Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why Sam Adams Should Resign

If you are uninformed about the issue regarding the newly appointed Portland mayor, Sam Adams, read this CNN article for a quick summary.

I believe that Sam Adams should resign. It has nothing to do with the fact that he is homosexual. It has nothing to do with what goes on in his private life. What it is about is how he dealt with the issue.

When he was first questioned about his relationship with then-17-year-old Beau Breedlove, he had 3 choices of how to answer the questions: 1) Tell the truth, 2) Lie, or 3) Say "That's none of your business." I would say that the best choice for him would have been to tell reporters that it was none of their business. After all, a person's sexual behavior in their private home doesn't necessarily influence how they do their job. If he wasn't having sex with a minor, then he didn't have anything to hide if a criminal investigation was launched. If he was having sex with a minor, then he broke the law and should obviously lose his job.

But he didn't just say "that's none of your business." He chose to lie. And even worse than that, he continued to lie. And even worse than that, he asked that the teenager to lie about it too.

So here are three reasons I believe he should resign:

Honesty should be at or near the top of the list of characteristics we expect from our public officials. Just think of the most important things you want in a mayor. Is it possible to leave out "honesty"? For me, that's the first thing that comes to mind. Honesty influences his integrity and his ability to represent the citizens of Portland. If we can't trust him to represent us truthfully, then we need someone else.

If we had a re-vote today I doubt he'd get elected again. As of now, The Oregonian, The Portland Tribune, and Just Out (Portland's gay publication) have all called him out to resign. Whenever people in Portland hear his name or see him on a ballot from now on, they are going to wonder if they can trust him. Would you vote for someone that you aren't sure you can trust?

A public official who repeatedly lies as well as asking others to lie should be given a consequence. If he isn't disciplined for his actions, then that's setting an example for all others in public service that you shouldn't get a consequence if you did something wrong. Adams even admitted, "I should have told the truth at the time and taken the consequences." Well that was then, and this is now. Now he made it worse and should expect greater consequences because he didn't stop his deception.

If you lied repeatedly at your workplace (even if it's something as trivial as your private life) and also asked others to lie for you so that you'd get a promotion, would you expect to keep your job? I wouldn't.

Sure, everyone lies. It's one thing if he lied once and then apologized. If he was really sorry. But he actually admitted that in a way he lied to get elected. When the leader of our city says something like that, then I just don't think his head or his heart is in the right place. We need a leader who has respect, has integrity, and brings forth good judgment.

Photo from

UPDATE: Well, Sam Adams did not resign. He's just gonna keep on working without getting a consequence. I'm not surprised, especially after reading this interesting article on lying: You’re a Liar! (But aren’t we all?)