By: Camille Leon-Angelo
Many would consider Anthony Weiner to be a lucky man—he was given a second chance.
Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, is one of Hillary Clinton’s top advisors. She stood by him in 2011 when the 46-year-old Congressman was implicated in a major “sexting” scandal. When Weiner returned to politics in 2013, two years after his resignation from Congress, he emerged as the frontrunner in the New York City municipal elections. He had been given the “second chance” he asked voters for.
No sooner had Weiner been granted a second chance did he blow it. In July 2013, Weiner was incriminated in another sexting scandal nearly identical to the one in 2011.
Making mistakes is universal; everyone has lapses in judgment that make the people around them question their character or abilities. Whether the people around them choose to grant them a second chance, however, appears to depend on their gender and profession.
No female politician has ever been the center of a major political sex scandal in the United States. This raises an interesting question: are women less likely to be given second chances? Or are women less likely to blow it in the first place? Women arguably have to work harder to get higher positions, and are therefore less likely to jeopardize their success.
Furthermore, it seems the world is less likely to give women a second chance when they slip up. Just compare Charlie Sheen and Britney Spears: they both appeared to suffer from addictions and mental illness, and both eventually lost custody of their children. The only difference between them is that Sheen made a comeback as a bad boy and got a starring role in the TV show Anger Management, while Spears’s career is still far from a complete recovery.
It is also fair to say that someone’s profession can determine how likely they are to be given a second chance. Nowadays, people seem more engrossed in the lives of celebrities and athletes than in politics, and therefore seemingly less interested in holding politicians accountable for their ethical mistakes. Bill Clinton, former President of the United States, was caught lying under oath about having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky and was slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit, only to gain a reputation in pop culture as a ladies’ man and remain one of the most favoured presidents in American history.
In the same way, a person’s professional competency can determine their ability to get a second chance. Using the example of the New York Yankees’ third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, it is evident that indiscretions are likely to be overlooked when someone’s talents are deemed invaluable. Rodriguez admitted to using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) during his time with the Texas Rangers. The Major League Baseball Players Association decided not to punish him if he agreed to refrain refrain from using PEDs in the future.
Earlier this summer, Rodriguez was busted for using PEDs again, along with a dozen other players. The other less talented players who were implicated with him are currently serving 50 game suspensions, but “A-Roid,” as fans have fittingly nicknamed him, is still allowed to finish the 2013 season.
Maybe it is the severity of someone’s mistakes that determines whether they get a second chance, and the repercussions of their mistakes that determine whether they change their behavior in a positive manner. In the cases of Weiner and Rodriguez, the only people they really hurt were themselves, while in the case of Spears and Clinton, they hurt their families. The bottom line is this: if someone gets lucky enough to be given a second chance, the best thing for them to do is to stay far away from what got them in trouble in the first place.
This article was originally published on our old website at https://thenewspaper.ca/the-inside/second-chances/.