Friday, June 3, 2011

The Government We Deserve

I haven't yet weighed-in on the Anthony Weiner Show, mostly because the puns are too easy and the spectacle of this punk self-destructing too delicious.  (It's true, I praised him in a post some time back, but that was only as an example of the kind of tough political in-fighter the GOP seems never to produce.)

If you have ears to hear, the "meaning" of this latest episode of a politician involved in some fashion or another in lewd and illicit sexual behavior and then clumsily lying about it is not that the sort of men attracted to politics display well-above-the-mean libidos.  Rather, it is that we, yes, we, persist in electing arrested adolescents to high office.  This is what bugged me most about Bill Clinton.  Weiner, like Clinton, is a teenage boy.

And it's not just in the area of sex.  Early on in the 2000 campaign, one of the things that troubled me about George W. Bush was his regularly calling attention to and bragging about his 7-minute miles.  I winced.  Why would a 50 or so year-old governor of Texas, with a host of other accomplishments and credentials to garnish his already prominent name, feel the need to brag about this of all things?  Because, in some sense, he was still a teenage boy, insecure, eager to please, craving attention, etc.  (By the way, I think George W. Bush very much grew up while in office.  If you have any character at all, something like 9/11 will do that to you.)

But this post is not about them, it's about us.  Why do we persist in electing teenage boys to high office?  Why do we elect them to high office and then act surprised when they behave like teenage boys?  Or, more to the point, why do we elect teenage boys to high office and then expect them to govern like grown men?    

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