Thursday, February 17, 2011

Do we need our politicians to become Oprah-ized?

Revelations by Senator Scott Brown that he was sexually abused follow by weeks Governor Deval Patrick’s going public with the depth of wife Diane’s depression. Do we really need this tell-all trend? Do we want to know the gory details?

Certainly it will help sell their memoirs, about to be published. Is that what it takes in this message-overloaded media environment? Maybe. And, for some readers, it may make them even more sympathetic human beings.

But really, isn’t what really matters what these political figures do, what are the values they pursue in their work? Traditionally, the only place it has been helpful to know these intimate details is in measuring the hypocrisy quotient in an official’s behavior: the guy who vehemently opposes abortion but whose teenage daughter had one; the anti-gay zealot who is secretly homosexual; the insistent promoter of traditional marriage who plays around on the side.
And yet, Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan raises an interesting point: Brown, she says, is performing a service for silent abuse sufferers, those afraid to come forward, those who believe they can never trust anyone or be successful in life, those who believe they are ruined and can never rise above the incident of abuse.

Diane Patrick says she has stepped forward about her history of depression and early domestic abuse (prior to her marriage to the Governor) precisely because her story may help others believe they, too, can overcome. It does take courage to come forward with one’s intimate history of events that have caused shame to burn in one’s soul. If doing that can bring relief in one’s own life and help others resolve turmoil in theirs, then it’s probably a good thing.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

1 comment:

  1. A post-script to yesterday's comments - Peter Gelzinis in Friday's Boston Herald has a very thoughtful piece on Brown's hypocrisy during last year's election. Brown supported the congressional candidacy of former policeman Jeff Perry, accused of doing nothing while a fellow cop sexually assaulted a 14-year old. Gelzinis points out that Brown at the time was totally dismissive of the sexual abuse victim's efforts to have her story told.