“Georgia’s powerful House speaker resigned Thursday after a suicide attempt and allegations by his ex-wife that he carried on an affair with a lobbyist.”
Ohhhhkayy.Let me get this straight–there are two elements to this story.One, the attempted suicide three weeks ago.And then there’s the second one, that he’d subsequently been accused of having an affair, and it was that revelation that led to his resignation.
But what did AP (and NPR, which is where I first heard about it last week) go with as the primary part of the story?
I thought about this for several days, and I’m still worried I’m a little sensitive here since this is an issue that hits very close to home.But I decided it was still worth discussing.The story here is that another politician is resigning because of an extramarital affair.The only thing that raised this one to national attention is the fact that the politician also happened to attempt suicide.
Generally, I’m all in favor of piling scorn on philandering politicians, especially if they’re Republicans in southern states.But I have a real problem with this one, because a suicide attempt is a serious thing.It’s clear this is a guy who was suffering from significant depression, and that is not a political issue.The AP could easily have left the suicide attempt out of the lede and just gone with the second paragraph mention.I’m certainly not saying they should ignore the suicide attempt.But leaving it to the second paragraph would have put the emphasis on what really caused Richardson’s downfall.
Depression is a big deal in our country.I had hoped we’d gotten past the days when revelations that a politician suffered from depression could destroy a career.I had hoped we were at least approaching the point where a Thomas Eagleton could still run for major office, but this whole Richardson brouhaha has made me question that. And that’s depressing.