By Katharine Miller
I am from New York. I am also a Democrat. My love of politics really began as a little girl, listening to my parents talk at the dinner table. But I really fell in love in the summer of 2006. I had just turned seventeen; Eliot Spitzer was running for governor of New York. My burgeoning political sensibilities had already led to a profound dislike of then-governor George Pataki, and the thought of a Democrat running the state thrilled me. My sisters and I collected pins, bumper stickers, and lawn signs from our local Democratic representatives, proudly distributing and displaying them throughout our tiny Upstate village. I plastered the walls of my room with signs extolling the Spitzer/Paterson ticket, which proclaimed “Day One, Everything Changes.” Starry blue and red Spitzer pens adorned my backpack, my coat, my duffel bag. I even covered my laundry basket in Spitzer bumper stickers.
Almost a year after Mr. Spitzer’s appointment, Senator Larry Craig found himself the most recent Washington politico to become embroiled in sexual scandal. I wrote an article for The Villanova Times–my first ever– examining the incident, as well as sexual scandals in politics throughout our nation’s history.
Now, a semester later, I am stunned and disappointed that I (and all Americans) have been forced to turn away from yet another politician because of sexual misdeeds. And not just any politician– my politician.
As a little girl, I could not understand why the nation was so outraged by President Clinton’s infidelity. So many men and women cheat on their spouses: why was his individual transgression such a crime? But now, having experienced the feelings of betrayal that such duplicitous actions bring, I understand the national outcry. I am far from cynical– I refuse to allow a politician to make me so– however, I am somewhat disillusioned. I believed in Governor Spitzer; I was enthusiastic about his governorship, his innovative ideas. That all changed yesterday.
Today, a friend walked into my room and started laughing hysterically. I asked her why, and she pointed to my laundry basket, still painted blue with Spitzer stickers. I hadn’t realized how much the governor’s misdeed had hurt me– until that moment. In that second of speechlessness, the effects of Mr. Spitzer’s actions upon all who had believed in him were driven home. And it hurt.