Should An Addict Run For Political Office?
I’ve hesitated to blog about Anthony Weiner.
I have my opinion (as usual), which is informed by my beliefs. It’s also informed by my understanding of addiction or at least addictive behaviors, such as the sexual addiction Anthony Weiner appears to have. But blogging about this whole mess hasn’t held much appeal.
Then I saw fellow PsychCentral blogger Holly Brown’s post on the topic, and I decided to go ahead, in partial response to her post.
Holly covers most of the bases. She describes Weiner’s behavior and attributes: cheating, lying, covering up, narcissism, and lack of self-awareness.
I agree with all the above.*
I also think that a married man who is intimately involved with another woman, even verbally (such as texting) and photos, has a morality issue. Immorality is not a popular concept, certainly it is more politically correct to speak of lack of honesty, lack of ethics or judgment lapse, rather than old-fashioned morality. But, this is what I believe.
Where Holly and I align a bit less is where she writes:
It is not a given that people who are unethical in one area are unethical in all areas. It’s not a given that people who treat their intimates poorly are poor at governing.
But does that necessarily mean he’s a bad leader? I would argue that there have been many philanderers in office. There are people who cheat on their wives but don’t cheat on the country. Some people are more steadfast to their country than they are to those closest to them.
Sure, I suppose it’s possible that a person can be loyal to a country or cause and disloyal to their spouse. But I don’t really believe it.
I believe that if you are disloyal to your significant other, your primary loyalty is really only to yourself.
And you’ll be loyal to your cause or country, or at least appear to be, only when it serves your purposes.
If your country’s needs and yours align—great! But what happens when they don’t?
Holly points out that narcissism appears to be one of Weiner’s problems. I agree. However, I do not think there is even a possibility that such a person with this particular manifestation of narcissism (in Weiner’s case a real lack of empathy for others, especially his wife as well as his emotional teflon coating) makes for a good leader.
Sure, a narcissist may start off being a good leader, but watch out! If one of his advisers or the people who elected him disagree with him, he’ll fire them, discredit them, launch ad hominem attacks on them, and maybe even worse.
Sadly, even the contemporary American republic isn’t immune to elected leaders with “enemy lists”. (Think Nixon, though he’s not the only one).
And we’ve had politicians (who are supposed to be public servants, by the way, with the emphasis on serving others, not themselves) in the past who’ve cheated on their spouses and lied repeatedly about it. That is, until they were cornered with the evidence and there was no way they could continue lying about it. Weiner falls into this category.
Repetitive lying also does not good a good leader make.
But what about an addict in recovery?
*Narcissism is not narcissistic personality disorder. I’m certainly not making a diagnosis, just describing apparent behavior.
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2013). Should An Addict Run For Political Office?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 5, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapy-soup/2013/08/should-an-addict-run-for-political-office/