Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On Men with Power

Others are pointing out the hypocrisy of those who scream loudest about "family values" being the ones caught with their pants down in the presence of paramours, prostitutes, etc. I won't pile on about that, although it is something to contemplate.

I will note that research shows that those who scream loudest about other people's sexuality are those who are least secure in their own. It seems the same thing happens with sexual fidelity and "sanctity of marriage." The louder they shout about it, the more we need to watch their personal behavior. In fact, it would surprise me not at all to see Fred Phelps caught up in the same kind of scandal that exposed Ted Haggard.

But one thing I notice is that This behavior seems to be a function of too much power. It happened with King David in the Bible (II Samuel 11 & 12). When a man gets into a position of power, no one is there to stop him when he wants something. Personal ambition drives a man to achieve a position of power, then he is surrounded by sycophants bowing to his every whim. He forgets that moral standards apply to him, because no one will deny him anything. So if he sees something he wants, he takes it, and no one tells him no.

David saw a beautiful naked woman, so he wanted a roll in the hay with her. All he had to do was send for her and he got what he wanted. But he also got something he didn't want when she turned up pregnant. Instead of taking responsibility, he did what powerful men do, and deflected the blame. He had her husband killed in battle so he could marry her himself. Again, no one was there to second guess him.

I don't know the full story of Franklin Roosevelt's straying, nor that of Dwight Eisenhour. I understand that things happen in marriages, and to soldiers in the theater of war, so I won't sit in judgment. But John Kennedy seems to fit the pattern. The press conspired with him to cover up his multiple affairs, but no one was there to remind him of the vows of fidelity he took in his marriage. From what I read of Lyndon Johnson, the same thing seems to apply to him, too.

Bill Clinton fit the same pattern, as did Gov. Spitzer, Rep. Vitter, Sen. Edwards, and now Gov. Sanford. Being surrounded by people who want to please him gives a man a distorted view of how important he really is, and distorts his perspective on the world. He comes to believe he is the only one who matters, and his desires take precedence over everything.

Now King David had the prophet Nathan to call him to account on his actions. He told of a rich man who stole his poor neighbor's pet lamb, then pointed his finger at David and said, "Thou art the man!" David then realized his guilt and repented.

Powerful men nowadays don't have any Nathans. They don't have anyone to call them on their sins, except for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. But that was more political than moral, which is why it failed.

Instead of "Thou art the man," all they hear is, "You da man!"

So Gov. Sanford went off to take care of his personal desires at the expense of the state--not just financially, either. He left no one in charge, so if there had been an emergency there was no one in charge who could call out the National Guard or declare a state of emergency. He left no one any information as to where he could be reached, so the state was essentially leaderless for those four days.

So now that this has all hit the fan AGAIN, how are we to get someone put into place to say, "Mr. President, Governor, Senator, Congressman, Mr. Mayor, or whoever you are, thou art the man. Remember that BEFORE you indulge yourself"?