Twilight of the Elites - Kellner, Spitzer, Weiner, and Lopez


To what ills has our class of political elite succumbed? Rare has been the occasion when a breadth of candidates aiming directly for key legislative and municipal seats been so oversaturated by characters all embroiled in scandals of precisely the same theme, though with minor stylistic differences. Kellner and Lopez’s difficulties stem directly from clearly abusive behavior towards office-mates, colleagues, and employees - a blatant violation of public trust and the implicit, tacit understanding - not to mention legal explicitness - to which all parties agree upon entering into a work arrangement. Weiner and Spitzer’s are an entirely different class of misbehavior that, while reprehensible, did not necessarily step over the same lines that the other two did.

Where, now, does this leave us? Much has been made, recently, of politicians evolving into effectively sex scandal proof entities. But ever since the days of JFK supposedly sneaking Marilyn Monroe into the Lincoln Room, we have been as a nation overly obsessed with every politician’s bedroom behavior. Similarly, ever since “Client #9” became a widely referenced moniker, local elected officials have been under additional scrutiny. But despite living in the Mecca of Progressivism and idyllic thought, this conundrum has vexed us with a bewilderment.

We are adamantly anti- the Micah Kellner/Vito Lopez section of the spectrum. This is brazenly in conflict with worker’s rights. No woman - or man, for that matter - should need fear that s/he will suffer untoward advances from their professional superior. To work in an environment where the leadership individual is an elected official adds an extra layer of complete disenfranchisement. True - in the end, they are only human. Also true - we hold our elected officials to a higher expectation of morality, but really, with their access to so many layers of power capable of affecting so many people’s lives, should we not keep our expectations high?

What we do know is that we have arrived clearly at the following: whether the topic is sexual preferences, (non) wedded bliss, or polyamory, a Normal Rockwell painting type life should not be a pre-requisite for considering a candidate to be politically viable. If you are gay, bisexual, straight, have multiple partners or are seeking the same, that’s your business. Just kindly remember that as a public official that every move you make exposes itself to the public record. So, again: there is danger, and then there’s Carlos Danger.

So, to sum up: sexuality good, sexual abuse in the workplace - bad. Embarrassing yourself online; mmm-meh. Embarrassing yourself online as a public official and the public finds out: doubleunplusgood. Embarrassing yourself either online or not as a public official sexually harassing interns/employees in your office and the public finds out about it: lose your access to power. There is a reason why laws exist regarding sexual harassment. Protecting elected officials that cross that line creates a landscape that allows for more harassers, not more equitable work and that is something which we are decidedly against.