I don’t necessarily disagree with the points made by BYU law professor Lynn D. Wardle in his Salt Lake Tribune editorial regarding the Elliott Spitzer affair (“Infidelity by elected officials rightfully is a public issue,” March 21). However, I think it’s important to step back and acknowledge that it is within the realm of possibility for a political leader to be both a good leader and an immoral person in his private life.
I find justification for this assertion in the Book of Mormon itself, one of the key scriptures held as true by Wardle’s sponsoring institution. The book of Ether tells us about a man named Morianton who rose to power. “And after that he had established himself king he did ease the burden of the people, by which he did gain favor in the eyes of the people, and they did anoint him to be their king. And he did do justice unto the people, but not unto himself because of his many whoredoms” (Ether 10:10-11).
So while Wardle is certainly right about the importance of example in public figures, perhaps we are too quick to pry and judge when it comes to politicians’ personal lives. I say we should keep the spotlight firmly on their public service and be very slow to make an issue of their personal lives. After all, from today’s perspective many of us would agree that Bill Clinton was overall a better leader of this nation than Bush, despite Clinton’s whoredoms in his personal life.