American Puritanism

Albany, NY, july 25 2013

The other big story this week here in this neck of the woods , along with the royal baby, is the “sexting ” scandal that plagues the political campain of Mr Anthony Weiner a former democrat representative who is now running for mayor of NYC.
It seems that like many politicians Anthony Weiner is accustomed to one night stands. Roosevelt, Kennedy, Martin Luther, Clinton, to name but a few, were serial womanizers. On our side of the pond, in France, the list would be endless. The main difference is that in France nobody cares, whereas here in the US extramarital affairs , when revealed , destroy the career of the culprit.
Why such difference between our two countries in the treatment of the private life of public servants?
When one chooses a surgeon for an operation, a lawyer for a legal advice, a CEO to run a business, a professor to teach a class, does one ask about his/ her extramarital affairs? Of course not: it would be totally displaced and irrelevant. Even better: in recruitment processes, any questions regarding the private life of the candidate would be illegal.
So why should the sexual life of a mayor, president, representative, justice, affect his professionnal capacity to run a country, a town, a district, a court?
The famous American puritanism seems to play here a major role in mixing everything: if the guy cheats on his wife, he will cheat on his electors. However, Nixon was impeached and disgraced after the Watergate affair, but he seemingly was a faithful husband. Kennedy was a serial philanderer , but he remains in history as a great president. So does Roosevelt, whose affair with Lucie Rutherfurd lasted until his death. Hoover was a terribly efficient FBI director, and a notorious homosexual.There is obviously no link between the professionnal abilities of anyone, male or female, in any field, and his/ her private and sexual life.
So apart for the need of the media to make headlines and sell paper, who cares about the content of the messages sent by Thimoty Weiner to his girlfriend? The relevant questions should deal more seriously about his activity and efficiency as a representative in Congress.

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