Larry Craig: We Are All Hypocrites
It seems to me that there have been two perspectives on the demise of Larry Craig. One is that it's good that he resigned, because he did something morally wrong. The other is that it's good that he resigned, because he is a hypocrite. Both sides asked for his resignation, each for their separate reasons. I'm not so sure if I'd have asked for him to resign.
The first of these groups says that hypocrisy is okay, but that hypocrites shouldn't be leaders. The second seems to feel that hypocrisy is the meanest of vices. I am a member of the first group. I hope that I understand the perspective of the second group correctly.
In the 1600's François, duke of La Rochefoucauld penned the witty--and I think true--statement that "hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue." I agree. The failure of Larry Craig was not, in my opinion, that he took moral stands on issues (although he was clearly insensitive and wrong to call Bill Clinton a "naughty boy" during the Monica Lewinsky scandal). Those stands are, in my opinion, correct. Where I think he failed is that he did not live up to those standards.
Carried to its conclusion, those who feel Mr. Craig was a failure because he was a hypocrite do not feel that others who engage in the same behavior are at fault--because they didn't make a public statement that they felt such behavior is wrong. Conversely, those who feel Mr. Craig's failure was a failure of morals also feel that others who engage in the same behavior fail personally, because the social responsibility to be moral should apply to everyone.
The worst thing someone on either side of this issue can do is to make fun of or otherwise taunt Mr. Craig for his failures. We all have our shortcomings, and because nearly all of us at some times or other do not live up to our own personal standards, we are all hypocrites. We shouldn't shun him as he deals with what he feels is a dramatic personal failure. Nor should we shun him because he failed to live up to the standards that he espoused.
I appreciate the sentiments of Glenden Brown at OneUtah, who says
And despite his raging hypocrisy and his long track record of harmful legislation, it’s truly difficult not to feel some sympathy for him.
I don't agree that his hypocrisy was raging, nor that he had a long track record of harmful legislation, but I agree that, regardless of our perspective on this issue, we should sympathize with Larry Craig. We should sympathize with a man who didn't live up to what he expected of himself.
That's all too often part of life. We fall down. We get up and brush the dust off of our clothes, and we move on, hopefully in the direction of being a better person. Mr. Craig, I don't think you're anymore of a hypocrite than the rest of us are.