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Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014

How the mighty have fallen

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

(Photo)
So the big Indiana news today is that Indiana Rep. Mark Souder, who served for eight terms, resigned from Congress after admitting he had an extramarital affair with a part-time staff member.

As soon as the news broke this morning, blogs, chat rooms and social networking sites across the Internet were burning up with comments about Souder and his actions.

My eighth grade English teacher, Bob Undeen, used to say that "People love to see burning babies being thrown out windows."

Indeed.

I'll bet Tiger Woods is glad someone's taking the attention away from him, at least in the Hoosier State.

As I read what people had to say about the Souder situation (and they had plenty to say), I realized that so many people, in my opinion, were focusing on the wrong things.

The Democrats were happy this had happened to a Republican.

Exactly what does that have to do with anything?

Remember a guy by the name of Bill Clinton? He slipped up a little too, and the Democrats were up in arms that the Republicans were making his failings a political issue.

It's OK now, though? Why is it different now that the shoe is on the other foot?

Infidelity, I would think, has little to do with one's political leanings. Things happen.

In the same way that I know all black men wouldn't knock over a 7-11, I know that every Democrat -- or Republican -- isn't predisposed to be unfaithful.

There are criminals of every race and ethnicity.

There are also cheaters of both political parties, I'm sure.

Life happens. People make mistakes.

I know I do.

The difference is, I'm not quite as public a figure as Mark Souder.

Yes, Souder promoted abstinance education, and that smacks a little bit of hypocrisy. He has been vocal about family values and traditional marriage, and maybe his actions fly in the face of all he's always said he stood for.

But you know what? He's human, just like you and me.

Can any of us say that we've always, in every situation, held true to every belief we ever had? Have you never bent to outside pressure and done anything that was totally outside your belief system?

Sure, you probably regretted it afterwards.

Or at least you regretted getting caught.

I know that's true for me.

Mark Souder has fessed up --very publicly. I don't share many of his views, but I had to give him props for coming clean so quickly. I have to give credit where credit is due.

"I am so ashamed to have hurt the ones I love," Souder said during a news conference as he battled tears. "I am sorry to have let so many friends down, people who have worked so hard for me."

Souder seems contrite, and I want to believe he is. I like to believe the best about people.

You know, regardless of their political affiliation.

I actually think Gov. Mitch Daniels, a man I really like and respect and have always had pleasant dealings with, said it best.

"He did a wrong thing but now he's done the right thing," Daniels said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Does Souder's talk about how young people should abstain from sex "until in a committed, faithful relationship" ring somewhat hollow now?

Maybe. But to me, the bigger issue is that someone's marriage and family are now in peril.

Those are the things I consider to be important.

It just kills me that people will talk about how it violates people's rights when crimes they commit are reported on. They deserve privacy, people claim.

Yet when something like this happens, people can't wait for the person who was in the wrong to be dragged into the street for a public flogging -- even though what happened doesn't really affect anyone but the people involved.

If someone could explain to me how no one deserves to know that someone has been arrested for child molesting but everyone needs to know all the gory details of Mark Souder's private life, I'd be more than willing to listen.

People are people, whether they are black, white, purple, polka-dotted, Republicans or Democrats.

I think we all need to be more cognizant of how we treat one another, especially when things are upended for other people.

How easily could that be us?

If you're not directly involved, I'd say information about the lives of others should be strictly a need-to-know proposition.

Jamie Barrand is the editor of the Banner Graphic. Her e-mail is jbarrand@bannergraphic.com.