Dear Anthony Weiner:
Don't bother to explain. We've already heard enough.
Don't write a book about it. No tree should die for that.
Don't do a sit down with Oprah. She just had that couch cleaned.
You want to redeem your name through public service? You want to use your gifts to help those in need? Wonderful. Very commendable. And Somalia is lovely this time of year. Make sure you get your shots.
Now, can you just go? Please?
Does it surprise you to hear that? Well, I am equally surprised to say it. America, after all, is the land of redemption, second chances and comebacks. We love nothing so much as the guy who beats long odds, the underdog who achieves the improbable, the loser who wins. That's who we are. It is woven into our DNA. Our national history begins with a ragtag group of farmers defeating the mightiest military on Earth.
The problem is, you remind us of something else that lately seems to be woven into our DNA: an incapacity for shame.
You won't know that word. It came into use before the 12th century, but you don't hear it much anymore. Merriam-Webster defines it as "a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety." One sees little evidence of that consciousness in reality television, cable news, politics -- or you. Taking care to pinch both nostrils shut, let us review the record:
After you tweeted an image of your sheathed but erect penis, after you lied and said you had done no such thing, after you finally copped to the truth, after your humiliated wife stood beside you, after you resigned from Congress in disgrace, after you went through therapy, after you posed with your wife and baby for People magazine last year and pronounced yourself committed to being a "better person," we learn you were sending out explicit text messages and pictures all along..
One of your sexting partners, a woman less than half your 48 years, was last seen, according to TMZ, leaving the offices of a pornographic movie producer. How much you want to bet the call already is out for a beak-nosed man with curly hair to, ahem... "act" with her?
Meanwhile, you have the scrotal audacity to come before the voters of the nation's largest city and ask for a second second chance.
There are no words.
The stunning arrogance of you, the pathetic, ridiculous recklessness of you, is too breathtaking for words. Even in a nation where human hound dogs in public office have become sadly routine, you stand alone.
It should tell you something that the Clintons -- that includes Monica Lewinsky's old boyfriend, Bill -- are said to be disgusted by you. And Eliot Spitzer -- the New York governor whose career went boom because he patronized prostitutes -- says he wouldn't vote for you. That's like a Kardashian calling you superficial.
It's up to New York City, of course, to pass judgment on you. But forgive the rest of us for being gobsmacked at your behaviour, suggesting as it does we now live in a nation where shame is rarer than a vampire's T-bone steak.
It gets a bad rap, but a little shame is a good thing now and again. It will keep you from making an ass of yourself. Or, if you already have, it'll keep you from repeating the mistake.
You could use a little shame. Why not take this time to go find some? Don't worry; we'll handle everything on this end.
We'll sweep up for you.
We'll turn off the lights.
We'll take out the trash.
You just need to do the one thing.
Please, for your sake and for ours:
Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald.
See also: Eight women blow whistle on San Diego's 'creep' mayor, Robin Abcarian writes at wfp.to/comment