I mentioned in my last post that, due to his nationally mocked recent actions, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has caused me to feel embarrassment. The truth is, his actions have caused me to feel a variety of emotions. I'm indignant that another politician has morally failed his family by cheating on his wife while at the same time ethically failing his constituency by using state funds to do so. I'm heartbroken at the thought of the pain that a wife and four sons have to go through because of his choices. And I'm saddened that they must endure questions from the media while they deal with all of this. But my embarrassment stems from something beyond all of that. My embarrassment stems from Governor Sanford's complete lack of intelligence throughout this whole debacle.
A brief summary of events:
Do you see what I'm talking about by saying he displayed a lack of intelligence? A state governor, who is a husband and father of four sons, disappears... DISAPPEARS... over Father's Day weekend without informing anyone of his intended whereabouts. He just left! He didn't tell his family or his staff any way that they could reach him in case their was a family or state emergency.
If you were smart, wouldn't you at least lie about where you're going? Wouldn't you say it was a place that had no cell phone reception, and then leave your cell at home? I mean, there are records that show him making a cell phone call from Atlanta, before turning his phone off and leaving the country.
And why would his staff lie about him hiking the Appalachian Trail? Why didn't they just say that his location was confidential? Or, better yet, tell the truth and say that they didn't know where he was?
And why would you not insure that there was a process in place that would allow for someone to assume power in case of an emergency? (This has actually been a problem in South Carolina for some time. There's never been a law to clarify this.) Did you just naively assume that no problems could ever arise?
But all of that can't compare to what happened next... You'd think that if, by some amount of luck, something happened in the world that drew focus away from your situation, you'd gladly shrink back into the background. You'd be thankful that the media turned its giant red eye away from you and toward what, or whoever, was unlucky enough to draw its attention. But it would take something big. It would take something national. It would take something take would cause the world to slow down, if only for a moment.
Something like the death of The King of Pop...
So now that everyone's looking the other way, you'd retreat right? You'd circle the wagons and thank the Lord that you've been given the opportunity to silently collect your dignity and begin working hard to mend all of the bridges you'd burned. But not our Governor. Oh no. He gave ANOTHER INTERVIEW!
A brief continuance of events:
So, as a public figure with an already stained reputation, you are given an opportunity to metaphorically disappear (as opposed to the time you actually disappeared) and you respond by GIVING ANOTHER INTERVIEW WHERE YOU ADMIT TO MORE WRONG DOING!?!?!
Complete... lack... of intelligence.
And I'm embarrassed that someone of questionable moral and ethical standards and without the discernment of when to speak and when to stay silent was elected governor of my state... TWICE.
But at least The Daily Show got some good bits out of it. My favorite of which (and one of the major inspirations for this post) can be found here. (Some NSFW language)
To close out this extremely long post, I'd like to offer my thanks to Governor Sanford. Thanks, Mr. Governor, for adding to the already exceedingly cynical view that most Americans (especially South Carolinians) have of politicians. Thanks for showing that even high ranking officials don't always think through their actions. Thanks for taking responsibility for your mistakes. Over and over and over again. Even when no one asked.
Now be quiet...