BURNS: Taking The Politics Out Of Smoochgate

Just when we thought that we had heard it all with political sex scandals; including the shirtless “Craigslist Congressman” and Wienergate, parts 1 and 2, we have a brand new Made for You Tube scandal featuring Louisiana’s own “Kissing Congressman,” U.S. Rep Vance McAllister. This new saga combines the best of sensational journalism with reality TV, as the Duck Dynasty supported Congressman admitted that his amorous conduct with an office aide “fell short,” as did his awareness of office surveillance cameras. Now McAllister seeks redemption not only from his family and the Lord, but also from the famed Duck Commander, who already has a proven track record for political miracles in Louisiana’s Fifth Congressional District.

As this sad episode plays out, political figures are urging the Congressman to do the “right” thing, which is, of course, to resign immediately and focus the necessary attention on family reparations, while hopefully un-focusing attention on the pesky scandal, so that it does not interfere with party’s prospects in the looming fall elections.
And there seems to be no immediate end in sight to the saga, with the media featuring a scorecard of previous political scandals, while it compares and speculates on the fate of the latest errant politician in this newest episode of Survivor: Sex Scandal.

But there are nonpolitical considerations to be examined as well, one of them being the trauma being inflicted on Congressman McAllister’s family. Kelly Duncan McAllister seems to be a really nice lady, who enjoys raising their five children. Like most political spouses, including mine, she never asked for the limelight of the political stage, but agreed to go along with the campaign for the benefit of her spouse. Now she has likely become the scandal’s most grievously injured victim, with emotional scars being branded on her and her children, her life being cruelly assigned a permanent asterisk as the scorned wife of the Kissing Congressman. I have been involved in some brutal campaign slug-fests in my career and know they were traumatic to my family. But they were a peck on the cheek compared to what the McAllister family is having to endure.

Another nonpolitical consideration is the sheer hypocrisy of the situation, the public outcry and condemnation of another for their “sin.” Sure politicians should be held to a higher standard as public office holders, but they are hardly alone when it comes to committing adultery. Infidelity permeates every walk of life, including the media, and there is concern that straying is becoming more commonplace. Today, there are even commercial websites devoted exclusively to promoting adultery. The best known infidelity hookup site is Ashley Madison, whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” In fact, the site even offers a money back guarantee if a customer is unsuccessful in breaking the Seventh Commandment. Ashley Madison must not have to issue too many refunds since it made headlines recently by attempting to buy a pricy Superbowl ad.

When an infidelity promoting website is successful enough to afford the most expensive thirty seconds in advertising, society has a much bigger moral problem than a Kissing Congressman.

While McAllister’s conduct is certainly deplorable, let’s not be overly judgmental, but instead realize “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” The sad but true fact is that today’s society is saturated with temptation and indiscretion, and unfortunately infidelity can happen to anyone who is not vigilant.

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