Sunday, September 20, 2009

Politicians Really Are Human, Even If They're Not Always Recognizable As Such

I'm as weary of hearing and reading about South Carolinian politicians in the news as anybody. This is especially annoying for those of us who call South Carolina home, and more so for those of us who happen to know a few of those who have been raked over the coals these past few months.

First of all, I am a Democrat. Mostly this is for lack of other options, but more than being Democrat I am not a Republican. But after reading the paper this morning, ( I feel the need to chime in here.

Rather than Sanford, I'll start with Rusty Depass, and get this off my chest. ( in case you live in a cave). (And if you do, please send me a map, it sounds like a nice place). Rusty is my sister's Godfather. I am proud, not ashamed of this. However, I have the advantage of having known him, however in passing. My mother on the other hand, is an excellent judge of character, has been a close friend of his, and making him Mandy's Godfather was her choice - an excellent one at that.

Here is a man who is irreverent, who made an offhanded, inappropriate comment in a medium to which he was still getting accustomed. My mother feels a little guilt for nudging him into sticking around on Facebook, but really he should have thought before he typed. That being said, I challenge anybody to think about everything they've ever posted on MySpace, Facebook, their blog, or even typed in a text or email - and ask yourself if you would like for it to be all over the newspapers and on display in news network crawlers.

It was not a smart choice of words. But I'll say this and move on to Sanford: there isn't a racist bone in Rusty Depass's body. The comment wasn't even meant as racist. I doubt Rusty was thinking about the racial connotation when he typed it, but more a rebuttal from an irreverent, humorous individual. And he is humorous. He's got a wonderful sense of humor - but even the best comedians sometimes miss the mark and say things off-color (no pun intended). He is a kind, caring, intelligent man who did not deserve having the riot act read to him on a national stage.

Okay, now Sanford. I will start out by saying that I am not a fan. I never really have been a fan. I don't think I ever will be. I will even confess to a little schadenfreude I experienced over his initial vilification. But now it has been taken too far. An affair is an affair. I admit, he dug his own hole deeper than it had to be, but we cannot judge somebody on acting out of love, however it might have hurt his family. It's not our place, and not our business. We have been treating a state governor like a celebrity on TMZ. Many of us should be ashamed of ourselves. The reason this pushes such a raging hot button with me is the recent growing prevalence of revengist politics (see: Obama Healthcare Plan debacle). Sanford has spent less on private travel than any South Carolina governor in recent memory, and yet this is what they're using against him. Sanford disrupted the good ol' boy network, and now the network is retaliating. Sanford, in the beginning, went against the grain of traditional South Carolina politics, and many hated him for it. He later made some choices that I believe were designed solely to place him on the GOP map to the presidency, (simultaneously ignoring the needs of many South Carolinians), but that pipe dream has been long forgotten.

Sanford is human. He made a very human mistake. So why is it that when politicians appear inhuman, out of touch with the common person, we move away from them, and when they act in accordance with human nature, we attack? I'm not saying it's human to cheat on our spouses, but it is human to make mistakes, however serious. Had Sanford not rocked the boat, this would have been at least partially swept under the rug by now, or at least out of the headlines. It's revengist politics, plain and simple. I read somewhere once that revenge is for children and the emotionally retarded. I'll leave it at that.

Lastly, Joe "You Lie" Wilson. Okay, I have to admit, I have fewer weapons of defense in my arsenal when it comes to this NRA worshiper. But, many in my life have known him well enough to know that this was extraordinarily out of character for him. Typically he will go where the votes are, and an argument can be made for him truly representing his constituency, but depending on who you are, you might think I'm being too kind.

I believe though, that he was speaking for those he represents. Though I wholeheartedly disagree with him, and am appalled that he used Obama's supposed intent to cover illegal immigrants in his healthcare plan (in itself a fabrication likely designed by health insurance companies and their lobbyists - more on that later), to make a "stand", I get the impression he was expecting rally cries to follow his blatant disregard for the president, who had the floor at the time. He was perpetuating more myths about Obama's "plan" (that I may point out has not even fully formed as of now),  but he was doing it out of a perceived solidarity with his ilk. I say perceived, as most politicians will turn to vultures to remove a political carcass for the greater good of the party - especially if it will enhance their own career. This, unfortunately holds true on both sides of the isle.

Okay, so what's my defense? Once again, he's human. He made a human miscalculation, an error in judgement at the wrong time, in the wrong place. Politically I could not be farther from Joe Wilson without coming back around to the right from the extreme left. I agree with very few of his votes. But he is a human being.

Let's see if I'm as proned to defend him during the next campaign. I have a feeling it will get a little too human for any of us.

So ends my rant.