The old-fashioned motto “women and children first” is dead, today it is protect yourself first. Last week a Politico article noted that former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, on trial for accepting improper gifts as governor, was employing a novel legal strategy: blame Eve.
Of course it is entirely possible that Maureen McDonnell was actually the guilty party – the governor, a busy politician, may have been a passive bystander. Truth aside, things were different in an earlier era. In days gone by, many men would have taken the blame before they discourteously blamed their wives. Masculine duty, if not love, demanded it.
Many chivalrous mores were vaguely (if not overtly) sexist. Yet absent social pressure, a willingness to take unwarranted blame underscores a laudable characteristic: selflessness. Evidently Mr. McDonnell is not particularly selfless. Character aside, Bob McDonnell’s disgrace is an excellent cautionary tale: chose your friends carefully, avoid an out-sized lifestyle, communicate with your life-partner about finances, and if you are a politician, turn down expensive gifts.