Monday, June 13, 2011

Power Perverts (...and Absolute Power Perverts Absolutely!)

Last week when I was originally going to write on the subject of sexual promiscuity among politicians, elements of the scandal involving Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner and an adult movie actress ware still coming to light (now there are allegations that Weiner has been trading sexually explicit cell phone texts and pictures with a 17 year-old female teen). The direction I would have chosen for the post would have been one of condemnation of Weiner’s actions, along with other politicians within both the Democratic and Republican parties who were literally caught with their pants down.

Democratic New York State Congressional Representative Anthony Weiner in one of the cellphone photographs in question (courtesy of TMZ online).

Anthony Weiner. John Edwards. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bill Clinton. Newt Gingrich. Kwame Kilpatrick. I could use up the bandwidth of this blog with a complete list politicians have been embroiled in sex scandals, particularly those of the extramarital persuasion. What I wanted to do was put this list of cheating politicians in the perspective of questionable decision-making; Weiner has been around the proverbial political block long enough to have witnessed first-hand that such behavior among high profile politicians rarely goes unnoticed…or unrevealed. This is behavior that I can’t understand, even as a member of the male species.
And of course, we all know what happens after such personal indiscretions come to light. We can expect Weiner (or whichever future politician who will find himself in the same predicament) to check into some type of rehab clinic for whatever “help” he feels that he will need. We can expect a public apology in front of a room full of cameras, maybe with a should-be embarrassed wife standing (defiantly?) at his side. And maybe some high-profile counseling by an equally high-profile spiritual advisor.

New York State Congressional Representative Anthony Weiner, in a more official photograph.

But then, National Public Radio (NPR) aired a piece on its daily All Things Considered segment last Friday which forced me to reconsider how harsh my judgments would be. The piece, “Power May Increase Promiscuity” was an eye-opening examination of research delving into the link between sexual promiscuity and powerful people, and by extension politicians. The psychological research examined in the piece revealed that the sometimes unbelievable brazenness of politicians engaged in sexual peccadilloes is not as hard to understand as it would appear.
It seems that there is a lot of truth to the adage that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, for both men and women. The research concludes that
…the more men and women had power, the more they likely that they were to engage in an adulterous relationship. In fact, they were found that the most powerful people to be 30% more likely—both men and women—to have affairs than the least powerful people. The most powerful people were having many more affairs ( To hear the piece in its entirety, click on the link and listen.

As I listened to [the] summaries of the experiments and research behind the findings, I gained a greater level of understanding into human nature. But I didn’t gain any sympathy; I wont yield in my judgments. The research link between power and promiscuity notwithstanding, Weiner should put his ego and selfishness aside and stop resisting the calls to step down.
Whenever public figures—especially politicians—such as Weiner engage in lewd sexual behavior and/or extramarital affairs, the fact that they are so willing to casually throw away the trust of their wives, families, and constituents, as well as make such reckless decisions fully aware of the personal costs indicates that they lack the character to represent We The People. Anyone in Weiner’s position should be big enough, responsible enough to both themselves and those whose trust he/she violates to step down and avoid further embarrassment to themselves, their families, and to the principles office they swore to uphold.


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