Friday, May 9, 2008
SHOULD VITO FOSSELLA RESIGN?
Staten Island Congressman Vito Fossella has got himself in a heap of hot water, but does his crime fit the punishment so many seek, his resignation? His Democratic challenger, Steve Harrison wants him to step down for driving drunk in Virgina and so does his local newspaper, the Staten Island Advance.
Let's review his crimes. He's stopped for driving drunk and now admits the woman who bailed him out of jail is the father of her three year old daughter. Okay, so now, he has a love child out of wedlock to a former U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel and he got drunk barhopping all over Washington D.C. He could have cracked up his car....or worse, he could have killed someone. But, he didn't.
Plenty of people behave like this and usually get thrown in the slammer for a few days and are publicly embarrassed. I can understand if you're a police officer and you're arrested for DUI, or even a driver of a Greyhound bus. You don't want drunks behind the wheels of these vehicles, nor do you want a convicted drunk driver enforcing DUI laws. But, a Congressman? Okay perhaps he should avoid voting on issues like lowering the drinking age or imposing a higher alcohol tax, but aside from that he's a politician. Most of them drink. Many are drunks. Plenty drive drunk.
I suggest you give lie detectors to every member of Congress and ask them if they ever got behind the wheel of a car drunk while in the U.S. House or Senate. Hundreds of them would be forced to fess up and what, resign?
The other day at a local bar (I'm not naming names), five or six off-duty cops were in their drinking up a storm. Budweiser mainly, but they also had a few shots and plenty of beers over several hours. They were all loopy. They work at a local precinct house, but don't live nearby so they, ready, DRIVE to and from work. Think if they were stopped and given a breathalyzer they'd pass? Don't think so.
How bout all those school teachers who get all boozed up at a local watering hole on Friday's. Think they should all resign from teaching after getting behind the wheel of a car. I've never been arrested for drunk driving, mainly because for the past 11 years, I haven't had a car to drive. I take the subway or a taxi. They should, too, quite frankly. Now, when I was younger I was a periodic drunk driver. To take advantage of New Jersey's 18 year old drinking age, my friends and I would pile into a car and drive from Pennsylvania into one of the border towns like, Lambertville. We'd proceed to get drunk and drive home, night after night, it seemed. Stupid, right? Bet you did it too. Should I have been kicked out of college? No, and I wasn't.
Point is, we all do stupid things that we learn to regret. Vito Fossella did that.
He even lied about it. Had a baby out of wedlock. He's a screw up. He's apologized and we should allow him, like the cops, the school teachers and the young college student, to get on with their lives.