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By now you’ve probably heard about the sex scandal involving New York’s Governor Spitzer. The New York Post online reports, that sources are telling them, that he solicited prostitutes for at least 6 years; some sources are saying 10 years, with up to $80,000 spent on the past-time.

Should we care? Yes. Apparently Governor Spitzer is a “holier-than-thou” type, who is disliked by many. Known as “Mr. Clean”, “The Sheriff of Wall Street”, and “Mr. Morality”, he has ferociously gone after those involved in unethical and shady practices. He is known to be ruthless, and is said to have a nasty, out of control temper. He was elected by a landslide, with a promise to “lead by example.” What an example–spending $4,300 on a call-girl named Kristen. As an attorney general, he led investigations into prostitution. There is one word for his actions-hypocrisy.

I believe that what a leader does in his private life profoundly affects his public life. It’s a matter of character, and usually where there is one major transgression, there are also many others.

Spitzer ran on a platform of fighting corruption, and promoting ethics. Described as “arrogant” by many, his actions surely speak louder than his words. He has also been characterized as “self-righteous and unforgiving.” Almost no one is coming to his defense, and almost everyone is demanding his resignation. Republicans in the State Legislature are reported to be considering impeachment hearings if he does not resign. (Word is out that he plans to resign on Wednesday.)

The international sex ring that he was involved with, Emperors Club VIP, was raided by the feds, and its mastermind, Mark Brener, was indicted.  Governor Spitzer’s bank had previously alerted authorities that there were many suspicious wire transfers in his account.  Later, Spitzer was overheard on a wiretap, purchasing the sexual favors of a girl named Kristen.

Leaders are called to integrity and honor. (Or at least they used to be.) They should be examples of good morality and ethics. But that is not true anymore, for political leaders or even church leaders. Scandal after scandal has left us numb.

If you saw the governor’s wife, Silda Spitzer, standing by his side, then you saw a lot of pain on her face. (It hurt to look at her.)  Call me old-fashioned, but commitment and faithfulness means everything to me, and I believe it is still important to the vast majority of people. (They also have three daughters who will be greatly affected by their father’s actions.)

Someday, I am sure that we, as a society, will no longer hold politicians and leaders accountable for immoral and unethical behavior, because that is the direction we are headed. But that will be a very sad day, because character counts. It counts in supremely huge ways that affect all of us. If you want to lead a compromising lifestyle, then don’t be a leader. It’s as simple as that. To me, integrity is the measure of a man…


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