A man’s moral weakness leaves me reflective
By now the troubles of Governor Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), are well documented. He is a man who betrayed his marital vows, and strayed countless times with his professed “soul-mate.” He is a man that abrogated his responsibilities at the South Carolina statehouse, to travel to Latin America to be with his mistress, against the wishes of his wife. He is a man who was out of touch for five days, as state business went on without him, and questions began swirling. I initially wrote about this story on June 22nd. At the time, my reaction was that of an avowed follower of politics, and worried human being. I was concerned for his well-being, and concerned about the state of the family. As the days went on, and the questions about whether or not he was “hiking” continued, it became apparent that there was more to this story, than just Stanford embarking upon a sabbatical to blow off steam.
A man strays sometimes. Sometimes we commit marital infidelity. In the minds of some men, it’s unavoidable. Oftentimes, it is the sad choice that we make to “re-affirm” our manhood. It is regrettable to think that- in that one moment of weakness, you are foregoing everything and everyone that ever gave you the strength to become what you are-for a dalliance that satisfies your basest desires. You risk losing a life of love- supported by years of pain, laughs, heartbreaks, lust, and joy. In an instant, every fiber is transformed from loving husband and father, supportive boyfriend and fiance, to crestfallen heel and liar. You are outside of the glass looking in, while your very slow demise is chronicled before a salivating public. It is very sad.
Mark Sanford said that he found his soul-mate in Argentina. We seldom find our soul-mates; in Argentina, or anywhere else. While I cannot begrudge a man for finding something rare that would complete his circle, his commitment to his wife and family take precedence over his own desires. That is the way it’s supposed to be. Had he talked to his wife to explain his circumstance, perhaps it would have been more palatable to her. It would not absolve his guilt, or assuage her anger and pain, but it would have been the right thing to do. Of course being human beings, we don’t always do what is right for ourselves, or for others. Maybe he felt he must seize the opportunity to be with the one he truly loved, before he lost what he might never find again. Who can say? Is this what countless other men and women go through when they decide to walk a crooked path? We’ll never truly know, and that is the saddest, most difficult part to explain.
I wish the Sanford family well in perhaps the most trying time they will ever face. Now more than ever, they need to be united, and deal with this in as private a manner as possible. Unfortunately, they are in the media crucible, and every minute detail will be explored and analyzed. Make no mistake here. Governor Sanford is to blame for this mess. He caused the circus, and his family is now part of the sideshow. For that he should pay a price. His weakness is real, and he gave in to something that the rest of us struggle with daily: our human frailty. Perhaps this will make him stronger and less judgmental. Perhaps this will bring him closer to his God. Maybe Governor Sanford will inadvertently help us all. We should all take his broken example and hold fast to our inner strengths, to mask our outer weaknesses.