Yesterday, David Paterson was sworn in as the 55th governor of the State of New York. Governor Paterson is also first Blind and Black man to hold that high office.


Governor Paterson is, and has always been, an inspiration to disabled
children and a touchstone of hope for disabled adults who all yearn for
understanding from political policy and healing from flowing, judicial,
robes.

Gov. Paterson expressed the challenges of his life during his swearing-in speech:

“I have confronted the prejudice of race, and challenged
the issues of my own disability,” he said. “I have served in government
for over two decades. I stand willing and able to lead this state to a
brighter future and a better tomorrow.”

His wife and two children joined him on the dais.

It was a great moment in history when he stood up and
said to a roaring, adoring, crowd: “Let me reintroduce myself, I am
David Paterson and I am the governor of New York State.”

At times, the event felt more like something of a
coronation for Mr. Paterson, the scion of a Harlem political fraternity
that remains powerful and well-connected in New York politics. His
father, Basil A. Paterson, a former state senator and secretary of
state, stood behind Mr. Paterson when he first ascended the dais, as
did his mother, his wife, and his two children. They remained there as
Mr. Paterson, a well-liked veteran of Albany, was greeted by exultant
cheers and whistles, and a lengthy standing ovation.

In the late 60’s, David stood beside his father, Basil, when he ran for Lieutenant Governor — his father lost — but David won the same post 38 years later.

Yesterday, David’s father stood beside him — while the rest of us cried with our new Governor.

Sometimes, out of rotten seeds, beautiful things grow.
But wait!
There’s more!
Today, the New York Post is reporting Governor Paterson and his wife cheated on each other during their marriage:

Paterson began the affair around 1999 and continued until
2001 – often meeting his lover at the Days Inn not far from the
then-state senator’s Harlem office, an authoritative source told The
Post.
The trysts came during a volatile period in Paterson’s marriage to wife
Michele – who also was involved in an extramarital affair, the source
said.
But the couple, who have two children, decided to work out their
troubles rather than call it quits. They did it for the kids.

Now we are left to wonder if there is a faithful, honorable, politician left in New York State!
It’s ironic David Paterson joked after his swearing-in that the only prostitutes he frequented were the lobbyists in Albany.

With this new revolution of marital infidelity, Governor Paterson has now proven he is merely the measure of Eliot Spitzer — and that is one equal opportunity in oath-breaking we wish he refused to take.

26 Comments

  1. Why does it matter? Do you think it effects his ability to do the job?
    It seems that they had a few problems (since she also had an affair), decided to work them out and have been OK since. I’d say that counts for quite a lot really – he (they) chose not to just give up but fought for what they thought was the right thing to do.
    Cheers
    Mike

  2. Marriage is very different from a political post. So while the vow may be similar (although vows on a bible would be worthless to me personally) the reason for giving the vow is definitely not the same.
    He might passionately believe in upholding justice for the people he represents and want to bring prosperity to everybody and at the same time not believe that marriage is an outdated concept. Perhaps his wife was the same and it was by mutual agreement – we just don’t have that information. You also do not know what marriage vows they took and are working on the assumption that they were “standard” (they probably were, but it’s another unknown).
    You are judging one set of beliefs by a totally different set.

  3. urbanspaceman —
    If you vow to honor your wife and then you cheat on her — one could rightly expect an oath of office claiming to uphold the constitution would be similarly violated based on an established lack of conviction and a historical habit of action.

  4. I think I’m completely with you on this one. Fidelity is fidelity – if you steal a nickel caramel from the candy store it is theft just like emptying the cash register at a convenience store.
    For nearly 90 days my learning partner and I have been studying the tractate of Nedarim – vows – of the Babylonian talmud, according to the daf yomi calendar – it covers all sorts of legal ramifications of all kinds of vows one can make and even something simple – someone saying “I swear I won’t drink another coffee for the rest of the month!” – has tremendous legal ramifications.

  5. I disagree.
    You are equating belief in the constitution with belief in marriage.
    It’s possible you are correct, but what I am saying is that there is simply not enough information to make that judgement call.
    You also joke about him referring to prostitues, yet I see nothing that indicates he was ever involved with any. The news article refers only to “his lover”, indicating it was a very specific person, not a slew of call girls. That’s a bit of a low blow really.
    Add to that the fact that you will never find a 100% clean candidate running for political office. Everybody has some skeletons in the closet – some major, some minor – that could be used against them by opponents or an unfriendly media.
    How would you ever be able to pick somebody you think is suitable if there is always going to be some dirt on everybody?

