I am a flawed, damaged man and I have only myself to blame.
I left Washington in 2004 with more than a little dirt on my hands and my soul.
A dozen years of our time in the nation’s capital involved working with and around sordid characters, political parties and groups.
As a result, I lied, cheated and skirted the law more often than not.
My activities brought me in contact with Paul Manafort, currently on trial for fraud, money laundering and worse. I delivered products for him and his partners (Roger Stone and Charles Black).
A former co-worker of mine is now treasurer of the political action committee of the infamous billionaire Koch brothers.
I designed campaigns with propaganda long on hyperbole and short of truth.
I ran the Congressional office for a Congressman who fathered a child with his mistress while married, came under investigation for unethical activities and used his office to get rich.
I walked away from politics a broken alcoholic who had to rebuild his life and restore whatever honor he could.
Did I succeed? Good question. I returned to my chosen profession of journalism and am now called an “enemy of the people” by the current president of the United States.
However, since that claim comes from a president now dishonored by his non-stop lies, unethical and criminal behavior and as a sexual predator, being called bad now may be good.
But being bad is too often a badge of honor in too many parts of American culture.
Rewatched two documentaries this week on the rise and downfall of cancer survivor and dishonored Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. Presidents honored him, crowds adored him and he built an active foundation to fight cancer but that image and accomplishments came from a lie.
He won his cycling trophies and millions of dollars with a body enhanced and fueled by illegal substances and he lied, repeatedly, about that use and used his position to dishonor those who exposed him.
Subway restaurant chain spokesman Jared Fogle became the poster boy for healthy eating through loss of weight and a better lifestyle but lost it all and went to prison for sexually abusing young boys.
Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacy hides from public view while undergoing “extensive therapy” after being exposed as a child molester. NBC “Today” co-host Matt Lauer lost his job and reputation after we learned his sexually harassed and attacked women.
Same for Charlie Rose over at CBS and many others caught and punished from growth of the “Me-Too” movement.
Our president continues to serve after bragging that he sought to seduce married women, sexually attacked others and “grabbed their pussies,” was charged by his first wife with raping her, paid off a porn star who talks of a night of sex shortly after his youngest son was born to his third wife and was charged, in a civil suit, with raping a 13-year-old teen model in Manhattan.
Trump still faces sexual harassment charges from more than a dozen women, is implicated in a payoff scheme a Playboy model who says had an affair with him and he is charged, in court, with fattening his wallet through illegal acts banned by the Constitution, among other misdeeds.
Yet his fans claim to adore him. Religious fanatics overlook his sinful activities because he opposes abortion. Trump, himself, continues to lie about actions where he either previously admitted or for which he is caught on tape.
America today is a hypocritical nation where questionable activities are ignored or too often honored. I’m ashamed of what I did as a political operative in Washington and have publicly apologized for my actions time and time again.
I carry a chip from Alcoholics Anonymous to recognize by 24 plus years of sobriety and work with others who face the beast of addiction.
I continue to seek out those I have wronged in the past and ask for their forgiveness. Some do and I thank them. Other can’t and I understand.
In Washington, my actions were status quo and often praised.
Sad, but true and truth is a disposable commodity in our government and with our leaders.