Monday, March 10, 2008


It’s not a huge shock that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has now been linked to a prostitution ring. That’s not to say there was any indication of this type of behavior. But when a man in power refers to himself as a “f---ing steamroller,” you can tell he’s more than a little full of himself. And when you’re full of yourself – full of pride actually, the top ranking deadly sin – you’re bound to think you can get away with anything and that you’re beyond the rules that apply to everybody else. Or maybe you just think you can’t get caught because you’re so powerful.

This scandal is certainly nothing to take joy in especially because there are innocents like the Governor’s wife and children to think about. The kind of public flogging Spitzer will take in the coming days will probably be brutal. Watching that happen to your father can’t be easy. The only positive thing that may come out of this is that Gov. Spitzer will be reintroduced to the virtue of humility.

When people reach positions of power, it’s inevitable that they’re going to get a little big for their britches now and then. Even people with little power need to be reminded of this sometimes. I know that when things go well for me at work and I start to think I’m pretty damn great, something else will happen – usually as a result of my swelled head - to bring me back down to earth.

It’s so important that leaders never get too detached from their sense of humility in life, from the realization that they’re fallible human beings who don’t know it all and who are prone to mistakes. Jesus’ anger in the gospels is usually directed at the religious leaders who always seemed to think they were better than everybody else. You’d think we would learn from that lesson. Instead, we always need to be reminded that unhealthy pride breeds false confidence.

Hopefully, Gov. Spitzer will learn from this and become a more humble person as a result. The other alternative is that he’ll dig in his heels and insist that his transgression was not as big a deal as it’s being made out. If he opts for the former, he’ll likely receive forgiveness and possibly become a better leader as a result. He may even be a little more open to working with the Catholic Church on issues it cares about instead of proposing inhumane amendments to the New York Constitution that would solidify an unrestricted, nine-month right to abortion forever. If he digs in his heels, on the other hand, get set for a sideshow that could rival the Clinton/Obama campaign.

Time will tell.

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