Why Do People Love Cheaters?- Society’s Ongoing Forgiveness of Those Who Cheat

mark sanford ex governor wins againMay 9th, 2013

Disgraced ex-South Carolina governor Mark Sanford has once again made it back onto the political scene after his 2009 scandal when it was discovered that he had misused state travel funds to conduct his ongoing affair with an Argentinean woman.  Sanford had been married to his (former) wife, Jenny Sanford, for 20 years and they had 4 sons together. As of Tuesday, he has won his bid for his old seat in Congress, defeating Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert.

How is it that someone who has done so much wrong has once again made it back into office? Why do we, as a society, continually forgive public figures who have cheated and lied to the public?

Former President Bill Clinton was ripped apart when it was discovered he had cheated and lied. But his wife stood by him and chose to forgive. Nowadays he is a prominent and loved figure in society.

Is it the media attention these stories receive? Are we so swayed by media that we can’t come up with our own judgments about what is morally right and wrong? Hypothetically speaking, whether you are a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist etc., most of us consider cheating morally wrong and something that you absolutely should not do if you are in a committed relationship or marriage.

Or so we say to ourselves….

But we always manage to eventually forgive public figure cheaters because they are continuously rewarded with media coverage, book deals, and election winnings. As long as these things continue to happen, the 7th commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” will continue to lose ground. We, as a society, love public figures who cheat! We are obsessed with reading and watching about their morally wrong ways, because perhaps, it makes us feel better about our own flawed lives.

Now, Mark Sanford, who left his wife of 20 years and mother to his four sons, is back and stronger than ever. Not only does he have his old job back but he’s engaged to the Argentinean mistress he left his family for and we, as a society, have accepted him back with welcoming arms.


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