Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Politicians Who Lie

Politicians’ sexual lives are exposed. Some people don’t want to vote for a man who frequents prostitutes or who is sexting women other than his wife, along with naked and/or pornographic photos. Some male politicians act out sexually with men while denouncing homosexuality. Since America seems to believe in monogamy, if not in actuality at least in the ideal, these married politicians are suspect.

I am not condemning anyone for sexual behaviors between consenting adults, and I am not trying to evaluate any one politician’s behaviors. Even though I am a psychotherapist, I do not know these people personally or professionally.

What intrigues me is that they are mostly men and that they seem to lie so well. My list includes JFK, Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner. How these powerful men can look a reporter or America in the eye and tell us that they are not acting out sexually when in fact they are, is amazing. They are so good at lying, it’s scary.
Let’s examine lying. All people lie at some point in their lives, if not every day. Withholding the truth or lies of omission are common. Perhaps more important are the frequency, severity, and content of the lies as well as the power these politicians have. We Americans want good decision makers, and I know that at least one of these men has done incredible work for our nation and for the world. Some don’t like Bill Clinton for political reasons or for lying to America, but he has become a respected humanitarian throughout the world.

An excellent politician may need to be a good salesman. Getting others to believe in you, getting their agreement to be led by you, are no small feats. But, do they really want to help our country and be good public servants, or are they mainly feeding their own egos, having some great insecurity inside? Probably both. Narcissists can be charming, enjoyable and downright cunning, desperately needing and wanting excellent feedback from their populace. Some self-destruct.

Some people call these behaviors, sex addiction. Addiction may mean that one is powerless over the object of their passionate need. Others believe it is more complex and complicated, and that compulsive acting out is a coping strategy, a pattern that one uses frequently to manage feelings and problems within. These may be age old behaviors that we just didn’t hear about as much before, now that we have a 24 hour news cycle and hacking.

I ask us to use intelligent exploration and careful analysis about who makes decisions about us and our country. Surely there are some politicians who can be just as if not more effective than some of these who need the fame and power of political position to feed that part of themselves than never gets filled up. Like a bucket with a tiny hole, they are in constant need of replenishment. 

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