SC Governor Mark Sanford: My Take – We Expect Too Much

June 26th, 2009   •   no comments   
Culture With Illusions About Its Leaders Exposes Flaws

I’ve read a couple of pieces — Gail Collins, New York Times, Peter Bregman (another consultant) — about the “Mark Sanford incident.”  I didn’t see his supposedly rambling speech/confession the other day.  But, I’m fairly clear about any outrage or disappointment that exists: we, as a society, cling to unrealistic illusions and suffer. 

My take on this is that we continue to adhere to these unrealistic — inhuman? — expectations despite the reality of “being burned” and disappointed.  That’s the interesting piece of this for me: why are we, as a society, addicted to that mindset…overarching expectations of our leaders, whether elected or hired?  Why were we so appalled when Bubba (my buddy Clinton) was accused of an indiscretion in the oval office and, then, lied about it?  Seems pretty normal to me.

I watched M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable” last night; a hero/villain kind of film.  A genre that my wife likes.    If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil any revelations about the plot that, of course, has its turns.  It reveals the villainy that’s inside every hero. 

Sanford’s disappearance, indiscretion, lies are merely indicators — buoys in the channel —  of the shame that operates when immoral actions are chosen.  Sanford, like most humans, was evading his chosen reality as best he could; humans (I, in fact) do it all the time.  Should he have known better?  Well, in fact, he does; but he’s human.  And, humans are flawed, fragile creatures not some comic-book Superhero who can rescue victims today and do nothing stupid tomorrow.  (I like Hancock’s [Will Smith] Superhero better; he’s a mess.)

In the past few months, I’ve been reading about Italy’s 72 year old Berlusconi’s ongoing battle, in the media, with his estranged wife who accuses him of negligence and infidelity: until recently, the culture wasn’t really paying attention.  I think the Italians are just a little bit more grown up about this stuff and, of course, less Puritanical.  But, maybe, they’ve learned something about human behavior that we, as a society, don’t want to admit: we all make mistakes. 

A working thesis statement may change during the writing process

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