Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Romano: Artiles' conduct is unbecoming of a senator and a gentleman

Honor, they say, is the bedrock of their character. It is the quality, to quote the U.S. Marine Corps website, that empowers Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior.

Clearly, Sen. Frank Artiles skipped that part of his military training.

For I see no honor in how Artiles has behaved in recent days. Not in his insults directed toward a female senator, nor in his reluctance to apologize until it became clear that he had no other choice.

• • •

Integrity, they say, is an uncompromising code to be followed. Along with never cheating, stealing or lying, it is a Marine's duty to always respect human dignity.

Sadly, Sen. Frank Artiles did not take this code to heart.

RELATED: Sen. Frank Artiles apologizes on the Senate floor for racial slur, profanity

For there is no integrity in calling the Senate President "a p----" behind his back, nor is there integrity in berating a half-dozen fellow senators with racially charged slang.

• • •

Commitment, they say, promotes the highest order of discipline. It is the ingredient, the Corps' website says, that instills dedication, pride and concern for others 24 hours a day, and establishes the Marine as a citizen others strive to emulate.

Surely, Sen. Frank Artiles falls short in this regard.

RELATED: Secret 2014 recording caught Frank Artiles using 'hajis' slur

For those who would defend him have been curiously quiet, as if there is no indication that his behavior this week is, in any way, out of character.

• • •

You might suggest that it is unfair to hold Artiles to the high standards of the U.S. Marine Corps. I would argue that Artiles has often implied that he holds himself to those standards.

The south Florida senator even brought up his military service on the Senate floor on Wednesday when he spent three minutes asking for forgiveness after not apologizing during the previous 36 hours.

This is the man who witnesses said sucker punched a college student in the face in a Tallahassee bar a couple of years ago. Artiles denied the charges at the time, and then boasted that if he punched anyone in the face they would be in a hospital.

This is the man who accepted freebies from a utility company and donned one of its jackets at the Daytona International Speedway, and then said it had nothing to do with him fast-tracking legislation written by that utility company. The bill allows these regulated monopolies to charge ratepayers — and make a guaranteed profit at our expense — for their gas exploration gambles.

So, yeah, I think it's fair to point out the incongruity of his behavior and principles with the exacting standards set by generations of Marines. And it's fair to wonder if others feel he has brought some tiny measure of dishonor to such an esteemed institution.

Already, there are those who are calling for Artiles to resign from the Senate, including the Florida Legislative Black Caucus and this newspaper's editorial board.

Based on his language, you might even make the case that Artiles is racist.

Instead, I contend only that he is a bully.

That he uses his authority and power to ridicule and intimidate others. That he gets away with intolerance and ignorance by claiming to be blunt and uncompromising.

Should he resign?

In a perverse way, I hope he chooses to remain defiant and continues his planned 2018 reelection campaign. For I would rather he face his own shortcomings every time he shows up in a Senate committee or every time he faces voters back home.

They say once you become a Marine, you will always be a Marine. That's a lofty and honorable ideal. And it should require equally lofty and honorable conduct.

Forced to show contrition by Florida Senate leaders, Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles stood on the chamber floor Wednesday morning and told his colleagues he was sorry for insulting them in private using curse words and a racial slur. [Associated Press (2016)]

Forced to show contrition by Florida Senate leaders, Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles stood on the chamber floor Wednesday morning and told his colleagues he was sorry for insulting them in private using curse words and a racial slur. [Associated Press (2016)]

Romano: Artiles' conduct is unbecoming of a senator and a gentleman 04/19/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 11:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  2. Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band dies at age 69

    Music & Concerts

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday, a publicist said. He was 69.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  3. Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, a former senator, dies at 85

    Ml

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jim Bunning, a former Hall of Fame pitcher who went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

    In this June 21, 1964 file photo, Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches a perfect game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in New York.  The Phillies beat the Mets, 6-0.  Bunning retired all 27 batters who faced him in the first game of a doubleheader to become the first pitcher in 42 years with a perfect game in regular season play.   (AP Photo/File)
  4. Trump to decide next week whether to quit Paris climate agreement

    Environment

    TAORMINA, Italy —President Donald Trump declined to endorse the Paris climate accords on Saturday, saying he would decide in the coming days whether the United States would pull out of the 195-nation agreement.

    President Donald Trump, right, arrives to a G7 session with outreach countries in Taormina, Italy, on Saturday. Climate and trade were sticking points at the two-day summit in Taormina, Sicily. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)
  5. Gregg Allman, iconic Southern rocker from Florida's Allman Brothers Band, dies at 69

    Blogs

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.