Friday, December 16, 2011

But this time he means it

Most of us remember starting each elementary school day by standing with our little hands over our hearts pledging allegiance to the flag.

We were certainly too young to fully understand that men and women had died for what this pledge signified, but most of us came to appreciate that making a pledge, a promise in effect, was a big deal and not to be taken lightly. So we are supposed to be impressed by the pledges made in this political silly season.

In the latest version, Newt Gingrich, disgraced former speaker of the House of Representatives and current candidate for the Republican nomination for president, has agreed to raise his pen and sign the "I promise not to cheat on my wife—this time" pledge.

Gingrich claims to be an expert on the 14th amendment, but he's obviously not one on the seventh commandment.

A master of hypocrisy, Gingrich began his affair with his current wife while engineering the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for the high crime of lying about cheating on his wife.

Gingrich promises to "uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others." Except gays. He would "vigorously enforce" the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

The problem for the country is not Gingrich's infidelity. It is that pledges like this cheapen the whole concept of making vows and keeping them. Perhaps it is time for candidates for public office to return to pledges that actually reflect fundamental beliefs rather than just hypocritically pander for votes.

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