiliation. But then, I understand she threw him out two weeks ago when she found about about his affair. Good for her.
While Governor Sanford seemed a very sympathic figure at his press conference yesterday with his tears and emotional plea for forgivness, the true victims of his selfish indulgence is his wife and four young sons. That is the real tragedy of this latest episode of soap opera that is the conservative Republican Party today. Where is their Christianity?