Sexting, Security Cameras, and NSA Crackdowns

Can anyone get away with infidelity anymore?

Today, it seems impossible for politicians to get away with an affair. Social media, security cameras, surveillance from the NSA – with modern day technologies, there is simply no where left to hide. While private citizens no doubt feel the impact of technology making the world smaller and less private, for politicians, the limelight can be uncomfortably claustrophobic. While America’s elect used to enjoy a semblance of privacy, we now have the power to follow them closely, and knowing where they are, who they are with, how much money they spending, and more as become normal, even expected.

For some it is a hard lesson to learn. New York City’s Representative Anthony Weiner was caught in not one, but two sexting scandals before retreating from politics. Unlike unfaithful politicians of the past, Weiner did not physically consummate an affair, but did repeatedly send lewd pictures to females via Twitter. Although he quickly deleted the photos, the damage had been done – screen shots had already been sent to bloggers and journalists.

The first time Weiner was caught, he took a leave of absence from government to receive unspecified treatment for his actions; however, just a short time later, in June 2011, he officially resigned. In 2013 he re-entered the political sphere with a bid for New York’s mayor, but it didn’t take long before new sexts turned up. In both instances Weiner attempted to lie, but the evidence against him was simply too damning. Despite losing his career, Weiner is still married to his wife Huma Abedin, longtime aide to Hillary Clinton.

In April 2014, Vance McAllister also learned the hard way that someone is always watching. McAllister thought the office was empty when he enjoyed a lingering kiss with staffer Melissa Peacock, but a security camera caught the entire incident in an incredibly clear shot that was soon making its way around Washington. Peacock and the staffer who turned the video over to the media quickly resigned, but McAllsiter refused; nevertheless, the incident ruined his career. While he finished his term, he did not seek reelection. He said:

“There’s no doubt I made a mistake. I’ve failed those I care most about and let down the people who elected me to represent them. I take full responsibility for this personal failure and I’m truly sorry for what I did.”

While many, including President Barack Obama, say that men like Weiner and McAllister do the honorable thing by exiting politics, one has to wonder what kind of careers they left behind. As technology gets more advanced, it will no doubt catch more politicians cheating – are we going to ask each one to give up their post? America must acknowledge the fact that in doing so, we could lose some of our best leaders. In the end, is it really worth it?