  6. urbanspaceman —
    You are the one invoking “belief” into my argument. I clearly am using “vow” and “oath” to make my point.
    I place value in oaths and handshakes and vows:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/08/26/a-deal-is-a-deal-is-dead/
    I didn’t originally joke about Paterson and prostitutes, he did:
    http://www.observer.com/2008/paterson-makes-lobbyist-joke
    We need clean candidates to run and serve — but they won’t run because they are forced to run against the already filthy that don’t mind flinging mud and drudging up scum.

  7. Oh, and Gordon, you remind me of a favorite saying of mine: “The past presumes the present.”
    There are people that sign contracts and then break them moments later. It’s all become a game of “Last Liar Wins” — and it only cheapens human existence.

  8. More gory cheating details just now from Gov. Paterson:

    Standing with his wife, Michelle, in the Capitol’s Red Room, the new governor said his “conscience is clear” when it comes to his marriage and infidelities.
    But the 53-year-old father also admitted that he was involved with numerous women “several years ago” – including someone who was a public employee.
    “I was involved with someone on the state payroll…An employee I may have inherited,” he told reporters. “This was known to my wife.”
    Paterson insisted he never supervised the woman with whom he had an affair, and that the infidelity took place before he was Senate minority leader.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/03/18/2008-03-18_gov_david_paterson_admits_to_numerous_af.html

  9. This is such disappointing news, David. I had heard such wonderful things about this man. And that he had very high ethics.
    I don’t believe that you can separate the private self from the public. That is, who you are in your private life will have an effect on your public life no matter how you try and separate the two. It is a reflection of who you are.
    But it is encouraging that he has come out with this and attempted to do the right thing concerning his marriage and children.
    I don’t know why it surprised me so much that a blind man could be getting some action on the side. I just imagined that being a blind man in such a high-powered position would take up so much of his time and that he needs a lot of assistance that might prevent him from being able to engage in a clandestine affair. But obviously I am wrong!

  10. I wasn’t invoking belief into your argument – I was pointing out that his beliefs are directly relevant, and you don’t know what they are.
    He may have made the joke about prostitutes, but you brought it up in a slightly out of context way – since the news article did not mention prostitutes. Isn’t that mudslinging in itself.
    I understand the desire to hold people to their word and I’d love to see a world where that happens. I just don’t expect it to happen any time soon and in the meantime, if you want to have any effect, you have to back a candidate that has a chance. That likely means backing one who has done something that clashes with your own personal moral code. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable of doing the job though.

  11. dmtessi —
    I, too, am disappointed. I wrote the article yesterday and it ended with the line about beauty growing from rotten seeds… and then this morning I had to amend the article to fit the ugly reality of his history.
    I am all in favor of saving a marriage for the sake of the children — but do it before the cheating occurs and not after.
    The lesson we all take from this is: The disabled can be just as devious and sneaky and immoral as the non-disabled! 😀 I suppose that realization has great value in the marketplace of equality in mindshare.

  12. urbanspaceman —
    Beliefs have nothing to do with vows or oaths or keeping your word. You either do or you don’t. No believing is involved.
    I don’t know what point you’re trying to make here — you’re belaboring your own dead horse.
    Links are made to be clicked on and if you choose not to follow a link and then make false accusations against me, and this article, then we really don’t have much else to discuss in light of your intellectual laziness.

  13. Here’s a deeper update on the Governor Paterson’s infidelity where he admits there were “a number of women” and he also says the reason he admitted the affairs was not because it was the upfront and honorable thing to do, but because he feared being blackmailed:

    We all have problems. But in this particular case, I just felt that this — some of this information apparently was out there — I didn’t want to be compromised, I didn’t want to be blackmailed, I didn’t want to hesitate taking an action because the person on the other end might hurt me or my family.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/18/paterson-to-hold-news-conference/index.html?hp

  14. Today Governor Paterson has to face more reports about the women in his life:

    Dixon, 43, said Paterson, 53, was “mostly responsible” for getting her a badly needed job earlier this month with the city Department of Education in Crown Heights’ District 17.
    The job pays in the range of $48,000 to $65,000 a year, records show.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/03192008/news/regionalnews/paterson_gals_tape_shocker_102550.htm
    He’s going to be eaten alive by the tabloids and they research every single woman he cheated with in the past and every woman he’s “done favors for” in the now. It will be a slow and bloody death by accusation, innuendo, and fact.
    We’ll see if he lasts a month in the job.