here) and Facebook. Now that I've had some time to process some stuff and read some stuff and deal with some stuff, I thought I might talk about it. But not so much the Presidential Election.
Rather, I want to address a few smaller contests that grabbed some attention. First, there was dual-disaster that was Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin. By now, you have undoubtedly heard the buzz about their unthinking words about women and rape and God's plan, so I won't go into it here. But I was proud to watch their constituents ultimately decide they didn't want that kind of rhetoric representing them. It wasn't necessarily that these were bad men; they just used words (such power, those things) that reflected extreme and ignorant views, and the people of their communities simply said: NO. I also found it interesting that it was still a relatively close contest. It's not as though no one voted for them; just fewer voted than they hoped.
Locally, we had the case of Scott DesJarlais. As I now live in GA, this case is not personally relevant, but I take it personally because DesJarlais represents my parents in the 4th District of Tennessee. A few weeks prior to the election, our local newspaper broke this news: DesJarlais, a practicing physician, had an extra-marital affair. With a patient. And then encouraged her to have an abortion. Even though he is staunchly conservative and vocally Pro-Life. Now, he explains that he only pressured her to have an abortion because he knew she wasn't actually pregnant, and he was just trying to get her to admit it. Oh. Ok. That's fine, then. But then, we learned of this news: another affair. With another patient. Who he prescribed pain medication for on dates. And smoked marijuana with. Clearly, dude has some ethical problems to work through, and everyone saw the writing on the wall: endorsements were pulled, conservatives backed off, the Democratic party saw their chance and pushed hard on a contest they were never going to win otherwise. Just like Mourdock and Akin, right?
DesJarlais was reelected. By a wide margin. I simply don't know what to do with that information. I honestly believe that Mourdock and Akin are not bad people. Misinformed, ignorant, and short-sighted, perhaps, but not essentially bad. In the case of DesJarlais, I'm not convinced. I don't see any of these revelations as merely bad decisions made in the moment. If they are true, and I don't think he has denied any of them, they seem to me indicative of a poisoned character. And though I don't necessarily think our elected officials should be somehow more than human, I do believe we have the right to hold them to a higher standard. To adopt some of the expectations of what Plato defines in The Republic as philosopher-kings. Plato had a bit of an elitism problem, certainly, but his argument that the best of the best should be governing the people is a decent one. We are a representative democracy, so when we cast our votes, we are choosing the person we want to go out into the world on our behalf. What they say and what they do, the words they choose, and the company they keep, these things have power. Certainly, everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes dramatic, costly ones. But to see this man reelected makes me think the voters of that district were either completely uninformed or thought a Democrat (any democrat) was worse than an evil, manipulative, deceitful man. They wouldn't send their daughters to his medical practice, but they have no problem with sending him back to Washington on their behalf.
I'm at a loss.