The Return of Anthony Weiner

[Content Note: Sexual harassment.]

So, former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who was once upon a time a fiery progressive who routinely spoke out on behalf of women's equality until he was busted tweeting a picture of his junk, is thinking about running for Mayor of NYC. And ahead of that potential run, he and Huma Abedin, the extraordinarily talented Hillary Clinton aide who is married to Weiner, sat down with Jonathan Van Meter of the New York Times for a series of interviews that turned into this long and very interesting piece published today.

I loved reading about how much support Abedin got from her colleagues and boss; it's an important part of the story and I'm glad Van Meter treated it that way.

It was interesting to read Weiner's take on his behavior—what motivated him and what he was (and wasn't) thinking at the time—and how it provides a window into why it is that politics appeals to men who are likely to engage in destructive behavior in pursuit of approval.

But I was disheartened to find no evidence (maybe because of editorial license, but maybe because it just doesn't exist to include) that Weiner has accepted, internalized, and processed the serious consent issues around sending an unsolicited sexual picture.

Sending a solicited sexual picture to a consenting recipient while a sitting Congressman is self-destructive behavior. Sending an unsolicited sexual picture to a nonconsenting recipient no matter who you are is harmful behavior.

(In either case, there may be auxiliary harm to spouse, family, constituents, etc.)

Until Weiner can straightforwardly address that he understands the difference between the two, which necessitates decentering his own perspective and empathizing with his victims (beyond his wife), he doesn't belong in public office. There are already enough people holding public office who don't understand or don't care about or actually regard as a feature of their position, their capacity to harm.

We don't need any more.

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