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The Weiner Dilemma

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From Reader Supported News

Jim Sideris (L), a supporter of Congressman Anthony Weiner,
argues with Kevin Hiltunen (R) rallying for Weiner's resignation
outside his office in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, 06/12/11.
(photo: Getty Images)

The original title for this piece was penciled in as "Anthony Weiner, Step Down." But the comments from our readers over the past 48 hours leave no doubt that such a headline and position would be premature. Within the RSN community Anthony Weiner still has substantial support. So we are left with a dilemma.

Life as a public official is harsh. It's an arena more than a job, often replete with lions lying in wait for the less-fortunate contestants. Anthony Weiner knew it when he took the job, and he knew it when he sent the photographs at the center of the firestorm that now envelops his congressional career.

One has to wonder if Anthony Weiner wasn't taking unjustifiable risks to appease some inner need to live, on the edge, so to speak. Who would take such risks with nothing to gain? The thought process seems to come from a Scorsese film.

Taken on the whole, Weiner's social networking indiscretions are tame when viewed against the backdrop of today's digital interactions. Everybody's doing it: Yahoo!, and Twitter! and Facebook! If you were offended by what Anthony Weiner did, remain calm; it gets a lot wilder than that out there in cyberland. Former NFL quarterback and hall of fame candidate Brett Favre was another high-profile sexting suspect. It's not clear that Favre's intimate anatomy was indeed featured in the images said to have been sent by him, but whoever's intimate anatomy was featured in those images was even more, how shall we say, "liberated" than Anthony Weiner.

It's particularly galling that Weiner would be dragged into this media frenzy by Andrew Breitbart, a creature of such low moral character that a common alley rat would appear noble in comparison. Anthony Weiner's professional work, on the other hand, is steeped in dedication to principle and devotion to good cause.

It's not fair, it's politics.

Nonetheless, social progress and reform, all causes Weiner championed, are too important to be jeopardized by Anthony Weiner's poor judgment. It is now time for his closest colleagues to close ranks and put the best interest of the communities they serve back in the forefront. Anthony Weiner consistently and tirelessly fought for the best interests of the people he served. If his political career is to survive these indiscretions, it will be due in large measure to the support of a community that appreciates his dedication.

Chances for Anthony Weiner's survival in congress: I'll say 40%.

Note to all social-networkers: Be careful what you upload, things move quickly in cyberland.

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Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, now the founder, editor and publisher of Reader Supported News: http://www.readersupportednews.org

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