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Published June 26 2011

Nelson: They do it because they’re men

Ho hum. Another month, another male politician in trouble for infidelity and stupidity, this time the appropriately named Congressman Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y. He follows a long train of powerful men such as John Ensign and Arnold Schwarzenegger who’ve managed to end their political careers or marriages for brief pleasures of the flesh. Why do they act so?

Because they’re men. We shouldn’t be surprised, after all. Nature, or nature’s God, designed men to roam and make sexual conquests. As the Yul Brynner character states in “The King and I,” the bee flits from flower to flower, not the flower from bee to bee. It’s civilization’s job to channel and control such excessive behavior. One answer in early societies was polygamy.

Marriage and domesticity are healthy for men, but those are not the first thoughts they entertain as they grow up. Surprisingly enough, in our modern sex-saturated society, we misunderstand and toy with those urges. Especially uninformed are many American women who willingly encourage a reckless male drive – apparently most of Weiner’s female contacts played along with and were pleased to respond in kind to his juvenile posts.

It takes two to tango. The greater wrong in these political cases is on the men’s parts: They’re breaking solemn promises made to their wives, while the women they dally with are typically single. But Mildred Baena, who bore Schwarzenegger’s child out of wedlock, told his wife, Maria Shriver, that "it wasn’t Arnie’s fault, that it takes two.” Unlike all the dishonorable women who gladly sleep with men they know are married and then pile on for their 15 minutes of fame once the cat is out of the bag, Baena (a Guatemalan) actually seems to understand that she’s partly responsible for what happened. Uncorrupted by American thinking, she seems to have a better sense of the dynamic of sex between men and women than most Americans do.

Unlike the familial approval of the local Hooters woman going to the nationals, I suspect Baena would think that encouraging male lust, even if lucrative, is probably a poor idea.

Weiner’s case brings up some points worth pursuing. He was forced to resign, while President Bill Clinton, who practiced oral sex (see the Starr Report) in the White House with an intern, skated by. Apparently a good economy helps us forgive all. We’re just sour right now.

Anecdotally, these unfaithful politicians cast doubt on the traditional theory of rape, which is that it’s an exercise in power, not lust. Yet these many men freely risked their power and stations in life, and surely knew they were doing so to satisfy their lust. Men will use power to get what they want, but it’s a means, not an end. Just ask Anthony Weiner.

Nelson is a Fargo postal worker and contributor to The Forum’s commentary pages.