With a name like “Weiner” you’d think he would have been more careful about his actions in public. But he wasn’t.
In fact. Congressman Anthony Weiner not only was involved in a sexting scandal that went public, he admitted he was sexting with at least six different women over the past few years; sending explicit (unsolicited) photos of himself to women over Twitter, and then lying about it, at length once it went public.
Politicians behaving badly is certainly nothing new. It has been going on for as long as we have had a government of any kind. Today, however, politicians have the opportunity to not only err, but to do so in the most public way possible. And they have shown no reluctance to do so.
In fact, as fast as one politician is busted doing something naughty online, another one pops up seemingly intent on “one-upping” the competition. It’s amazing, the level of stupidity.
There is a lesson to be learned from their behavior, but chances are, if you made it through grade school, you already learned it.
By now most of us have heard about the married New York congressman who admitted he had been “sexting” at least six women over the Internet. Sexting is sending sexually explicit text and photographs through social networking platforms, such as Twitter, or as a cellphone text message.
Rep. Anthony Weiner’s news conference last week was painful to watch. But like a traffic accident, it was nearly impossible to take your eyes away from the carnage.
Psychologists now are offering their theories as to the congressman’s motivations. Some claim high-achieving people with high stress jobs — like members of Congress — develop online relationships and engage in risky online behavior to relieve their stress. Others claim participants get an “emotional high” from their ability to “avoid capture.”
And while sexting is generally regarded as being primarily a teenage “sin of stupidity,” Jessica Leshnoff reports in an AARP article that an increasing number of aging boomers and seniors are sexting.
“The reality is that more and more of the 50-plus set, both single and married, routinely use text messaging to send tantalizing pictures and provocative words to their partners,” she wrote. Participants believe it is “harmless” and they are protected from disclosure by the Internet’s relative anonymity. In reality, there are many ways participants can trip themselves up and be exposed.
We don’t know all the details and repercussions of the Weiner case. At the very least, he has irrevocably damaged his career and relationships with his friends, family and constituents.
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