It was not unexpected, yet it all the same makes for a stunning headline. Even more sad as I sincerely think most people want to have faith in their elected officials.
But regardless of how we want things to be the top of the news feed this afternoon had one story that could not be missed.
Just two days after Rep. Bill Kramer decided not to run for re-election, a prosecutor said Wednesday that police have referred sexual assault charges to him against the Waukesha Republican.
For weeks we have read about the problems conservative Republican Bill Kramer had with drinking along with making unwanted sexual gropes and comments to women. There is no way to not recognize he has a serious problem that needs to be addressed, and yet I find more to this story than the legal end of it. That is not to say in any way I minimize the importance of this story, or the fact it needed to be brought to light, and handled. In fact, I called for an early resolution to this matter both in terms of the Republican Party meeting it head-on, and also for Kramer to immediately resign.
But here is yet again another stark example of a politician who had the responsibility of the voters upon his shoulders, but willfully and carelessly letting the role of civic leader fall away. If this only concerned Kramer it would not matter as much, as he did this to himself.
But this problem of an elected official making for a public scene, and one that allows for more jokes and stereotypes to be assigned to those in public office, does not serve the greater good. The last thing we need is another fallen leader, for whatever reason, and regardless of political party, to further stain our political system.
While such stories, and ones that are far worse than Kramer’s, fill the pages of history it never stops to be a sad moment when someone who has been granted the ability to lead throws it away. The fact is voters once again are left with a broken man who made promises to constituents and policy goals in campaigns but could not better control his own demons.
I understand I should be more humane with my judgment of a fallen person. But I also strongly feel our political system and our democracy requires advocates.