Friday, June 26, 2009

Is It Worth It?

Now I don’t normally comment on current events in my blog but the scandal involving South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford as well as some disturbing statistics I’d heard about infidelity got me thinking. According to one study almost half of married men and a third of married women admit to being unfaithful. So, I have to ask, “Is it really worth it?”

In Governor Sanford’s case, he has lost a lot and the damage that he’s done to his career (and most likely his marriage) is beyond repair. Here is a man who many thought could be the 2012 Republican nominee for president. He’s governor of a state in addition to being a husband and a father.

He disappears for five days leaving the highest office in the state vacant. He lies about his whereabouts, leaves the country and spends five days in Argentina breaking up with his mistress. His marriage is in shambles, his children will be affected, he’s already resigned his position as the head of the South Carolina Republican Party and is no longer a contender in the 2012 presidential race.

So, was it worth it?

Maybe it was. Maybe Sanford didn’t want to be the Republican Party’s golden boy. Maybe he didn’t want to be married. Maybe he didn’t even want to be governor. If he was looking for a way out — a way off the speeding train that was his career — then he got it. And one can argue that it was worth it.

However, if he thought he could juggle a wife, a mistress, running a state, being courted for a run at the presidency and not be adversely affected, then he was wrong. So wrong.

The stakes are unusually high for Sanford, but a lot of people gamble with their lives, their marriages, their children’s lives, their reputations and sometimes even their jobs when they make the series of choices that lead to infidelity. So I ask again, is it worth it?

And it isn’t just infidelity. People gamble every day when they make the series of choices that lead to embezzlement, tax evasion, drunk driving, plagiarism, and the consequences can be very high. Yet, if we take a minute and really consider what will happen after the initial thrill is gone, when you look at the possible outcomes (a lot more negative than positive), is it worth it?

Is the short-term pleasure worth the long-term pain? Is it really worth it?

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