Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has done the right thing by resigning from her post in this election year. Still recovering from a bullet wound to her skull, she would not have been able to handle the rigors of a campaign, nor would she have been able to do her job had she been reelected.
Giffords’ resignation shows her strength of character. It’s tough for people who are in power to quit, even when circumstances make it nearly impossible to do their jobs.
Richard Nixon had to be forced by high-ranking Republicans to resign after his re-election to the presidency because of the Watergate scandal and because his drinking was getting out of hand.
Bill Clinton couldn’t bring himself to resign, even though to do so would have been the right thing as he defended himself against impeachment over his affair with staffer Monica Lewinsky.
Republican Strom Thurmond, U.S. senator from South Carolina, stayed in office until he was 100 — long past his effectiveness, and his presence in the Senate was largely ceremonial.
Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska finally was voted out of office after he was caught trying to make a gay date in a restroom and faced federal corruption charges. He was 85 when he sought his last term in 2008 and was defeated.
The list could and will go on. Many people in power tend to want to overstay their welcome and outlive their effectiveness. Giffords didn’t do that. She might have been able to be reelected, but she would have had trouble serving. Her decision to leave was a favor to her congressional district. It was the right thing to do.
Our own Rep. George Radanovich did the right thing as well when he resigned in 2010. The tragic death of his wife had taken the wind out of his sails, and he knew he had other things to do in his life.