Former California Representative Katie Hill gave her last speech on the House floor on Thursday. Ms. Hill said, “I am leaving now because of a double standard. I’m leaving, but we have men who have been credibly accused of intentional acts of sexual violence and remain in board rooms, in the Supreme Court, in this very body and worst of all in the Oval Office.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi added, “Regardless of any errors in judgment that anyone may have made, it’s shameful that she’s been exposed to public humiliation by way of cyber exploitation.”
The cyber exploitation is not the cause of Ms. Hill’s departure. The cyber posts are evidence of truly awful judgment: Nudity, bongs, a Nazi-era tattoo, and a photo of a kiss of a staffer are indeed her personal life. But when there is photographic evidence of bad judgment elected representatives are exposed (as it were) to pressures, threats, and even blackmail, well, there are few choices. The public is not asking for perfect lives in elected representatives — the public is asking for good judgment and discretion. – grown-ups. That was once not too much to ask.
Despite this setback, Ms. Hill has an opportunity to help others. Some of us learn our lessons in life with pain, but in private. Some of us have the documentation of text messages and photos that are out there even when we have changed. The pain and embarrassment are humiliating. She is a public figure who is being judged publicly, but therein lies her opportunity. Helping others understand the risks of posts, messages, and a little too much sharing is a tall order in this era of too much posted information. Ms. Hill should seize this moment, not seek to blame. Grace when we are fallen is an admirable quality. Bitterness cuts off redemption’s freedom.