- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 19, 2011


What is it that makes us all think we can get away with it?

And by all, I mean all men. It seems that across the board, and irrespective of political affiliation, men have failed at exhibiting the better part of valor when it comes to sex.

But what many forget is the fact that married men cheat all the time. The alarming divorce rate and rate of out-of-wedlock births alone is proof enough of this. So it should come as no surprise that men who reach the pinnacles of power succumb to some of the same problems that mere mortals struggle with every day.

Or should it? After all, people in power know that fame is a double-edged sword. It amplifies your successes and failures alike. You would think that discretion in sexual matters would be on the first page of the public figure’s handbook. And yet, time and again, the sexual indiscretions of powerful men spill out of the bedroom and onto the front page.

New York Rep. Anthony D. Weiner’s elaborate schemes to expose himself might speak to what many scientific studies have described as the highly visual nature of male sexuality. If men are highly visual and instantly aroused, it might explain their impulsive behavior when it comes to sex. There seems to be something of an existential question at work here, too. In this society, the womans body is everywhere for men to ogle. Its at the bus stop, at the grocery store and all over the airwaves. The male form is not so widely worshipped. Perhaps there is a longing among some men to be seen in a sexual way by the object of their affection. Its almost as if they dont believe they exist unless someone is around to admire them.

Although the sexual habits of those in power tend to reflect the broader population, they are amplified to some extent. In order to understand it, one has to consider that men seek power, wealth and social status ultimately to win the affection of women. It is perhaps the very drive for successful procreation that drives men to achieve greatness, which also accounts for the seemingly illogical and risky behavior they display while in power. The thrill of the chase doesnt always wear off once a man has gotten married and settled.

But this brings up a real question about leadership. Some would question whether a man who has cheated on his spouse and lied about it to the public the way Mr. Weiner did is really fit for leadership. My question is, given what we know now about men in power, are they any less qualified once their indiscretions have surfaced than they were before? The answer is yes and no.

One thing needs to be said about Twitter, however. It has become the pool on which so many young narcissists now reflect themselves. But so far no meaningful social etiquette for using it has been developed. Twitter, like most social networking tools, was designed by some of the least socially adept people in the society. Think of a college-aged Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs hanging in a corner at a frat party Twittering instead of talking to any of the real girls in front of them.

Social networking, in this sense, tends to mask rather than erase a sense of social distance that many people feel. It is this awkwardness that the networks attempt to erase. It was supposed to be the nerd getting one over on the frat boy. But in the end leadership and popularity still comes down to developing social graces and acting in a certain acceptable way, no matter how many Facebook stock options you might hold.

Armstrong Williams is on Sirius Power 128, 7 to 8 p.m. and 4 to 5 a.m., Monday through Friday. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arightside, and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/arightside. Read his content on RightSideWire.com.



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