Ariana Coyne, Columnist
Former Gov. Robert Bentley, or the “Luv Guv” as he is now known in national press, resigned from his position in an attempt to avoid impeachment.
Bentley used his power in order to cover up an affair he was having with an aide. He used state resources in order to do so, intimidating people into silence so his actions would not be discovered. He thought he could cover it up and get away with it.
But his ex-wife Dianne Bentley proved him wrong.
It was Ms. Bentley who discovered the messages between her husband and his aide. It was Ms. Bentley who recorded the phone calls, and saw the messages he and his mistress shared. Ms. Bentley was the one who provided the evidence that incriminated her ex-husband. She exposed her ex-husband’s malfeasance, humiliating her ex-husband on a local and national level.
It was not an easy thing for Ms. Bentley to do, but Alabama is better off, thanks to her.
The people of Alabama deserve so much better in our politics. Alabamians do no deserve a governor who used our tax dollars to cover up an affair with his aide, and then used force to silence anyone who found out about it.
But it was Ms. Bentley, after 50 years of marriage, that said ‘no more.’
There have been articles published about former Gov. Bentley and his resignation. Most focus on the actions that Bentley himself committed, but almost none speak of the most important factor that led to his resignation: Ms. Bentley speaking out against her ex-husband.
There should be more praise given to Ms. Bentley. It is hard enough for someone to find out that his or her spouse cheated, let alone to air that dirty laundry to the press. But it is important to note that, while she could have preserved her status and her ex-husband’s reputation by staying silent, she did not. She chose action. She spent months collecting evidence and provided the very information that ripped her ex-husband’s political career out from underneath him.
Without Ms. Bentley’s action, we might not have had enough evidence to prove that Bentley was guilty.
I asked my mom what she thought of the news when his resignation was announced. Two key factors of her response stuck out to me.
First, people who want to control outcomes will stop at nothing to get what they want. Second, and most importantly, is the one that Ms. Bentley taught us—that personal integrity sometimes means doing very difficult things for the good of all.
That is the lesson that we should take from all of this: Integrity is something that not everyone possesses, but that we should all strive to exhibit, even when it isn’t easy.
Ms. Bentley’s pain in exposing her ex-husband’s philandering helped relieve Alabamians of this power-abusing governor, despite ruining her own status in doing so. Ms. Bentley exhibited the highest integrity, and Alabama will be a better place because of it.
We should all endeavor to be a bit more like Ms. Bentley and demonstrate personal integrity in everything we do.
Coyne is a senior journalism and mass communication major.