November 13, 2012

It is time for Americans to get out of each other’s bedrooms. CIA director David Petraeus should be the last high-value loss of a dedicated and skilled professional due to a sexual indiscretion. While these scandals ignite media and political hand-wringing, they are the pathetic artifacts of a Puritan era that long ago should have been shown the door.

As a crisis-communications specialist, I have seen firsthand the damage caused by our seemingly endless fascination with affairs. Promising politicians have lost office, talented business leaders have been dismissed and our national attention is distracted from the critical issues of the day.

Are New Yorkers better off now that Eliot Spitzer is no longer governor? Are the former constituents of Anthony Weiner pleased that this hard-working public servant was drummed out of Congress? Do we really need or want to stand in judgment of individuals regarding some private, extracurricular sex — or in Mr. Weiner’s case, merely Web sex — when the only ones directly affected are members of their families?

When the Pilgrims set sail for America, Europe was contending with the Protestant revolution. The pioneers who fled the Old World brought with them the uncompromising morals of an evolving faith. We are now nearly 400 years beyond the arrival of the Mayflower. But, in matters private and sexual, we might as well be under the direction of Capt. John Smith.

Enough. Mr. Petraeus made a choice that was painful for his family, but whatever betrayal occurred was personal, not professional.

Marina Ein, Washington