AC360° Contributor and CNN Political Analyst
Every human being who witnessed or heard about the spectacle of Governor Mark Sanford's press conference yesterday had to feel extraordinary sympathy for the Governor's wife and family.
Everyone, that is, except for Governor Mark Sanford, Senator David Vitter, Senator John Ensign, former Senator Larry Craig, and former Congressman Mark Foley.
Despite the sex scandals that each one of these right wing "family values" politicians brought on themselves and their families, they have made a career of dividing families. The pain that Mrs. Sanford and her children are experiencing is a salient reminder to many other citizens and families who have suffered as a result of the divisive rhetoric and discriminatory policies of these self-righteous and hypocritical politicians.
These elected officials and their colleagues in the self-proclaimed "conservative moral movement" have used faith to preach fear and polling data to justify prejudice. Throughout their political careers, they have tried to dictate the definition of a moral American and a proper family. They have tried to create laws that restrict a woman's decision about her health and body and have denied personal rights and human dignity to gay and lesbian Americans. These are reflections of the immorality of their movement.
That is the true scandal. Their personal behavior not only traumatized their families, but their official conduct in public office violates our principles as a just and caring society.
Now I know that many will bring up the scandals regarding the personal behavior of former President Bill Clinton, former Governor Eliot Spitzer, former Governor Jim McGreevey and former Senator John Edwards. As wrong and destructive as their behaviors were, these men did not try to dictate to us how we should live our lives, nor did they try to manipulate the United States Constitution to force their own moral agenda on our country.
The Sanford family deserves privacy and prayers during this very difficult period. The American family will survive these demagogues. In fact, this latest scandal can serve as an important call to action in standing up to government officials that use the pretense of "morality" to divide and discriminate against the American family.
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