Ethics Dunce, Halloween Division: South Carolina U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford

As we all know, do we not, Mark Sanford is weird. He is the former rising star in the GOP firmament who seemingly threw away his career and reputation to unite with his South American “soul mate,” going AWOL while governor as he went south of the border for an adulterous  tryst (using state funds) while his aides told the news media, “Governor? Governor? I’m sure he’s around here somewhere!” He had to leave office, of course, but the forgiving (comatose?) South Carolina voters actually trusted him again and elected him to Congress, only to turn on him in the recent primary for being an outspoken NeverTrumper.

Now we learn that for Halloween, he left a basket of yummy holiday Constitutions outside his office, complete with a witch’s hat, tweeting,

Happy Halloween. Accordingly, Pocket Constitutions are at the ready for today’s trick-or-treaters.

Ugh.

1. The U.S. Constitution is not a Hershey Bar.

2. People who co-opt the tradition of Halloween to exploit their own interests and hobbyhorses, be it dentists who give out dental floss to the kids at their door, religious zealots who hand out Bibles, or  those who guilt children into ringing bells for UNICEF or other charities instead of letting them have fun, really have an ethics screw loose somewhere. It’s the kind of thing Ebenezer Scrooge would have done, and maybe he did, except that Chuck never got around to writing, “A Halloween Carol.”

A special ethics demerit goes to every member of the lame duck’s staff, none of whom were able to talk their boss out of this stunt.

Appreciation is due to Jonathan Turley, who flagged this crime against little goblins.

9 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics

9 responses to “Ethics Dunce, Halloween Division: South Carolina U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford

  1. Chris Marschner

    I realize that candy gifts are traditional offerings to kids in America but not necessarily so around tbe globe. In Mexico children are taught to honor their ancestors on Dia de Muertos where they place offerings on the graves of departed relatives and offering prayers for the relatives during the annual visitation. Other nations, especially in Asia also focus on honoring the dead and only a few in Europe dress children up in costumes and go trick or treating Ireland and England recently adopted the practice.

    Before we declare Sanford a Halloween dunce – he is a dunce in many other ways – we should reflect on the meaning of what this night is about. It is no more about getting candy than Christmas is about giving and getting gifts.

    We lament the loss of cultural literacy yet we have no difficulty seeing time honored traditions be supplanted by materialism and self-gratification.

    If we are to assume that all the offices were giving out candy and one passed out pocket Constitutions which of the two is more in tune with honoring those who came before and which is a simply a means to gratify insatiable appetites?

    Just something to consider.

  2. Novel comment, and much admired.
    But “trick or treat” is pretty unambiguous.
    The Constitution is not a “treat,” and most adults have trouble reading the thing.
    Unless they were edible Constitutions, he might as well have given them small versions of “Ulysses.”

    • Chris Marschner

      I realize trick or treat is unambiguous but the tweet did say what they would get by coming by. Definitely not a bait and switch. Had he surprised trick or treaters with the booklet it would be indefensible.

      Sometimes by evaluating an issue from an oblique angle I am able to deveop better arguments. Thanks for your comments.

      CM

      • So if a family says, “We’ll be giving out broccoli for Halloween,” that’s an ethical handling of cultural tradition and expectations? Come on. Notice that you intend to undermine a tradition doesn’t justify undermining a tradition.

        Sanford was also virtue signalling and grandstanding.

  3. JP

    What if he attached a candy to it? My sons got DARE pamphlets with candy bars taped to them.

  4. Mary Beth

    He was making it easier for kids to dress up as Justice Kavanaugh for Halloween by providing “that book you carry.” (Just kidding, it was a virtue signaling, attention seeking move.)

  5. Giving out Jack Chick tracts is just as egregious: participate or don’t.

    (We did not this year: rain was forecast for a week before, so we did not get any candy to give out.)

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