Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Derailing Derailers

I was just reading about Mike Rogers, an openly gay activist and blogger, who has made a career out of "outing" those whom he deems to be political hypocrites. Initially, I thought this was a pretty good idea - to derail politicians who behave differently in private than they vote. But then, I got to thinking . . . uh oh, here he goes ------

I attended public school not long after God was told by O'Hare to take a long walk on a short pier into the Dead Sea. That was before the Dead Sea ever got sick. I digress. This means that my education was still pretty decent for two reasons: 1) I made something of it, and 2) it had not yet been dumbed-down to accommodate the lowest common denominator. As such, I vaguely recall that politicians are elected and for some bizarre reason (e.g., Ted Kennedy, et al) re-elected to represent US. That's right: you, me, our neighbors. Which means that regardless of how they believe on a certain issue, they are there as our proxy. Presumably, they were elected by a majority and as such, if they are performing their jobs properly, they are voting according to how the majority desires.

But - GASP - that means that they might have to vote counter to what they personally believe or in some cases live. And frankly, I don't think I should care. I should not have reason to care where you put your monkey, what you do with your monkey, or how you discipline your naughty monkey. What you do in your private life, despite being a public official, is not my concern. If you want to tap Riverdance out in an airport bathroom stall in an effort to get something unusual, so be it. I don't have to like it. I don't have to agree with it. I don't have to condone it. But if you were elected to represent the majority on specific issues, then you damn well better vote and legislate according to your constituents' wishes. That's what you are paid to do. Beyond that, whatever. This may be extremely pragmatic for some, especially ultra-conservatives, but face it. This is not the end-game. We're not going to find perfect people here. So we make do with the imperfect ones.

What Mike Rogers and his ilk fail to realize is everything that I noted above. Neither the parties nor the constituencies should care what these people do in their "private" lives so long as their voting record reflects the desires of the voters. Period. However, if their "private" activity is indeed unlawful, then by all means they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law without prejudicial treatment on the basis of who they are. If it's unlawful to somehow solicit "man-lovin" in a public restroom, then you should be prosecuted. If it's unlawful to instant message your male (or female) pages who are under 18 with lewd and lascivious commentary, you should be prosecuted. Ideally, we'd have elected officials who reflected our beliefs and ideals and morals to a tee. But we don't. So again, we make do.

I'm a conservative by most metrics. That doesn't mean that I agree with Bush on everything he has done. Of course, he is privy to more and better intelligence than I am, so I have to presume that his decisions are indeed in the best interest of the nation. Although, I am not convinced that Mexican truckers are a prudent measure. 4200+ cubic feet of trailer can fit a lot of illegals. But what do I know . . .

I think it's time that we view elected officials in their singular role as representing their constituents. Nothing more, nothing less. If you want to do the nasty in a public restroom, so be it, but don't expect me to follow suit. And as your constituent, I would recommend against it. But it's your life and how you behave privately is not for me to judge. Just know that it will one day be judged.

In the meantime, perform your duty as a public servant and we'll all get along just fine.

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