Today Nashville Mayor Megan Barry plead guilty to felony theft and resigned as mayor of Nashville. Barry had been carrying on an affair with the head of her security detail. Both of them were married at the time. As often happens with these things, this apparently involved activity that happened on the clock, questionable travel expenses, and getting the daughter of the person she was having an affair with a job.
Meanwhile in Missouri, Gov. Eric Greitens is under indictment for felony invasion of privacy after he had an affair with his former hairdresser and allegedly made threats against her if she told people about it. At this point he has not resigned, but it’s not looking good for him.
Both Barry and Greitens had been riding high until these affairs. These sorts of scandals create a media circus, lots of drama, etc. But one question that’s always in the back of everyone’s mind is why they would do such a thing in light of how dangerous and foolish it was?
We like to cast blame on people who lapse into these kinds of failings. And of course they do bear the responsibility for their actions.
But it’s important to be clear that this is the human condition. All of us are tempted into things we should not do. And all of us occasionally even do them. If we have less opportunity or temptation for major scandal than a mayor or governor, then our failure to succumb is no credit to us.
The lesson we should take away is that we ourselves are probably more vulnerable to temptations than we’d like to admit. If people like Barry and Greitens with everything to lose and nothing to gain can fall, what makes us think we are immune?
Vice President Mike Pence took a lot of heat for his “Pence rule” against dining alone with women. He understands a lot better than most that anyone can give in to temptation. And as Megan Barry goes to show, it’s not just men.
We would be well served to keep ourselves far away from temptations to financial improprieties, affairs, etc. Because everyone is at risk of falling in the right circumstances. If it can happen to them, it can happen to us.