Just Like You

People love to express their outrage about the Congress. How can lawmakers spend so much money? How can they run up huge deficits? How can they act so stupid and get caught up in scandals? Aren't they supposed to behave better since we elected them?

The simple answer is, "No."

It all goes back to what my father told me on my first day of work on Capitol Hill.

"They don't call it the House of Representatives for nothing," he said, as he pulled the car up to drop me off at the Capitol, 31 years ago next week.

And that simple advice has again been proven with the case of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).

How could he send photos to women over the internet? How could he do that to his wife?

Well, he could do that because there are probably a lot of other people doing the same thing behind the back of their spouse - the difference is that they aren't members of Congress, so they don't have their foibles splashed on the internet for all to see.

How could teenagers sext with each other? Well, a lot of adults are probably doing it, too.

So it shouldn't be a shock that members of the Congress are doing the same, and that we have now seen two shirtless lawmakers (one from each party from New York) in just the last four months.

Of course, there might be a much simpler explanation here as well, which comes from a college friend of my father's.

"When the blood moves South, all bets are off," he would say.

One might have thought that seeing earlier this year how Republican Chris Lee went from member of Congress to submitting a resignation letter in two hours over a shirtless photo of himself, that those events might have registered in the mind of Anthony Weiner.

But obviously, he didn't learn a lesson there.

And most likely, neither did the people who complain about the misguided behavior of those elected to Congress.

They'll keep sleeping around, spending too much, running up big credit card bills and exchanging inappropriate messages and photos over the internet.

Even while they condemn others who do that.

It doesn't excuse Weiner's behavior, but it is a reminder that the people whom we elect to the Congress are not on some kind of pedestal above us.

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