I’m Having Chest Pains


Governor Spitzer has resigned. Necessary. Inevitable. Sad.

But I really may not survive all the lemmings now swarming all over  cable news — the teletherapists, the experts, the columnists, the whole  pseudoexpertocracy — who have already started providing detailed remedies for the saving the Spitzer marriage and  for what he should say to his children.

These “crisis-vultures” — armed with glib instant analyses — never cease to amaze. One person’s and one state’s tragedy becomes someone else’s shameless career opportunity.

Beware the Self-Proclaimed Moral Paragons

Someone breaks the bonds of trust with the public.  In an instant, he squanders all his political capital and his reform agenda is dead in the water. He resigns.  His family and children are devastated. Maybe his family holds, maybe not. And yes, the whole tragedy is completely self-inflicted. And yes, the man apparently has virtually no well of affection outside his family from which he can  draw either sustenance or survival.

But here’s what I want to know:  What’s with the piling on ? What’s with this this public competition to see who can be the most indignant? Just who are these people so certain of their own virtue, so confident that they are beyond human flaws,  that they are tripping over each other to get in front of a camera and proclaim their credentials as moral paragons?

People have every right to be angry with the Governor. The press must take on this story with all the zeal it deserves. It’s serious stuff. But if we know even the simplest things about human nature, it is that  the very group of those now clamoring to raise the public scaffold almost certainly includes some of the very people who themselves will be hoisted onto that scaffold in due time. 

Indignation is justifed. But spare me the kind of angry and hypocritical over-acting that is more strategic angling for political advantage than genuine disappointment with a Governor who let us down big. Indignation is one thing, but there is a moment when it morphs into self-righteousness. The morphing has begun.

And maybe, just for a fleeting moment, think about the non-combatants here — his children  — who deserve only our compassion and concern.