As any psychology 101 professor will preach, there’s a thin line between love and hate. The two aren’t diametrically opposed. Consequently, when something bad happens, it’s easy to trash an icon or vilify a hero. This reality was made apparent to General David Petraeus, a war hero and, until recently, Director of the CIA.
Extramarital affairs hurt spouses and children. They can destroy the fabric of a marriage. But we must remember that an affair is a personal matter. When the media drags a person--who spent years of his life defending the United States--through the ringer, we should be compassionate. We should recognize that his personal transgressions don’t sully his acts of bravery.
It’s sad that Donald Petraeus felt compelled to resign as the Director of the CIA. It’s sad for him and sad for this country which could have used his continuing expertise in the War on Terrorism. Unfortunately, however, Petraeus is one in a long line of prominent people who have been derailed by personal transgressions. Another recent example is Bill Clinton who had an affair and lied about it under oath. (In retrospect, lying under oath turned out to be a bigger problem for Clinton than what he was lying about—having “sexual relations” with Monica Lewinsky.)