There’s something to be said about a married man who trawls for women online. Thankfully whatever former Congressman Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) will say about it now, few people will be listening to him for much longer because he had the decency to resign when the evidence against his misdeeds was too glaring to ignore.
Lee, 46, was outed by Gawker for having posed as a divorced man looking for a date online, sending at least one woman flirtatious emails and a topless photo of himself. He released a statement yesterday:
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness. The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately.”
As much as he regrets the harm that his actions have caused, I wonder how long his young son will live to regret his father’s actions, too. At least Lee got out quickly. Not all politicians have acted in a similar fashion once the jig was up.
When Bill Clinton was president and Monicagate was dominating the headlines, instead of getting in front of the story, admitting wrongdoing and painting an entirely truthful picture, Clinton denied and lied until he was impeached. What bothered me more than the fact that our nation’s leader humiliated himself and, somehow, all of us along the way, was the idea that his poor daughter was suffering unknown amounts of embarrassment and heartache because of her father.
The list is long — and includes Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer and John Edwards — of people in political office who have clung to their positions and lied about their sexual transgressions only to be brought down in spectacular fashion. And most of them had children waiting at home while it was all going on.
A lot can be said about Chris Lee, but at least the buzz will die down quicker now that he no longer holds an elected office. It might take him a long time to appreciate it, but I have no doubt his son will do just that one day.
Image: Wikimedia Commons