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Here's Appalachian Trail "hiker" Mark Sanford after winning a special election for a U.S. House seat in South Carolina's first district last night....
“Some guy came up to me the other day and said you look a lot like Lazarus,” Sanford told the crowd Tuesday night, referring to the man who, according to the Bible, Christ raised from the dead. “I’ve talked a lot about grace during the course of this campaign,” he said. “Until you experience human grace as a reflection of God’s grace, I don’t think you really get it. And I didn’t get it before.”
Huh? Mark Sanford looks a lot like the biblical Lazarus.....because Sanford was known to be dead and now has been resurrected? Oh, for christ's sake.
Grace in religion-speak is best understood as unmerited favor. As the Christian doctrine goes, god grants all of us poor sinners his grace....his unmerited favor...because if he didn't, all of us would get what we deserve.....which is damnation and eternal hell fire. To many, all this talk of god's grace is just utter nonsense....but for some primarily-Republican politicos, god's grace conveniently lines up with their own political strategy.
Such is the case with Mark Sanford. I watched Sanford's press conference after he returned from his Appalachian Trail adventure. It was the oddest damn thing I had ever witnessed. Sanford had repeatedly lied about his whereabouts attempting to hide his ongoing affair with his trail "hiking" partner, who was not his wife.....and then upon Sanford's return, the former S. Carolina governor immediately rushed to a microphone to....well....ramble on, Oprah-style about his new love affair.
Last night, South Carolina voters in the first district rewarded Sanford for such odd behavior by sending the Trail Blazer to represent them in the U.S. House of Representatives. And that win led Sanford to spout this....“Until you experience human grace as a reflection of God’s grace, I don’t think you really get it. And I didn’t get it before.”
You see, voters in S. Carolina's first district bequeathed their unmerited favor on Sanford last night....they forgave Sanford for, as governor, Blazing Trails with someone who wasn't his wife....and they apparently also forgave him for unlawfully trespassing at his former wife's home once the smoke from the "hiking" cleared all the divorce papers. Sanford said he "gets it" now. Sanford understands god's grace now, where he didn't before....and his re-election last night made it possible for him to understand. He didn't deserve to win the House seat, but voters draped their unmerited grace-forgiveness over Sanford's shoulders last night....and that helped the former governor to finally "get it."
Hey, that approach has worked for Newt Gingrich....several times. So, why shouldn't Mark Sanford give it a try? Louisiana Senator David Vitter remains a senator today even though he solicited prostitutes in his home state as well as in New York City. A senator in good standing. God's, and voter's, grace is simply amazing....isn't it?
But grace, whether media grace, voter grace or god's grace....unmerited favor.....is reserved for traditional values conservatives only. People like....John Edwards or Elliot Spitzer or Bill Clinton can never experience media or voter grace because.....well....those 'Democrat' Party members are not traditional moral values kind of people.
Former GOP Senator John Ensign of Nevada, another traditional moral values kind of guy, was lavished with so much grace from conservative voters and Village media that he remained in the Senate long after news about cuckolding his best friend's wife....and covering it up with bribe money....became public knowledge. Ensign finally resigned rather than face Senate ethics charges. Grace is great.....and convenient too.
My point here is that of the double standard. When conservative and Republican elected officials do "sinful" sexytime stuff....and get caught....the fragrance of grace and forgiveness automatically fills the political air. Republicans are the political party of traditional family and moral values dontchaknow....even when GOP elected officials hike non-traditional trails.
Conveniently and strategically....Mark Sanford played the humble, contrite petitioner during his short campaign to win the first district's House seat......efforts meant to remind the Bible-belted, traditional values voters of god's forgiveness of those who repent......and it worked. Bastardizing god's grace and forgiveness for the purpose of returning to the public trough.....works.
Elected officials of the 'Democrat' Party who get caught hiking down some unacceptable, sexytime trail......are almost always removed from office.
Maybe god just likes Republicans better.